Powers of the Parliament
Section 51 – Legislative powers of the Parliament
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:-
(i.) Trade and commerce with other countries, and among the States:
(ii.) Taxation; but so as not to discriminate between States or parts of States:
(iii.) Bounties on the production or export of goods, but so that such bounties shall be uniform throughout the Commonwealth:
(iv.) Borrowing money on the public credit of the Commonwealth:
(v.) Postal, telegraphic, telephonic, and other like services:
(vi.) The naval and military defence of the Commonwealth and of the several States, and the control of the forces to execute and maintain the laws of the Commonwealth.
(vii.) Lighthouses, lightships, beacons and buoys:
(viii.) Astronomical and metereological observations:
(x.) Fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits:
(xi.) Census and statistics:
(xii.) Currency, coinage, and legal tender:
(xiii.) Banking, other than State banking; also State banking extending beyond the limits of the State concerned, the incorporation of banks, and the issue of paper money:
(xiv.) Insurance, other than State insurance; also State insurance extending beyond the limits of the State concerned:
(xv.) Weights and measures:
(xvi.) Bills of exchanging and promissory notes:
(xvii.) Bankruptcy and insolvency:
(xviii.) Copyrights, patents of inventions and designs, and trade marks:
(xix.) Naturalization and aliens:
(xx.) Foreign corporations, and trading or financial corporations formed within the limits of the Commonwealth:
(xxii.) Divorce and matrimonial causes; and in relation thereto, parental rights, and the custody and guardianship of infants:
(xxiii.) Invalid and old-age pensions:
(xxiiiA.) The provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances:
(xxiv.) The service and execution throughout the Commonwealth of the civil and criminal process and the judgements of the courts of the States:
(xxv.) The recognition throughout the Commonwealth of the laws, the public Acts and records, and the judicial proceedings of the States:
(xxvi.) The people of any race, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws:
(xxvii.) Immigration and emigration:
(xxviii.) The influx of criminals:
(xxix.) External Affairs:
(xxx.) The relations of the Commonwealth with the islands of the Pacific:
(xxxi.) The acquisition of property on just terms from any State or person for any purpose in respect of which the Parliament has power to make laws:
(xxxii.) The control of railways with respect to transport for the naval and military purposes of the Commonwealth:
(xxxiii.) The acquisition, with the consent of a State, of any railways of the State on terms arranged between the Commonwealth and the State:
(xxxiv.) Railway construction and extension in any State with the consent of that State:
(xxxv.) Conciliation and arbitration for the prevention and settlement of industrial disputes extending beyond the limits of any one State:
(xxxvi.) Matters in respect of which this Constitution makes provision until the Parliament otherwise provides:
(xxxvii.) Matters referred to the Parliament of the Commonwealth by the Parliament or Parliaments of any State or States, but so that the law shall extend only to States by whose Parliaments the matter is referred, or which afterwards adopt the law:
(xxxviii.) The exercise within the Commonwealth, at the request or with the concurrence of the Parliaments of all the States directly concerned, of any power which can at the establishment of this Constitution be exercised only by the Parliament of the United Kingdom or by the Federal Council of Australasia:
(xxxix.) Matters incidental to the execution of any power vested by this Constitution in the Parliament or in either House thereof, or in the Government of the Commonwealth, or in the Federal Judicature, or in any department or officer of the Commonwealth.
Section 52 – Exclusive powers of the Parliament
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have exclusive power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to-
(i.) The seat of government of the Commonwealth, and all places acquired by the Commonwealth for public purposes:
(ii.) Matters relating to any department of the public service the control of which is by this Constitution transferred to the Executive Government or the Commonwealth:
(iii.) Other matters declared by this Constitution to be within the exclusive power of the Parliament.
Section 53 – Powers of the Houses in respect of legislation
Proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys, or imposing taxation, shall not originate in the Senate. But a proposed law shall not be taken to appropriate revenue or moneys, or to impose taxation, by reason only of its containing provisions for the imposition or appropriation of fines or other pecuniary penalties, or for the demand or payment or appropriation of fees for licences, or fees for services under the proposed law.
The Senate may not amend proposed laws imposing taxation, or proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government.
The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people.
The Senate may at any stage return to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting, by message, the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein. And the House of Representatives may, if it thinks fit, make any of such omissions or amendments, with or without modifications.
Except as provided in this section, the Senate shall have equal power with the House of Representatives in respect of all proposed laws.
Section 54 – Appropriation Bills
The proposed law which appropriates revenue or moneys for the ordinary annual services of the Government shall deal only with such appropriation.
Section 55 – Tax Bill
Laws imposing taxation shall deal only with the imposition of taxation, and any provision therein dealing with any other matter shall be of no effect.
Laws imposing taxation except laws imposing duties of customs or of excise, shall deal with one subject of taxation only; but laws imposing duties of customs shall deal with duties of customs only, and laws imposing duties of excise shall deal with duties of excise only.
Section 56 – Recommendation of money votes
A vote, resolution, or proposed law for the appropriation of revenue or moneys shall not be passed unless the purpose of the appropriation has in the same session been recommended by message of the Governor-General to the House in which the proposal originated.
Section 57 – Disagreement between the Houses
If the House of representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously. But such dissolution shall not take place within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time.
If after such dissolution the House of Representatives again passes the proposed law, with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may convene a joint sitting of the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.
The members present at the joint sitting may deliberate and shall vote together upon the proposed law as last proposed by the House of Representatives, and upon amendments, if any, which have been made therein by one House and not agreed to by the other, and any such amendments which are affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be taken to have been carried, and if the proposed law, with the amendments, if any, so carried is affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, it shall be taken to have been duly passed by Houses of the Parliament, and shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent.
Section 58 – Royal assent to Bills & Recommendations by Governor-General
When a proposed law passed by both Houses of the Parliament is presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent, he shall declare, according to his discretion, but subject to this Constitution, that he assents in the Queen’s name, or that he withholds assent, or that he reserves the law for the Queen’s pleasure.
The Governor-General may return to the house in which it originated any proposed law so presented to him, and may transmit therewith any amendments which he may recommend, and the Houses may deal with the recommendation.
Section 59 – Disallowance by the Queen
The Queen may disallow any law within one year from the Governor-General’s assent, and such disallowance on being made known by the Governor-General by speech or message to each of the Houses of the Parliament, or by Proclamation, shall annul the law from the day when the disallowance is so made known.
Section 60 – Signification of Queen’s pleasure on Bills reserved
A proposed law reserved for the Queen’s pleasure shall not have any force unless and until within two years from the day on which it was presented to the Governor-General for the Queen’s assent the Governor-General makes known, by speech or message to each of the Houses of the Parliament, or by Proclamation, that it has received the Queen’s assent.