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Thursday, 27 September 1906

The PRESIDENT - Is that the effect of Senator Stewart's amendment?

Senator Clemons - I think so. It is intended to make the Bill one for an appropriation from a general fund of certain moneys for a special purpose.

Senator Stewart - Yes.

Senator Clemons - You may be asked, sir - though not by rae - whether it is within our power to appropriate even special duties for a special purpose, seeing that no special purpose is indicated in the Bill. But certainly Senator Stewart is practically trying to put in a proviso which would appropriate from the general revenue money for a special purpose.

Senator Keating - I should like to point out how the amendment proposed by Senator Stewart may be contrasted with the amendment proposed by Senator Drake. First of all, we have to remember tEat section 87 of the Constitution for a period of ten years makes the revenue derived from Customs and Excise subject to division as between Commonwealth and State. If we call the existing duties " present duties," and the duties' hereafter to be imposed, and which are not at present imposed, " future duties," the object of the Bill may be summed up as follows: - So far as "present duties" are concerned, the Bill does not alter the effect of section 87. So far as " future duties ' ' are concerned, the Bill provides that for special purposes section 87 shall not apply. Senator Stewart's proposal is that, so far as present duties are concerned, Parliament may .appropriate them for a specific purpose. The two amendments are in direct contrast. The one is the converse of the other. That. I think, must be admitted, if we bear in mind the difference between future duties and present duties. Present duties the Bill does not propose, in any way, to affect. Nor does Senator Drake's amendment. But Senator Stewart's amendment does. It says that, if Parliament decides upon appropriating revenue derived from present duties to specific purposes to that extent, section 87 shall not apply.

Senator Millen - Perhaps I may be pardoped for presenting the issue in a fresh form. As the Constitution now stands, under section 87, of every £100 of Customs and Excise duties raised, ^75 have1 to be returned to the States. The purpose of this Bill is not in any way to touch that ^100, or its apportionment. It is to raise a sum of money in excess of the ^100, and it indicates how that excess, when raised, is to be applied. Senator Stewart now proposes, not an amendment pertaining to the excess amount to be raised under the Bill, but to alter the proportionate distribution of the £100 raised by ordinary Customs and Excise duties. That proposal seems to me to be entirely outside the scope of the Bill. In other words, the Bill proposes to raise fresh revenue, and to appropriate it in a fresh way, whereas Senator Stewart proposes merely to appropriate revenue already being raised. There is a sharp distinction between the Bill and the amendment.

The PRESIDENT -This is a Bill, not to impose duties on any particular article, nor to appropriate the amount so raised for any particular purpose. The subjectmatter is very clearly enunciated in the amendment of Senator Drake. That amendment is this -

The Parliament of the Commonwealth may, for a special purpose, impose duties of Customs or Excise upon goods of a description not liable to Customs or Excise duties on the first day of January, One thousand nine hundred and seven, and may expend for such special purpose the whole of the amount so raised.

Senator Stewarthas moved an amendment which seems to me to negative the whole principle of the Bill. It is a direct negation of its object and subject-matter. I think we should be particularly careful in Bills effecting amendments of the Constitution, to see that all the amendments made are in strict accord with the provisions and subject-matter of the Bill in question, as read a second time. Therefore, I rule that the amendment proposed by Senator Stewart is not in order. I am sorry to differ from the opinion of the Chairman of Committees, but, in this case, my duty seems to me to be quite clear, and the point at issue is. clear.

In Committee -

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