EFFECTIVENESS OF DEED EXECUTED BY MEMBER OF HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RENOUNCING INCREASES IN PARLIAMENTARY ALLOWANCES WHILE COMMONWEALTH WAGE RESTRICTIONS ARE IN FORCE
PARLIAMENTARY ALLOWANCES ACT 1947
I refer to your memorandum J. 207/149 with regard to a deed executed by the Hon A.B., MP and purporting to renounce all right to a portion of the Parliamentary allowance becoming due to him.
(2) It may be convenient to set out the text of the deed in full:
WHEREAS by the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1947 of the Commonwealth of Australia provision is made for an increase in the allowances payable to Members of the House of Representatives at the rate of £500 per annum and WHEREAS AB is a Member of the said House of Representatives and WHEREAS the said AB desires to divest himself of any right to receive such additional sum until such time as such regulations of the Commonwealth of Australia as prevent or restrict the making of increases in wages no longer operate NOW THEREFORE this deed witnesseth that to effectuate such intention the said A.B. for himself his heirs administrators and assigns hereby releases the Commonwealth of Australia from the payment of such additional Parliamentary allowances and abandons and foregoes all claims and demands which he or they might otherwise have in respect thereof up to the date upon which the said [AB] notifies the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia that he is satisfied that such regulations as aforesaid no longer operate.
(3) In the absence of the Crown Solicitor, the Assistant Crown Solicitor (Mr K.C. Waugh) has closely examined the terms of the deed, and has ascertained the Crown Solicitor’s general view on the matter. Both are satisfied that the deed, as executed, clearly and legally divests Mr A.B. of the right to receive the income to which it relates.
(4) I agree with the view expressed by Mr Whitlam and Mr Waugh, though I feel that the drafting of the deed does create more ambiguity at one particular point.
(5) Both in the recital and in the operative clause, I think the deed is open to the possible construction that Mr A.B. releases the Commonwealth from all obligations to make any increased payments or allowances while the wage-pegging regulations are still in force, but reserves his right, as soon as the regulations have been repealed, to claim the full payments to which he is entitled under the Act. (This right of course would in any case be subject to section 9 of the Principal Act).
I do not think for a moment that this was Mr A.B.’s intention. The intention to make a final waiver would be more clearly expressed if commas had been inserted, in the operative clause, after the words ‘allowances’ and ‘thereof’ respectively. The operative clause would then run as follows:
… to effectuate such intention the said A.B. for himself his heirs administrators and assigns hereby releases the Commonwealth of Australia from the payment of such additional Parliamentary allowances, and abandons and foregoes all claims and demands which he or they might otherwise have in respect thereof, up to the date upon which the said A.B. notifies the Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia that he is satisfied that such regulations as aforesaid no longer operate.
On consideration I am satisfied, as I have said, that the deed sufficiently expresses the intention to make once and for all a waiver of Mr A.B.’s rights in respect of any sums that would otherwise become due during the period specified. I therefore think that the Commissioner can properly accept the deed, as executed.
[Vol. 37, p. 518]