Powers of the Houses in respect of legislation.

53. Proposed laws240 appropriating revenue or moneys241, or imposing taxation242, shall not originate in the Senate243. But a proposed law shall not be taken244 to appropriate revenue or moneys, or to impose taxation, by reason only of its containing provisions for the imposition or appropriation of fines or other pecuniary penalties245, or for the demand or payment or appropriation of fees for licences246, or fees for services247 under the proposed law.

The Senate may not amend proposed laws imposing taxation, or proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government.

The Senate may not amend248 any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people249.

The Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives250 any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting, by message, the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein And the House of Representatives may, if it thinks fit, make any of such omissions or amendments, with or without modifications.

Except as provided in this section, the Senate shall have equal power251 with the House of Representatives in respect of all proposed laws.

UNITED STATES.—All Bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other Bills.—Const. Art. 1 sec. vii. sub-s. 1. CANADA.—Bills for appropriating any part of the public revenue, or for imposing any tax or impost, shall originate in the House of Commons.—B.N.A. Act, 1867, sec. 53.

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HISTORICAL NOTE.—In the Sydney Convention of 1891, the first debate on the power of the two Houses with regard to Money Bills took place on the discussion of Sir Henry Parkes' resolutions. The resolutions gave to the House of Representatives “the sole power of originating and amending all bills appropriating revenue or imposing taxation.” The result of the debate was that the words “and amending” were omitted, in order to leave the question open; and the detailed decision of the question stood over. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1891, pp. 375–463; supra, pp. 125–8.)

The Bill brought up by the Drafting Committee embodied the “compromise of 1891.” The Senate was given equal power with the House of Representatives, except that (1) Appropriation Bills and Taxation Bills were to originate in the House of Representatives; (2) the Senate was forbidden to amend Taxation Bills and Bills appropriating the necessary supplies for the ordinary annual services of Government, or to amend any Bill so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people. But the Senate might suggest amendments in Bills which it might not amend. (Pp. 131–2, supra.)

In Committee, an amendment by Mr. Wrixon to restrict the sole power of originating Appropriation Bills to Bills “appropriating the necessary supplies for the ordinary annual services of the Government” was negatived. An amendment by Mr. Baker, to give the Senate equal power with the House of Representatives in respect of all bills, was negatived after a long debate by 22 votes to 16. An amendment by Mr. McMillan, giving the Senate power to amend a Taxation Bill once, but not a second time, was negatived, and an amendment by Mr. Wrixon, providing that suggestions by the Senate, if rejected by the House of Representatives, might be dealt with at a joint sitting, was also negatived. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1891, pp. 704–64; supra, pp. 138–9.)

At the Adelaide session, the “compromise of 1891” was departed from by the Constitutional Committee, and the Bill as submitted to the Convention restricted the sole originating power of the House of Representatives to bills “having for their main object” the appropriation of revenue or the imposition of taxation; and contained no prohibition against the amendment of Money Bills by the Senate (p. 169, supra). In Committee of the whole, an amendment by Sir George Turner requiring that all Appropriation Bills should originate in the House of Representatives was negatived by 26 votes to 22. An amendment by Mr. Barton, to add “or moneys” after “revenue,” so as to include loan bills, was carried. An amendment by Mr. Reid, to prevent the amendment of taxation bills by the Senate, was agreed to after a long debate by 25 votes to 23. (Conv. Deb., Adel., pp. 469–575, 608-11, 1199-1200; supra, pp. 172–3.)

At the Sydney session, a suggestion by both Houses of the New South Wales Parliament, to omit the words “having for their main object,” was agreed to, and in its place a suggestion of the House of Assembly of Tasmania, to except bills which only incidentally involved appropriation, was adopted. A suggestion by the Legislative Council of Western Australia, to allow the Senate to amend Money Bills, was again defeated, after a long debate, by 28 votes to 19. (Conv. Deb., Syd., 1897, pp. 467–539; supra, p. 189.)

At the Melbourne session, Mr. Higgins moved, in the “suggestion” paragraph, to omit the words “at any stage” and substitute “once.” This was negatived. Mr. Reid moved to omit the paragraph altogether, and this also was negatived. (Conv. Deb., Melb., pp. 1996–9.) Drafting amendments were made before the first report and after the fourth report. (Id. 2450.)