Opinion Number. 1538


Appropriations: proposal to include in estimates amounts which are subject of special appropriation: salaries of Governor-General and Judges of Federal Courts: purpose of estimates

The Secretary to the Treasury

I refer to your minute of 12th April, 1933 requesting advice on the proposal to include in the estimates the amounts which are the subject of special appropriation.

On the question contained in that minute consideration was given to the matter by the Attorney-General and was discussed by him with the Treasurer, the Right Honourable J.A. Lyons.(1) I am directed to inform you that it was considered that the course proposed is open to serious objection amounting to an invitation to Parliament to discuss amounts included in special appropriations.(2)

Provision is made in special appropriation for the salaries of the Governor-General and of the Judges of Federal Courts which salaries by the Constitution are not subject to alteration or diminution during the continuance in office of any particular appointee.

I am to inform you that Ministers consider that the appropriate course to adopt in order to disclose to Parliament the true cost of the various services is to include a statement in the budget papers.

The object of the estimates is to give to Parliament the details of the amounts Parliament is being asked to appropriate.

[Vol. 52, p. 190]

(1) Joseph Aloysius (Joe) Lyons. Born 15 September 1879, Stanley, Tasmania; died 7 April 1939, Sydney, New South Wales. Schoolteacher 1901–1909. Member, Tasmanian House of Assembly (Australian Labor Party) 1909–1929. Various times State Treasurer, Minister of Education and Railways, Leader of the Opposition. Premier of Tasmania 1923–1928. Federal Member for Wilmot (Australian Labor Party to 1931; United Australia Party) 1929–1939. Postmaster-General and Minister for Works and Railways 1929–1931; Acting Treasurer 1930–1931; Leader of the Opposition 1931–1932; Treasurer 1932–1935. Prime Minister 1932–1939. Died in office.

(2) See Opinion No. 1533.