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Ministers of State Amendment Bill 2010

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2008-2009-2010

 

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

MINISTERS OF STATE AMENDMENT BILL 2010

 

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Circulated by authority of the Special Minister of State,

Senator the Hon Joseph Ludwig)

 

 



MINISTERS OF STATE AMENDMENT BILL 2010

 

OUTLINE

 

This bill amends the Ministers of State Act 1952 to increase the limit on the annual sum that can be appropriated from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, in 2009-10 and beyond, to pay the salaries of Ministers of State and provides that future increases to this limit may be made by regulation.  The increase to the limit is necessary to ensure there are sufficient funds available to pay ministerial salaries at current levels (and for future financial years), and to meet any additional expenditure, such as payment of additional salary for acting arrangements.  

 

Financial impact statement 

The effect of the amendment is to increase the total sum available to be appropriated for ministerial salaries by $0.3m in financial year 2009-10 and beyond. 



MINISTERS OF STATE AMENDMENT BILL 2010

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

Clause 1 sets out how the Act is to be cited, that is, the Ministers of State Amendment Act 2010 .

Clause 2 provides that the Act will commence on the day that it receives the Royal Assent.

Clause 3 provides that each Act that is specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule.



Schedule 1 - Amendment

 

Summary

 

Section 66 of the Constitution sets out an annual amount that is payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the salaries of Ministers of State and provides that this is the maximum amount payable unless otherwise provided by the Parliament.  Parliament has otherwise provided, in section 5 of the Ministers of State Act 1952 (the Principal Act), for the maximum annual amount payable for the salaries of Ministers. 

 

Schedule 1 amends the Principal Act to increase the limit on the sum payable from the Consolidated Revenue Fund in 2009-10 and beyond in respect of the salaries of Ministers of State and enables future increases to be made by regulation.    

 

Item 1 amends section 5 of the Principal Act to provide that the salaries of Ministers of State must not exceed $3,500,000 in a financial year or, if a higher amount is prescribed by the regulations, that higher amount. 

 

This amendment increases the total annual amount payable for salaries to Ministers of State by $300,000.  This increase is required to ensure there are sufficient funds available to pay ministerial salaries at current levels for the 2009-10 financial year, (and for future financial years), and to meet any additional expenditure, such as payment of additional salary for acting arrangements.

 

This amendment also provides that, if an amount higher than $3,500,000 is prescribed in the regulations, then the amount so prescribed is the annual sum payable.  There have been 29 amendments to the amount set under section 5 of the Ministers of State Act 1952 , since its introduction in 1952.  This averages one amendment every two years.  This section was last amended in 2006 and is therefore well overdue for the regular amendment.  This constant cycle of amendments is not the most efficient way of dealing with this matter.  Enabling the maximum sum available for ministerial salaries to be provided for by regulation obviates the need for recurrent amendments to the Principal Act.  As any regulations made setting an amount will be subject to disallowance, there will continue to be parliamentary scrutiny of any future proposed amounts and, therefore, providing for the amount in this way is an acceptable way for Parliament to ‘otherwise provide’ an amount for the purposes of section 66 of the Constitution.  

 

Item 2 inserts new section 7 into the Principal Act, which enables the Governor-General to make regulations prescribing matters required or permitted by the Act to be prescribed or necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act. 

 

Item 3 provides that the amendment made by item 1 applies to the financial year that starts on 1 July 2009 and to later financial years.