Tuesday, 23 September 2008
Urgent Relief for Single Age Pensioners Bill 2008
Consideration of Senate Message
As members will know, this issue has been the subject of considerable discussion for several days. I present a copy of advice I have received from the Clerk of the House on the issues involved. Copies of this advice have been provided to the Leader of the House and to the Leader of the Opposition. The bill transmitted by the Senate does give rise to some important issues in terms of the role and responsibilities of the House of Representatives. The advice I have presented goes into the interpretation and application of the constitutional provisions, particularly those set out in sections 53 and 56 of the Constitution, and the practice of the House in these matters. As I understand it, this bill provides for increases in payments that are funded by means of standing appropriations in the Social Security Administration Act and the Veterans’ Entitlements Act. I understand further that the practice has been that such bills originate in the House and that they require a message from the Governor-General in accordance with section 56 of the Constitution.