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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1489


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (17:32): We don't agree with Senator Leyonhjelm's characterisation. His amendments are of course framed as a request because the Senate does not have the constitutional power to amend a bill that appropriates money for the ordinary annual services of the government. The government will not support this request and will not agree to any amendments in the House. The classification of expenditure between appropriation bills nos. 3 and 4 is fully consistent with the Senate executive compact. The compact confirms what can be considered to be ordinary annual services of government for the purposes of section 54 of the Constitution. The Senate executive compact has not changed since its last update in 1999, when it was agreed to by both the Senate and the government. Over the last 19 years, the compact has been applied in the same way by successive governments of different political persuasions and so we don't accept the premise of Senator Leyonhjelm's argument.