Bills Digest No. 168  1999-2000Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2000-2001

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
Main Provisions
Contact Officer & Copyright Details

Passage History

Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2000-2001

Date Introduced: 9 May 2000

House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Finance and Administration

Commencement: Royal Assent


To appropriate $154.492 million for the recurrent and capital expenditure of the five parliamentary departments for the 2000-2001 financial year.


The 2000-2001 budgets for the parliamentary departments have been prepared using an accrual basis and provide funding for departmental outcomes, administered expenses and capital items. For a discussion of accrual budgeting and its role in public sector management reform see the recent Department of the Parliamentary Library Research Note entitled Accrual Budgeting: State of Play by Rose Verspaandonk.(1)

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 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, as the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill is not for the ordinary annual services of the government, it may be amended by the Senate.

The Parliamentary Service Act 1999 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 and the Department of the Parliamentary Library.

The Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate are responsible for providing procedural advice, information and administrative support to Members and Senators respectively. The Joint House Department performs building management and maintenance services, and provides a range of commercial support services and facilities in Parliament House. The Department of the Parliamentary Reporting Staff provides broadcasting, transcription and information technology services to the Parliament, and the Department of the Parliamentary Library is responsible for the provision of information services, research and policy analysis.

The primary source of funds for each of the parliamentary departments is the annual Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill, supplemented as required by a second bill introduced with the government's supplementary appropriation bills.

The Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2000-2001 appropriates a total of $154.492 million for all five departments for the 2000-2001 financial year. The Schedule in the Bill deals with the allocation of expenditure for each Department. Appropriations for 2000-2001, with the previous year's figures in brackets, are as follows:

House of Representatives

$27.165 m

($27.841 m)


$29.185 m

($31.471 m)

Joint House Department


($41.009 m)

Parliamentary Reporting Staff


($42.222 m)

Parliamentary Library

$16.499 m

($16.553 m)



($159.096 m)

In addition to appropriations from the Consolidated Revenue Fund, certain money receipts may be credited to a parliamentary department's operating expenses. That is, these receipts are deemed to have been appropriated. Departments are able to credit receipts from, for example, proceeds of the sale of parliamentary and educational materials, and resources received free of charge, such as from the National Library of Australia or the Australian National Audit Office.

Under amendments proposed to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 which were introduced on 10 May 2000, GST notionally paid by parliamentary departments will be adjusted. For an explanation of the proposed amendments see Bills Digest No. 167, 1999-2000, 'Financial Management and Accountability Amendment Bill 2000'.(2)

Main Provisions

Clause 4 provides that Portfolio Budget Statements are to be considered as relevant extrinsic material which may assist in the interpretation of the Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) legislation. Portfolio Budget Statements are statements prepared by portfolios (or by departments in the case of Parliamentary Departments) to explain the Budget appropriations in terms of outcomes. Their purpose is to assist in explaining the proposed appropriations in the Appropriation Bills.

Clause 7 provides that for Departmental items, the Finance Minister may issue from the Consolidated Revenue Fund amounts that do not exceed that listed in the Schedule to the Bill and that such funds must be used for the departmental expenses of the Parliamentary Department. Departmental expenses are used to purchase programs and services provided by the Parliamentary Department as indicated in the Portfolio Budget Statement. Subclause 7(3) provides that where the amount is for remuneration or allowances payable under the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1973 or the Remuneration and Allowances Act 1990, the Minister for Finance must issue the amount.

For administered expenses, clause 8 provides that the Finance Minister may issue the lesser of two amounts; either the amount specified in the item or the amount the Minister determines to be the administered expenses incurred by the Parliamentary Department. Administered expenses are funds administered by the Parliamentary Department on behalf of the Commonwealth for its purposes. An example is the Citizenship Visits Program funded jointly by the Department of the House of Representatives and the Department of the Senate and managed by the Department of the House of Representatives.

Under section 31 of the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 departments have access to certain monies received in payment for services. Services provided by parliamentary departments which may attract credit receipts include contributions from participants towards the cost of conferences and seminars conducted by the departments, asset sales, monies for accrued leave entitlements of transferred employees and interest earned on fixed term deposits with the Reserve Bank of Australia. The department's operating expenses are reduced by the expected earnings (clause 11).

The responsible Presiding Officer/s will be able to increase the amount allocated to an item to a total maximum of $200 000 for both the House of Representatives and the Senate (for these Departments this power is exercisable by the Speaker for the House of Representatives and by the President for the Senate) and to a total maximum of $200 000 for all the remaining Departments combined (exercisable jointly by the Speaker and President) (clause 12).

Clause 13 is similar to clause 12 but deals with increases in items due to unforeseen circumstances. The maximum increase under clause 13 is a total of $300 000 for the Senate, $300 000 for the House of Representatives, and a total of $1 million for the other Departments combined.

Clause 16 will appropriate formally the funds for the Bill.


  1. Verspaandonk, Rose, 'Accrual Budgeting: State of Play', Department of the Parliamentary Library, Research Note, No. 30, 1999-2000, 9 May 2000.
  2. Del Villar, Katrine, ' Financial Management and Accountability Amendment Bill 2000', Bills Digest No. 167, 1999-2000.

Contact Officer and Copyright Details

Rosemary Bell
26 May 2000
Bills Digest Service
Information and Research Services

This paper has been prepared for general distribution to Senators and Members of the Australian Parliament. While great care is taken to ensure that the paper is accurate and balanced, the paper is written using information publicly available at the time of production. The views expressed are those of the author and should not be attributed to the Information and Research Services (IRS). Advice on legislation or legal policy issues contained in this paper is provided for use in parliamentary debate and for related parliamentary purposes. This paper is not professional legal opinion. Readers are reminded that the paper is not an official parliamentary or Australian government document.

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ISSN 1328-8091
© Commonwealth of Australia 2000

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 2000.

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