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Wednesday, 22 August 2001
Page: 26304


Senator TAMBLING (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Aged Care.) (10:51 AM) —Let me give Senator Evans a very good and cogent reason why Senator Lees's amendment is attractive. At the end of the four-year period—looking forward to what will then be the subsequent operation of the foundation—it will provide an additional bank of funds for the ongoing program, which will hopefully be supplemented and complemented by the contributions of other community based activities of the foundation. So the specific amounts that have been agreed to under the memorandum of understanding are very much a forward commitment of the four-year program, and the accumulated interest will then provide additional finances which will enhance and add to the operation of the foundation into the future.

Request not agreed to.

Request (by Senator Lees) agreed to:

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the following amendment:

(1) Clause 6, page 4 (after line 18), at the end of the clause, add:

Interest on uninvested money

(2) There must be credited to the Account by 1 July 2004 an interest amount in respect of each of the financial years commencing on 1 July 2001, 2002 and 2003.

(3) The interest amount for a financial year is worked out using the formula:

[$115 million - Sum of amounts credited] x Fixed - income percentage

where:

fixed-income percentage, for a financial year, is:

(a) the percentage equal to the rate of interest earned by the Commonwealth, as at the end of the financial year, on deposits held with the Reserve Bank of Australia; or

(b) if the Minister for Finance, by written instrument made within 28 days after the end of the financial year, determines a higher percentage—that higher percentage.

sum of amounts credited, for a financial year, means the sum of all amounts credited to the Account in that financial year or an earlier financial year.

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Statement pursuant to the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000

This amendment is circulated as a request because it provides for an amount of money representing interest to be credited to the Account and therefore available to be paid out for the purposes of the Account. Clause 8 of the bill provides for amounts to be paid out of the Account in accordance with funding agreements, and for a reference to an amount paid out of the Account to be a reference to an amount paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). The amendment will therefore have the effect of allowing more funds to be paid out of the CRF, thereby increasing the demand on the appropriation and therefore the “proposed charge or burden on the people” within the meaning of the third paragraph of section 53 of the Constitution.

Section 21 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) provides that if an Act other than the FMA Act establishes a Special Account for identified purposes, then the CRF is appropriated for expenditure for those purposes. It is therefore a standing appropriation for the purposes of Special Accounts of this kind. Clause 8 of the bill also constitutes an appropriation because it provides authority for money to be drawn from the CRF and therefore comes within the definition of “appropriation” in section 5 of the FMA Act.

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Statement by the Clerk of the Senate pursuant to the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000

The Senate has long accepted that an amendment should take the form of a request if it would have the effect of increasing expenditure out of an appropriation in the bill or a standing appropriation in a statute amended by the bill. The Senate has also accepted amendments as requests where the standing appropriation was not in the statute to be amended by the bill but in a closely related statute which, in those cases, was part of the new tax system legislation. In this case the appropriation is a combination of provisions in the bill itself and in a statute referred to in the bill and which applies to it. The request is therefore in accordance with the precedents of the Senate.

Bill agreed to subject to a request.

Bill reported with request; report adopted.