Chapter 12 - Legislation

Governor-General’s assent

The Governor-General’s assent completes the passage of a bill and makes it a law, although the law does not necessarily have effect immediately (see below). (Provisions in the Constitution, ss 59 and 60, for the interpolation of the monarch into the legislative process do not now operate.)

The Governor-General’s assent to a bill is communicated to both Houses of the Parliament by messages, which are then reported to the Houses.

The Governor-General may assent to bills after the Parliament has been prorogued or the House of Representatives dissolved (for an analysis of this matter, see Chapter 19, Relations with the Executive Government, under Effect of prorogation and dissolution of House on the Senate; also ASP, 6th ed., pp 520-1).

In 1976 a bill originated in the House of Representatives which had not been passed by both Houses was mistakenly forwarded to the Governor-General and assented to. There was confusion between two bills of the same title originated in the House. When the error was discovered the Governor-General revoked the purported assent and assented to the bill which had actually passed (VP, 15/2/1977, pp 575-6). A similar procedure was followed to correct an error in a House bill in 2001 (VP, 21/6/2001, p. 2379).

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