Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2601..
sovereign in respect of its procedure, and that the question of whether a Bill followed correct parliamentary procedure is non justiciable, the Australian Courts have rejected this view- "The principle that the courts may not examine the way in which the law making process has been performed has no application where a legislature is established under or governed by an instrument which prescribes that laws of a certain kind may only be passed if the legislature is constituted or exercises its functions in a particular manner." Gibbs J, Victoria v Commonwealth ( The Petroleum and Minerals Authority Case) (1975) 133 CLR 81 at 163. In Victoria v Commonwealth (The Australian Assistance Plan) (1975) 134 CLR 338 the Court specifically held that the question of whether an Appropriation Act was valid was justiciable.
19. Although falling beyond the realms of a legal advising, it is appropriate to contemplate the consequences of a different answer. If the Assembly can alter an appropriation item , even if limited to the total global appropriation contained within the particular Appropriation Bill, a practice could well develop where coalitions form from time to time to pass particular special interest amendments. The political history of the Assembly has been that no party has ever commanded a majority, and a variety of parties and independent members have come and gone. The practice in United States legislative bodies of "log rolling"- where members support each other's special interest budget amendments in return for support for their own has led to a breakdown in fiscal responsibility- particularly if taxation measures contained in the budget are also watered down or defeated. The long term political and economic interests of the Canberra community would clearly be ill served if any other view were taken of the law.
9 NOV 1995