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Wednesday, 23 November 1960

Mr SPEAKER -Order! I think the honorable member is getting wide of the motion before the Chair. He is dealing now with a constitutional question. The only subject before the Chair is the motion adopted by the committee and submitted to the Chair by the Chairman of Committees.

Mr CREAN - In the committee there was no opportunity for me to challenge whether this amendment comes properly from the Senate and whether the matter is one on which it is within the province of the Senate to recommend an amendment. [ suggest that you, Sir, as custodian of the privileges of the House, ought to bear with me in this submission. It seems to me that this arises mainly out of the unfortunate circumstance that there is no definition in our Standing Orders, as there is in the law of Great Britain - in the Parliament Act - of a money bill. I merely quote the circumstance that a money bill is one which deals with the imposition, repeal, remission, alteration or regulation of taxation. What happened in the amendment which is the matter of this report is-

Mr SPEAKER - Order! I am afraid I cannot allow the honorable member to continue on that line.

Mr CREAN - I hoped that you would appreciate the historical significance of this-

Mr SPEAKER - It is my obligation to see that the procedures of this House are observed and the procedure which I suggest you follow is, in my view, the correct one. I ask you not to canvass the subject-matter you are now quoting.

Mr CREAN - Would you suggest, Sir, the stage in the proceedings of this House at which I can ask whether it is proper for the Senate to remove from a bill an item that was the subject of taxation?

Mr SPEAKER - I am not able to make any suggestion at this stage.

Mr CREAN - At least I ask, Sir, if you suggest that I am out of order, that you give serious consideration to looking at the gap which seems to exist in the Standing Orders, in that you have no power to define what is a money bill. The Speaker of the House of Commons, on which we model our procedure, has that power. Until that position is met we will continue to get this problem. In committee the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) quoted a document which purported to be an authority on this situation. I do not regard it as an authority or as correct and I suggest that something ought to be done about it. I merely raise a protest at this stage to indicate that something should be done.

Mr Calwell - Mr. Speaker, I riseto a point of order. My point of order is that a Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill is a money bill under the Constitution and therefore is a bill which cannot be properly amended or altered in any way by the Senate because an amendment removes from taxation a subject which previously had a tax on it. I ask you, Sir, when you give your ruling, to quote your authority for that ruling. Furthermore, will you ascertain whether the document from which the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) persuaded the House to adopt the resolution, was one that was presented to him by the law officers of the Government, or one that he wrote himself?

Mr SPEAKER - The point raised by the Leader of the Opposition is really not one for a decision by the Chair. There is a precedent; similar procedure has been followed before. The forms of the House are available to the Leader of the Opposition if he wishes to pursue the issue. The question before the Chair is, "That the resolution be adopted ".

Mr Calwell - Have I a chance to speak to the matter now?


Mr Calwell - Then I give you notice that at some time it will be before you.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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