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Thursday, 21 June 2007
Page: 132

Message received from the House of Representatives returning the National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Bill 2007, informing the Senate that the House has agreed to amendments made by the Senate, has disagreed to amendment No. 3 made by the Senate but has made an identical amendment in place of the amendment.

Ordered that the message be considered in Committee of the Whole immediately.

House of Representatives message—

(3)    Schedule 1, item 81, page 29 (lines 4 to 12), omit subsection 99ACC(4), substitute:

         (4)    If the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee gives advice to the Minister under subsection 101(4AC) in relation to the combination item, then, in working out the new price of the single brand of the combination item, the Minister may have regard to that advice in considering the extent (if any) to which to reduce the existing agreed price.

      (4A)    If:

              (a)    subsection (4) applies; and

              (b)    the Minister decides to reduce the existing agreed price;

then, in agreeing the new price of the single brand of the combination item, the Minister:

              (c)    may have regard to the advice referred to in subsection (4) in relation to the combination item; and

              (d)    must take into account, in relation to the listed component drug, or each listed component drug, that became subject to statutory price reduction:

                    (i)    the approved price to pharmacists, on the reduction day, of each brand of a pharmaceutical item that has the drug that is the listed component drug; and

                   (ii)    the quantity of the listed component drug contained in the combination item.

       (4B)    If subsection (4) does not apply, then, in agreeing the new price of the single brand of the combination item, the Minister must take into account, in relation to the listed component drug, or each listed component drug, that became subject to statutory price reduction:

              (a)    the approved price to pharmacists, on the reduction day, of each brand of a pharmaceutical item that has the drug that is the listed component drug; and

              (b)    the quantity of the listed component drug contained in the combination item.


CHAIRMAN —Before proceeding I have a statement to make as the chairman of committees. Although the relevant Senate amendment was moved by the government in the Senate without any suggestion that it should be a request, the amendment has been disagreed to in the House of Representatives on the basis that it should have been a request. The statement under the order of the Senate of 26 June 2000, which would have been issued if the government had raised the question in the Senate, would have indicated that it would not be in accordance with the precedents of the Senate to treat this amendment as a request. A resolution of the Senate in 1981 established the principle that an amendment which would empower a minister to make determinations which would increase expenditure otherwise to be made under the bill should not be a request, on a proper interpretation of section 53 of the Constitution. This principle has consistently been applied by the Senate since that time. As the substitute amendment made in the House is the same as the amendment made by the Senate, it is suggested that the Senate can now simply agree to the amendment which it originally made.