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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2537..


Proposed new clause 9A

MR MOORE (3.33 am): An amendment has been circulated in my name. It would add a proposed new clause. That amendment is the one that I spoke about earlier. The effect of the amendment that has been circulated in my name, but not yet moved, is that it would restrict the Government in that $3.8m of the Advance to the Minister administering the Audit Act, normally known as the Treasurer's Advance or slush fund, could not be used other than to increase the appropriation in Division 180 - Government Schooling. The effect is to reduce the amount of money in the Treasurer's Advance; except if it is going to be used in government schooling, when it would be available. I move:

That the following new clause be inserted in the Bill:

"9A. The Executive shall not use $3,800,000 of the Advance to the Minister administering the Audit Act 1989 other than to increase the appropriation for Division 180, Government Schooling.".

MR SPEAKER: Mr Moore and members, you would be aware that earlier this sitting we carried the following motion, which was carried by 13 votes to four:

That this Assembly reaffirms the principles of the Westminster system embodied in the "financial initiative of the Crown" and the limits that that initiative places on non-Executive members in moving amendments other than those to reduce items of proposed expenditure.

I therefore rule this amendment out of order.

Mr Moore: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I very carefully explained that this amendment does have the effect of reducing the funds, and I believe that your interpretation is inconsistent with the motion that was passed earlier. Members, including you, Mr Speaker, should look carefully at what I have written in this amendment. It was specifically designed to meet that need and to ensure that it is a reduction and in no way requires the Government to increase spending. Therefore I think it is entirely appropriate.

MR SPEAKER: The amendment cannot be read in isolation but must be read in the context of its place in the Appropriation Bill. This Bill, together with the Audit Act 1989, manifests a clear legislative intention that money, once appropriated, will be spent. If inserted, the amendment would control the direction of that money and, in effect, place an obligation to transfer the money. Therefore, the appropriation in Division 180 would increase.

Mr Kaine: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I submit that this amendment has no effect whatsoever, except to freeze the amount of $3.8m in the Treasurer's Advance. If the Treasurer chooses not to spend it for the purpose for which Mr Moore has earmarked it, then it is simply not spent. Its net effect is simply to reduce the effective amount in the Treasurer's Advance from $12m to $8.2m, and it has no further effect than that.


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