Bills Digest No. 97   1997-98 Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 2) 1997-98

Numerical Index | Alphabetical Index

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 Bill.


Passage History

Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 2) 1997-98

Date Introduced: 29 October 1997
House: House of Representatives
Portfolio: Finance and Administration
Commencement: Royal Assent


To authorise the Minister for Finance and Administration to issue $416 000 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), in addition to funds appropriated by the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Act 1997-98, for the operation of the Parliamentary Departments during 1997-98.


(a) Glossary of Terms

Appropriation - is the setting apart, assigning or applying of a sum of money to a particular use or to a particular person.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' program receives income of $100 million from other (non budget) sources.

Running costs - are the full recurrent 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.

(b) Overview

Since 1982 the appropriation 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 on Parliamentary Appropriations and Staffing which was tabled on 18 August 1981.

Under current arrangements, the executive government maintains control over the contents of the Bill as introduced.In theory however, since 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 provides building and facilities management, maintenance and visitor services 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.

The additional appropriations sought by the Bill relate to the running costs of the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives.In his Second Reading Speech, the Minister for Finance and Administration, Hon John Fahey MP, stated that the increases sought by the two Departments are largely the result of a higher than anticipated carryover of unspent funds from 1996-97(1).

Digest comment :-When the Budget was in August Departments knew the amount of the carryover and were able to include it in the next year's appropriation.Now the Budget is in May, Departments do not know the carryover until the end of the financial year, and so need an additional appropriation for the carryover amount.

The additional appropriations sought by this Bill are:

  • Department of the Senate   $120 000
  • Department of the House of Representatives   $296 000

(c) Comparison of Running costs appropriations for Dept of the House of
    Representatives and Dept of the Senate for 1996-97 and 1997-98

                                  House of Representatives           Senate           

Running costs                           22 914 000                23 966 000 
appropriation 1996-97                                                        

Spending on running                     22 642 080                22 344 412 
costs 1996-97                                                                

Unspent running cost                       271 920                 1 621 588 
funds 1996-97                                                                

Running costs                           23 826 000                25 301 000 
appropriation 1997-98                                                        

Additional                                 296 000                   120 000 
appropriation sought by                                                      
this Bill                                                                    

Main Provisions

The Minister for Finance and Administration will be authorised to issue $416 000 from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purposes specified in the Schedule of this Bill during 1997-98 (clause 3).

Clause 5 allows the Minister, based on the determination of the Presiding Officers, to draw additional funds from the CRF for increases in salaries and payments during the year ended 30 June 1998.Amounts issued must be reported to the Parliament.

Part 2 of the Bill clauses 9-12 provides for the application of certain provisions of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 relating to appropriations. The Act received Royal Assent on 24 October 1997.


  1. Second Reading Speech, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 October 1997: 9814.
  2. The Commonwealth Public Account 1997-98 (Budget Paper No. 4), AGPS, Canberra, 1997: 94.
  3. ibid: 92.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Rosemary Bell
13November 1997
Bills Digest Service
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ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 1997

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1997.

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Last updated: 13 November 1997

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