Opinion Number. 305

Subject

FINANCE WHETHER COST OF DRAFT TO TRANSMIT FUNDS IS CHARGEABLE TO VOTE: WHETHER PROFIT ARISING OUT OF PURCHASE OF DRAFT IS REVENUE

Key Legislation

CONSTITUTION, s. 81

Date

The Treasury has asked for my opinion as to whether the provisions of section 81 of the Constitution forbid the Treasurer from charging to the vote the amount expended in the purchase of a draft, whether at a premium or discount.

Section 81 of the Constitution simply defines what moneys are to form part of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, and declares the purposes for which that Fund is to be appropriated. In the form in which the question is stated it is difficult to see how the section touches the question of charging amounts to votes.

It may however happen in some cases that the operation of transmitting money by means of a draft results in a profit being made, because the draft is purchased at a price less than the amount receivable under it. If a profit is actually received it is I think in strictness revenue and should be credited accordingly.

The question, as stated, does not raise this point; but I presume it was intended that it should be considered.

On the question as stated in the Treasury memorandum, I am of opinion that section 81 does not forbid the Treasurer from charging amounts expended in the purchase of drafts to the vote, whether the draft is purchased at a premium or a discount; but I express no opinion as to whether that is the correct course to follow.(1)

[Vol. 6, p. 373]

(1) This opinion was published in Commonwealth of Australia, Pari. Papers 1908, Vol. II, p. 1084.

* See also Opinion No. 329.