This Digest was prepared for debate. It reflects the legislation as
introduced and does not canvass subsequent amendments. This Digest
does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be
consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill
Date Introduced: 13 May 1997
House: House of Representatives
Commencement: Royal Assent
To appropriate $138 450 000 for the recurrent and capital
expenditure of the five Parliamentary Departments for 1997-98.
The appropriation represents less than 50% of total outlays for
all services provided to Members and Senators. The figure for total
outlays for 1997-98 (excluding superannuation benefits for Members
and Senators) is estimated at $336.9 million.(1)
(a) Glossary of Terms
Appropriation - is the setting apart, assigning or
applying to a particular use or to a particular person a sum of
money. In the budget context an appropriation usually refers to an
authorisation by Parliament to draw on funds from the Consolidated
Revenue Fund (CRF).
Budget Outlays - refer to the net cost to the taxpayer
of providing government services. Appropriations/payments out of
the CRF are adjusted to take account (for example) of many
government receipts. Hence a hypothetical government program 'XYZ'
may have a total appropriation of $600 million but this may only
represent budget outlays of $500 million if the 'XYZ' receives
income of $100 million from other (non budget) sources.
Running costs - are the full current and minor capital
costs incurred by a department or agency in providing government
services for which the department or agency is responsible. For
many departments, staff salaries will represent the largest
proportion of such costs.
Borrowings - Borrowings allow agencies to bring forward
some future years appropriation to be spent in an earlier year.
This is intended to provide agencies with the flexibility to
respond to changing spending priorities; and a mechanism to meet
Borrowings are arranged either through annual appropriation or
additional estimates bills, such as is the case with this Bill,
with a consequent reduction in a future appropriation, or through
the Provision for Running Costs Borrowing (PRCB) where the
borrowing does not coincide with an appropriation Bill.
Agencies are allowed to borrow up to 10% of the total running
costs budget from any one year.
Running Costs Borrowings (PRCB) - The PRCB is a reserve
that agencies can draw on to borrow running costs funds from future
appropriation where it is not viable to wait until the passage of
the next Appropriation Bill. Agencies can borrow from the PRCB if:
there is a legitimate reason to borrow running costs; the agency
has a running costs appropriation; the borrowings are repaid in
full from some future appropriation; and sufficient funds are
Since 1982, the appropriations for the Parliamentary Departments
have been effected by a separate Bill. This followed the Fraser
Government's consideration of the Report of the Senate Select
Committee (the Select Committee) on Parliamentary Appropriations
and Staffing tabled on 18 August 1981.
Under current arrangements, the executive government maintains
control over the contents of the Bill as introduced. In theory
however, as the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill is
not for the ordinary annual services of the government, it may be
amended by the Senate.
The Public Service Act 1922 provides that the
administration of the Parliament is undertaken by five
Parliamentary Departments - the Department of the Senate, the
Department of the House of Representatives, the Joint House
Department, the Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff
(DPRS) and the Department of the Parliamentary Library.
The Department of the House of Representatives and the
Department of the Senate are responsible for the provision of
procedural, information and administrative services to Members and
Senators respectively. The Joint House Department performs building
management and maintenance functions associated with Parliament
House. DPRS provides reporting, information technology,
telecommunications and broadcasting services to the Parliament
through Hansard, the Parliamentary Information Systems Office
(PISO) and the Sound and Vision Office (SAVO). The Department of
the Parliamentary Library is responsible for the provision of
library, reference and research services to the Parliament.
(c) Impact on Major Departments
House of Representatives
The department's running cost appropriation for 1997-98 will be
$23 826 000. Total appropriations, for running costs and
appropriations, will be $24 227 000. The running cost appropriation
represents an increase of $1 570 000 (+4.4%) over the 1996-97
figure. The rationale given in the department's Portfolio
Budget Statement for the increase is a decision of the
Presiding Officers to transfer $1 999 000 from the Joint House
Department to the Department of the House of Representatives and
the Department of the Senate.(2)
The areas of expenditure to be covered by the funding transfer
are the replacement of security systems within the Parliament, new
statutory responsibilities for the Joint Committee of Public
Accounts as the Audit Committee of Parliament, and the introduction
of desk top access to the Internet for Parliamentarians and their
staff in Parliament House.
Department of the Senate
The department's appropriation for 1997-98 will be $25 687 000.
This total represents an increase of $1 528 000 on the 1996-97
figure. The department's Portfolio Budget Statement's state that
the increase of $1 528 000 represents monies for new policy
proposals funded by a reallocation of funds from the Joint House
Department (see above).
The new policy proposals comprise:
- $0 605 000 for a security asset replacement program;
- $0 144 000 for desk top internet access for Senators;
- $0 138 000 for 12 extra sitting days in the 1996 budget
- $0 108 000 to upgrade one of the positions in the office of
Clause 3 provides that the Minister for Finance
is authorised to appropriate a total of $138 450 000 from the
Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purposes listed in the Schedule
to the Bill. These funds equate to the anticipated cost of the
services provided by the Parliamentary Departments in 1997-98.
Clause 5 allows the Minister, based on the
determinations of the Presiding Officers, to draw additional funds
from the CRF for increases in salaries and payments during the year
ending 30 June 1998. Amounts issued must be reported to the
Clause 8 allows the President or Speaker,
separately, to make advances up to $300 000 for expenditure to
cover unforseen, erroneously omitted or understated circumstances
in the appropriations proposed by the Bill in relation to the
Senate or the House of Representatives. The President and Speaker
can also make a joint advance, up to $1 million, to cover urgent
and unforeseen circumstances in relation to the Department of the
Parliamentary Reporting Staff, the Parliamentary Library or the
Joint House Department.
Part 2 of the Bill (Clauses 10-17) provides for
the application of certain provisions of the proposed Financial
Management and Accountability Actrelating to appropriations.
The Financial Management and Accountability Bill 1996 is currently
before the Senate.
- Budget Paper No. 1, 1997-98, p. 3-48
- Department of the House of Representatives, Portfolio Budget
Statement 1997-98, p. 4.
26 June 1997
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services
This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other
sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been
enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further
IRS staff are available to discuss the paper's contents
with Senators and Members and their staff but not with members of
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997
Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the
Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including
information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior
written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members
of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official
Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library,
This page was prepared by the Parliamentary Library,
Commonwealth of Australia
Last updated: 14 July 1997
Back to top