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§ 251. “The Senate shall have Equal Power.”

Subject to the exceptions of (1) its inability to originate Bills appropriating revenue or money, or imposing taxation, (2) its inability to amend Bills imposing taxation, and (3) its inability to amend an annual appropriation Bill, and subject also to the limitation that in amending other appropriations, it cannot increase the charges or burdens on the people, it is declared by the Constitution that the Senate shall have equal powers with the House of Representatives in respect to all proposed laws. The Senate has co-ordinate power with the House of Representatives to pass all Bills or to reject all Bills. Its right of veto is as unqualified as its right of assent. But though the veto power of the Senate, so far as this section is concerned, may be absolute, it is subject to be reviewed by the procedure provided for in the deadlock clause. (Sec. 57.)

Appropriation Bills.

54. The proposed law which appropriates revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services252 of the Government shall deal only with such appropriation.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—The provision in the Commonwealth Bill of 1891 was: “The expenditure for services other than the ordinary annual services of the Government shall not be authorized by the same law as that which appropriates the supplies for such ordinary annual services, but shall be authorized by a separate law or laws.”

At the Adelaide session, in 1897, the same words were adopted. In Committee, Mr. Holder moved an amendment to provide that the ordinary Appropriation Bill should not include expenditure “for any services which the Senate may, by an address to the Governor-General, declare to be inimical to the interests of any State.” It was pointed out that this would give the Senate a power to amend Appropriation Bills, and the amendment was negatived by 21 votes to 11. Mr. Glynn moved an amendment to prevent general legislation being included in an Appropriation Bill; but this was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 603–8.)

At the Sydney session, a new sub-clause suggested by both Houses of the Tasmanian Parliament was considered, that “The law which appropriates the supplies for the


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ordinary annual services of the Government shall deal only with the appropriation of such supplies.” Mr. Wise pointed out the importance of the provision, and it was agreed to. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1897, pp. 539-40.)

At the Melbourne session amendments were made before the first report, and the original provision was struck out as being included in the new provision. After the second report, Mr. Isaacs moved the insertion of “proposed” before “law,” and this was carried by 23 votes to 15. (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 2075-6.) Various amendments were then suggested to make it clear that a law should not be invalid for breach of this requirement; but on the understanding that the Drafting Committee would consider the question, these were withdrawn. (Id. pp. 2076-85.)

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