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SOCIAL SECURITY AND VETERANS[quot ] AFFAIRS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (FAMILY AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 1997—SENATE[quot ]S AMENDMENTS

The order of the day having been read for the consideration of the amendments made by the Senate, viz.:

SCHEDULE OF THE AMENDMENTS MADE BY THE SENATE

(1) Clause 2, page 3 (after line 16), at the end of the clause, add:

  (18) Schedule 24 commences, or is taken to have commenced, on 20 September 1997, immediately after the commencement of Schedule 1 to the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Further Budget and Other Measures) Act 1996.

(2) Schedule 6, item 1, page 28 (lines 6 and 7), omit the item.

(3) Schedule 6, item 2, page 28 (lines 8 to 10), omit the item.

(4) Schedule 6, item 3, page 28 (lines 11 to 14), omit the item.

(5) Schedule 6, item 4, page 28 (line 17), omit "8", substitute "13".

(6) Schedule 6, item 5, page 28 (line 21), omit "8", substitute "13".

(7) Schedule 6, item 6, page 28 (lines 22 and 23), omit the item.

(8) Schedule 6, item 7, page 28 (line 24) to page 29 (line 6), omit "8" (wherever occurring), substitute "13".

(9) Schedule 6, item 9, page 29 (lines 9 to 11), omit the item.

(10) Schedule 19, item 2, page 110 (line 18), at the end of subsection (3AC), add:

   , unless the person shares the premises with the person who pays, or is liable to pay, Government rent in respect of those premises and the person[quot ]s income has been taken into account in calculating the amount of Government rent payable in respect of those premises.

(11) Schedule 19, item 5, page 111 (line 6), at the end of subsection (4A), add:

   , unless the person shares the premises with the person who pays, or is liable to pay, Government rent in respect of those premises and the person[quot ]s income has been taken into account in calculating the amount of Government rent payable in respect of those premises.

(12) Page 129 (after line 13), at the end of the bill, add:

Schedule 24—Superannuation investments

Social Security Act 1991

1 After section 1118A

 Insert:


1118B Value of superannuation investments determined by Minister to be disregarded

  (1) The value of a person[quot ]s investment in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account is to be disregarded in calculating the value of the person[quot ]s assets for the purposes of this Act (other than section 198J or 198L, subparagraph 263(1)(d)(iv), or section 1124A, 1125, 1125A, 1126, 1133 or 1135A) if the investment is specified in a determination made under subsection (2).

  (2) The Minister may specify:

  (a) a specified investment in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account; or

  (b) a specified class of investments in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account;

  in a determination for the purpose of subsection (1).

  (3) A determination under subsection (2) must be in writing.

  (4) A determination under subsection (2) takes effect on the day on which it is made or on such other day (whether earlier or later) as is specified in the determination—

Constitutional significance of Senate amendments—Statement by Speaker

The Speaker made the following statement:

It appears that proposed changes (5) and (8) will, if enacted, have the effect of increasing the expenditure under the standing appropriation in the Principal Act. Purported amendments (2) to (4), (6) and (7) and (9) are consequential to (5) and (8). The change proposed by the Senate which is numbered (12), with No. (1), which is consequential, would create a discretionary power to increase expenditure under a standing appropriation. The increase would be a legally possible, probable and expected increase in expenditure.

There is significant doubt that the Senate may proceed in such circumstances by way of amendment, because of the requirements of section 53 of the Constitution. A more appropriate way to proceed would be by way of request for amendment.

However, the purported amendments raise an additional important point of constitutional principle. Section 56 of the Constitution provides that a vote, resolution or proposed law for the appropriation of revenue shall not be passed unless the purpose of the appropriation has in the same session been recommended by message of the Governor-General to the House in which the proposal originated. House standing orders 297 and 298 are complementary to section 56, and provide for messages from the Governor-General recommending an appropriation for the purposes of or in relation to amendments or requests to be announced before the amendment is moved or
considered. It is my belief that certain of the purported amendments would increase expenditure under the appropriation, as I noted earlier. My belief is supported by legal opinion. No message has been reported in respect of the purported Senate amendments. In fact, a message could not be reported relating to a Senate amendment—only for Senate requests for amendment.

In the light of this, the matter for consideration becomes not so much the privileges and rights as between the two Houses, but observance of the requirements of the Constitution concerning the appropriation of revenue. Where there is a possibility of certain sections of the Constitution being considered to be matters on which the Courts might not make a pronouncement, there is an obligation on all involved in the parliamentary process to ensure that Constitutional propriety is observed.

Of course, it is for the House itself to decide what action to take in the matter.

Mr Ruddock (Minister representing the Minister for Social Security) moved—That the House endorses the statement of the Speaker in relation to the constitutional questions raised by message No. 341 transmitted by the Senate in relation to the Social Security and Veterans[quot ] Affairs Legislation Amendment (Family and Other Measures) Bill 1997.

Question—put and passed.

On the motion of Mr Ruddock, the Senate[quot ]s purported amendments (1) to (9) and (12) were disagreed to.

Message from the Governor-General

Message No. 219, 17 November 1997, from His Excellency the Governor-General was announced recommending an appropriation for the purposes of amendments to the Bill.

On the motion of Mr Ruddock the following amendments were made together in place of the Senate[quot ]s purported amendments which were disagreed to:

Clause 2, page 3 (after line 16), at the end of the clause, add:

  (18) Schedule 24 commences, or is taken to have commenced, on 20 September 1997, immediately after the commencement of Schedule 1 to the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Further Budget and Other Measures) Act 1996.

Schedule 6—

Item 1, page 28 (lines 6 and 7), omit the item.

Item 2, page 28 (lines 8 to 10), omit the item.

Item 3, page 28 (lines 11 to 14), omit the item.

Item 4, page 28 (line 17), omit "8", substitute "13".

Item 5, page 28 (line 21), omit "8", substitute "13".

Item 6, page 28 (lines 22 and 23), omit the item.

Item 7, page 28 (line 24) to page 29 (line 6), omit "8" (wherever occurring), substitute "13".

Item 9, page 29 (lines 9 to 11), omit the item.


Page 129 (after line 13), at the end of the Bill, add:

Schedule 24—Superannuation investments

Social Security Act 1991

1 After section 1118A

 Insert:

1118B Value of superannuation investments determined by Minister to be disregarded

  (1) The value of a person[quot ]s investment in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account is to be disregarded in calculating the value of the person[quot ]s assets for the purposes of this Act (other than section 198J or 198L, subparagraph 263(1)(d)(iv), or section 1124A, 1125, 1125A, 1126, 1133 or 1135A) if the investment is specified in a determination made under subsection (2).

  (2) The Minister may specify:

  (a) a specified investment in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account; or

  (b) a specified class of investments in a superannuation fund, an approved deposit fund, a deferred annuity or an ATO small superannuation account;

  in a determination for the purpose of subsection (1).

  (3) A determination under subsection (2) must be in writing.

  (4) A determination under subsection (2) takes effect on the day on which it is made or on such other day (whether earlier or later) as is specified in the determination.

On the motion of Mr Ruddock, Senate amendments (10) and (11) were agreed to, after debate.