Bills Digest no. 134 2008–09
Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No.1)
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introduced: 12 May 2009
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Finance and Deregulation
relevant links to the Bill, Explanatory Memorandum and second
reading speech can be accessed via BillsNet, which is at http://www.aph.gov.au/bills/.
When Bills have been passed they can be found at ComLaw, which is
To appropriate $172 738 million
out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund for expenditure in relation to
the Parliamentary Departments.
The Parliamentary Service Act 1999 provides that the
administration of the Parliament is undertaken by at least two
parliamentary departments. The Department of the Senate and the
House of Representatives (the chamber departments) are created by
force of law. Other departments may be established or abolished by
resolutions passed by each House. The third Parliamentary Department, the Department
of Parliamentary Services, commenced operations in February 2004,
following the amalgamation of the (then) Joint House Department
with the Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff and the
Note that as the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill
(No.1) 2009-2010 is not for the ordinary annual services
of the Government, it may be amended by the Senate.
The Bill appropriates $172 738 million for the 2009-10 financial
year. This compares to
$170 956 million for 2008-09.
The Parliamentary Departments are facing budgetary pressures in
terms of maintaining existing levels of services and dealing with
an increase in demand for services. For example, the Department of
Parliamentary Services Budget paper notes:
The major challenge for the Department of
Parliamentary Services (DPS) for 2009-10 will be maintaining the
level and quality of day-to-day services provided to a very busy
Parliament within a constrained operating budget.
Since 2007-08 Parliamentary activity has
increased significantly. For example; so far in 2008-09 Chamber
activity has been some 50% higher than the 2007-08 year, and
Committee activity is more than 100% higher than in 2007-08.
Increased levels of Parliamentary activity increase the operating
costs of DPS in providing services to the Parliament including
security, Hansard, broadcast services; energy and other utility
costs for the building also increase.
Further the Department of the House of Representatives Budget
Statements notes that:
increased activity levels, and increasing input factor costs,
will place unprecedented pressure on the financial resources
available to the Department. It is anticipated that the Department
will have to reduce its services in some areas to remain within
budget in 2009-10, and that funding pressures will intensify
significantly in the outyears. The Department will endeavour to
limit the impact of those reductions on its core
Department of the
Department of the
House of Representatives
Source: Schedule 1 Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments)
Bill (No.1) 2009-10
Clause 4 provides that the Portfolio Budget
Statements (PBS) may be used to interpret provisions of the Bill
where necessary under section 15AB of the Acts Interpretation
Clause 6 states that the total appropriation
for the Parliamentary Departments is
$172 738 000, a figure only slightly highly from 2008-09.
Schedule 1 to the Bill details the appropriations
for each Parliamentary Department, a summary of which is reproduced
in Table 1 in this Digest.
Clause 11 provides that the responsible
Presiding Officer may request the Finance Minister to make a
written determination by reducing the appropriation for an item in
the budget of a parliamentary department by an amount specified in
the determination. Subclause 11(6) provides that
any such determination by the Finance Minister may be disallowed by
either House of Parliament in accordance with the provisions of
section 42 of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.
Clause 12 allows for the reduction the
appropriation for administered items. Under this provision, if the
relevant Parliamentary Departmental annual report specifies that
the amount required for the item is less than that originally
anticipated, the appropriation is taken to have been reduced to the
Clause 13 deals
with increases ( advances ) to appropriations due to unforseen and
urgent circumstances. These advances are made via determinations by
the responsible Presiding Officer. The maximum advance under clause
14 is a total of $300 000 each for the chamber departments, and a
total of $1 million for the Department of Parliamentary Services.
These amounts are the same as those contained in the equivalent
2008-2009 Appropriation Act. Determinations under clause 14 are
legislative instruments, but not subject to disallowance:
appropriates funds from the Consolidated Revenue Fund as necessary
for the purposes of the Act, including the operation of the Act as
affected by the Financial Management and Accountability Act
1997, in particular sections 30 to 32 of that Act.
Members, Senators and Parliamentary staff can obtain further
information from the Parliamentary Library on (02) 6277 2430.
21 May 2009
Bills Digest Service
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