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Friday, 22 May 1936

Bill returned from the House of Representatives with the following message: -

The House of Representatives returns tothe Senate the hill intituled " A bill for an act relating to duties of customs " and acquaints the Senate that, having regard to the fact that the public interest demands the early enactment of the tariff, and pending the adoption of joint Standing Orders, the House of Representatives refrained from the determination of its constitutional rights or obligations in respect of message 123 received from the Senate in reference to the said bill, and resolved to consider the said message.

The House of Representatives, though again requested by the Senate to make original requested amendment, No. 8, has not made such amendment as shown in the annexed schedule.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Sampson). - I invite the attention of the Senate to that portion of the message which reads -

Having regard to the fact that the public interest demands the early enactment of the tariff, and pending the adoption of joint Standing Orders, the House of Representatives refrained from the determination of its constitutional rights or obligations in respect of message No. 123 received from the Senate in reference to the said bill, and resolved to consider the said message.

The words quoted raise the question of the constitutional position of the two Houses in respect of bills which the Senate may not amend, the point at issue being the right of the Senate to press requests for amendments in this class of bill. I remind honorable senators that this matter received the consideration of the Senate early in its history; that, following such consideration, the Senate adopted Standing Orders setting out the procedure for the pressing of requests for amendments, and that such procedure has been followed by the Senate on. each occasion since then when such action has been considered necessary. As the House of Representatives has seen fit to deal with the requested amendments which have been pressed by the Senate, only after casting some doubt on the rights of the Senate in this regard, it is my opinion that it would be proper for the Senate, before proceeding to deal with the message, to pass a resolution reaffirming its undoubted right under the Constitution to follow the course which it has adopted in connexion with this measure.







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