Odgers' Australian Senate Practice Thirteenth Edition

Chapter 12 - Legislation

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Amendments proposed by the Governor-General

Section 58 of the Constitution authorises the Governor-General to return bills to the originating House with suggestions for amendments .

A procedure is therefore provided whereby the Governor-General may recommend amendments to a bill which has been passed by both Houses and forwarded to the Governor-General for assent.

This procedure is, in effect, a means whereby the ministry, on whose advice the Governor-General acts, may reconsider a bill which has been passed by both Houses before it finally becomes law, although the procedure is seldom used and it is unlikely that it would be used to make substantive amendments.

A message from the Governor-General recommending amendments to a bill is forwarded to the House in which the bill originated. Amendments recommended by the Governor-General to a bill originating in the Senate are dealt with in the same manner as amendments made in the House of Representatives, but if the Senate agrees to amendments recommended by the Governor-General to a bill originating in the Senate, the amendments must be forwarded to the House of Representatives for its concurrence.201 Similarly, recommendations made to the House and agreed to by the House in relation to a bill originating in the House require the concurrence of the Senate.

If amendments recommended by the Governor-General to a bill originating in the Senate are not agreed to by the Senate, or agreement on the amendments is not reached between the Houses, the President is required to present the bill to the Governor-General again for assent.202 There is no provision for dealing with any insistence by the Governor-General upon recommendations which have not been agreed to, but presumably that would be dealt with in the same way as amendments recommended in the first instance.

In 1986 a recommendation by the Governor-General for amendments was used, in conjunction with a resolution of the House of Representatives recommending that the Senate make amendments to certain bills, to bring about amendments of the bills.203 The circumstances were unusual and unlikely to recur.


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