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Thursday, 21 May 1970

Mr SPEAKER -I thought the honourable member was raising a point of procedure. Does he want to make a statement?

Mr CREAN - I would like to explore this matter a little further, if I may, because I consider this to be an important point.

Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted.

Mr CREAN - A document was tabled in this House on 16th March 1943. It consisted of a learned legal opinion from such authorities as Garran, Knowles, Bailey and Castieau and dealt mainly not with a request but with what are called reiterated requests. These matters can arise some-' times. At pages 671 and 672 of one of the earliest books written about constitutional procedure in this country, 'The Annotated Constitution of the Australian Commonwealth' by Quick and Garran, this statement appears:

In the case of a Bill which the Senate may not amend-

This particular Bill is in that category - the House of Representatives alone is responsible for the form of the measure;

This is the point whichI hope will be observed shortly: That this House alone is responsible for the form of the measure. The authors continued: the Senate cannot strike out or alter a word of it, but can only suggest that the House of Representatives should do so.

It is proposed that this should happen in this case. The authors continued:

If that House declines to make the suggested amendment-

I understand that the Government does not propose to decline the request on this occasion - the Senate is face to face with the responsibility of either passing the Bill as it stands or rejecting it as it stands.It canot shelve that responsibility by insisting on its suggestion, because there is nothing on which to insist. A House which can make an amendment can insist on the amendment which it has made; but a House which can only request' the other House to make amendments canot insist upon anything. If its request is not complied with, it can reject the Bill, or shelve it; but it must take the full responsibility of its action. This provision therefore is intended to declare the constitutional principles (1) that the House of Representatives is solely responsible for the form of the money Bills to which the section relates; (2) that the Senate may request alterations in any such Bill; (3) that if such request is not complied with, the Senate must take the full responsibility of accepting or rejecting the Bill as it stands.

I merely observe thatI hope the House will take note of the priority of its rights in this matter. There is no crisis on this occasion. The position seems to be clear, However, it is curious that the message should have been announced before the House knows what it is supposed to do. I think this is rather odd. I have taken this opportunity merely to repeat what I think are the significant and important rights in this House in relation to money Bills.

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