Opinion Number. 369

Subject

MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT WHETHER MAY GO ABROAD BEFORE BEING SWORN . EFFECT ON PARLIAMENTARY ALLOWANCE . TIME LIMIT FOR TAKING SEAT

Key Legislation

CONSTITUTION ss. 42. 48 : PARLIAMENTARY ALLOWANCES ACT 1907. s. 5

Date
Client
The Clerk of the House of Representatives

The Clerk of the House of Representatives asks for my advice on the following questions put by Mr Poynton, who wishes to go abroad immediately after the elections:

  1. Can I leave before being sworn in without invalidating my seat?
  2. Can'I obtain leave of absence without being sworn in?
  3. Would my leaving before being sworn in affect my parliamentary allowance?

My opinion upon the above questions is as follows:

  1. Yes, if leave of absence is obtained. Section 42 of the Constitution requires every member to be sworn in before taking his seat; but there is no period fixed within which he must take his seat.
  2. This appears to be entirely a matter for the House, and I am not acquainted with any precedent on the point.
  3. No, if leave of absence is obtained. Under the Parliamentary Allowances Act 1907, section 5, the allowance of a member of the House of Representatives is reckoned from the day of his election-not, as was formerly the case under section 48 of the Constitution, from the day on which he takes his seat.

[Vol. 7, p. 370]