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§ 258. “To the House in which the Proposal Originated.”

An important discussion was raised on a proposal by Mr. Isaacs to add the words, “of Representatives,” after “House,” in the above section, so as to make it clear that Crown messages recommending appropriations of revenue or moneys could only be sent to the House of Representatives. As sec. 53 then stood it apparently contemplated that bills appropriating revenue or moneys or imposing taxation should originate solely in the House of Representatives, and that bills imposing or appropriating fines or other pecuniary penalties, or fees for licences or services, should not be deemed to appropriate revenue or money, and therefore that bills of such a kind could be introduced into the Senate without a message. It was stated by Mr. Barton that the Drafting Committee entertained a doubt whether a proposed law containing provisions to impose or appropriate fines or penalties, or for the demand or payment or appropriation of fees for licences or for services, was not an appropriation as far as the appropriatory part was concerned, which would require a message. It was for that reason that the words, as they stood, had been left in. The Committee had since arrived at the conclusion that the provision that such bills should “not be taken to appropriate revenue or moneys,” would be construed to mean that, by the law of the Constitution, such things are not to be deemed an appropriation and would not require messages.

Dr. Cockburn insisted on the necessity of a message from the Crown to justify the imposition and appropriation of fines, penalties, forfeitures, and fees, by the Senate. Mr. Kingston considered that the Senate should not be permitted to originate impositions and appropriations, of even the limited kind referred to, without a message from the Crown. That was a safeguard which should be demanded as a part of the system of responsible government.

“My point is this: That whilst you may well let matters of that sort originate in the Senate, it is not desirable, either as regards the House of Representatives or the Senate, in connection with these minor matters, to throw away that control over the purse which is vested in the Executive; and which is evidenced by the giving or withholding of a Governor's message. The leader of the Convention will see that, according to the terms in which clause 56 has been framed, it is evidently intended to apply to both Houses, and I hope it will be so continued, and that the Senate shall not be given, any more than the House of Representatives, the power of originating measures of this sort for the expenditure of public funds, unless it is recommended by the Executive.” (Mr. C. C. Kingston, Conv. Deb., Melb., p. 2100.)

Mr. Barton was not in doubt as to the advisability of requiring these impositions and appropriations to be recommended by message:—

“Even if I am right in thinking that a Bill of the character indicated in the first part of clause 54 does not require a message, still I do not find anything in the Constitution to do away with the necessity of a message, even in the Senate, for a vote or resolution, if such vote or resolution is taken in the Senate. But now let us come to the practical side of the question. Under this Constitution, with the Ministry practically responsible to the House of Representatives, as they will be if this Constitution is carried, is it likely that a Ministry responsible to that House, no matter which House he sits in, will ever bring down a message to the Senate? It seems to me to be most unlikely that he will, and therefore there is not any serious practical difficulty.” (Mr. E. Barton, Conv. Deb., Melb., 2102.)

The point made by Mr. Isaacs, that fines, penalties, and fees, were declared by the Constitution itself not to come within the meaning of the terms “imposing taxation,” and “appropriating revenue and money,” was overborne by the considerations advanced by Dr. Cockburn and Mr. Kingston, and Mr. Isaacs' amendment was rejected. A


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practical side of the question is this, that if a message be required as the condition precedent to the origination of such minor financial matters in the Senate, it will deprive the power, contemplated by the proviso to sec. 53, of much of its value. It will make the exercise, by the Senate, of that modicum of financial initiation, absolutely dependent on the Ministry of the day. It is doubtful, however, notwithstanding the rejection of the amendment, whether a message is necessary as a preliminary to the introduction into the Senate of the class of Bills referred to.

Disagreement between the Houses.

57. If the House of Representatives260 passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects261 or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months262 the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes263 the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve264 the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously. But such dissolution shall not take place265 within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time.

If after such dissolution the House of Representatives again passes the proposed law, with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may convene a joint sitting266 of the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.

The members present at the joint sitting may deliberate and shall vote together upon the proposed law as last proposed by the House of Representatives, and upon amendments, if any, which have been made therein by one House and not agreed to by the other, and any such amendments which are affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be taken to have been carried, and if the


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proposed law, with the amendments, if any, so carried is affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, it shall be taken to have been duly passed by both Houses of the Parliament, and shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent.

HISTORICAL NOTE.—The first deadlock proposal was made in the Sydney Convention of 1891, when Mr. Wrixon proposed a joint sitting in case suggestions of the Senate as to Money Bills were rejected by the House of Representatives. This was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1891, pp. 706, 759–62; supra, p. 139.)

At the Adelaide session in 1897, deadlock proposals were moved by Mr. Wise and Mr. Isaacs, but were negatived on division. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 1150–73; supra, pp. 180–2.)

During the statutory adjournment, the Legislative Assemblies of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, suggested the insertion of different deadlock provisions (supra, pp. 182–7), and at the Sydney session the question was debated at length, with the result that two schemes were inserted in the Bill:—(1) A consecutive dissolution of both Houses, proposed by Mr. Symon; (2) a simultaneous dissolution of both Houses, followed if necessary by a joint sitting at which a three-fifths majority should decide—a proposal built up on propositions made by Mr. Wise, Sir Geo. Turner, and Mr. Carruthers. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1897, pp. 541–778, 807–980; supra, pp. 189–193)

At the Melbourne session, after the second report, the question was again discussed, with the result that the scheme for a consecutive dissolution was omitted; but otherwise —except in minor details—the Sydney decision was adhered to. (Conv. Deb., Melb, pp. 2104–2249, 2451–2; supra, pp. 202–4.) Drafting amendments were made before the first report and after the fourth report.

The three-fifths majority was strongly objected to in New South Wales, and both Houses of the Parliament of that colony recommended the substitution of a simple majority. At the Premiers' Conference at Melbourne in 1899, an absolute majority was substituted for a three-fifths majority. (Supra, pp. 214–8.)

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