Section 53 of the Constitution provides that certain types of bills may not be initiated in or amended by the Senate. In addition, the Senate may not amend bills if the impact of the amendment would be to increase the proposed charge or burden on the people. In these situations, the Senate may request the House of Representatives to make particular amendments. The standing orders adopted in 1903 provided procedures for amendments (see, for example, SOs 118, 131, 132 and 134) and for requests (see SOs 140 and 141). Not initially covered, however, was the situation in which the Senate made both amendments and requests to the same bill. This occurred in relation to the Sugar Bounty Bill 1903 which was the subject of complex and protracted proceedings.
As the debate on the adoption of this standing order in 1909 demonstrates, there had been some initial uncertainty as to whether it was competent for the Senate to make both amendments and requests to the same bill. Senator Pearce (ALP, WA) gave credit to then Clerk, C. B. Boydell, for guiding the drafting of the proposed standing order:
Mr Boydell has made a special study of the difficulties into which we have got in regard to composite Bills. It was pointed out that we had no definite procedure in regard to them. But we have established a practice, and it is now sought to embody that practice in a standing order.
The practice had been suggested by the Senate as a result of proceedings on the Sugar Bounty Bill in 1903. Boydell would develop his notes on the subject and produce a small booklet, Notes on the Practice and Procedure of the Senate in relation to Appropriation, Taxation, and Other Money Bills; together with Standing Orders and Presidents’ Rulings; also a Summary of Cases Referred to (1901 –1910), tabled by President Turley and ordered to be printed on 6 September 1911. This was the first of a distinguished body of clerkly writings to be presented to the Senate.