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Mar 30, 2017

Governor General to Consider Final Assent to PACT Amendment Bill

Governor General Sir Colville Young will, in the next few hours, consider affixing his assent to the PACT (Amendment) Bill, General Revenue and Appropriation Bill and ten others brought from the National Assembly. Of these, only the PACT (Amendment) Bill was voted down by seven to six, with social partner Senators joining the Opposition to vote against, on the ground that the Bill does not address PACT’s conservation goals and merely serves as a vehicle for Government’s revenue measures addressed in the Budget.  But the Constitution provides, “If a money bill, having been passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the Senate at least one month before the end of the session, is not passed by the Senate without amendment within one month after it is sent to that House, the Bill shall, unless the House of Representatives otherwise resolves, be presented to the Governor-General for assent notwithstanding that the Senate has not consented to the Bill.” Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte told News Five in an interview this evening that come what may, the wishes of unelected persons, even in the upper chamber, cannot override the electorate’s choice.

 

Reporter

“We understand that the Government has proposed to take this to the Governor General, notwithstanding that the Senate did not consent; has that been done?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General

“Yes, that has been done. Well, I signed today what I have to sign, because the Attorney General has to sign over and indicate to the Governor General that all the proper legal proceedings have taken place for him to assent; so I imagine that that is probably already at his office – if not today, then certainly tomorrow; because under the Constitution, the Senate cannot block nor delay a Money Bill passed by the House.”

 

Reporter

“During your intervention, you spoke of the merits of the Bill and that it does not affect directly the administration or so on of PACT, but that legal aspect, we understand, was not mentioned; any reason why?”

 

Michael Peyrefitte

“Well, there’s no need to mention it at that point – we don’t know how the vote is going to go at that point. When you’re debating a bill you only debate the merits of the Bill; it’s after you debate the merits of the Bill that you vote on the Bill, so at the time of debating it we didn’t know who was going to vote for or against the Bill. But we knew that whether or not there was a majority vote in favour or against, it wouldn’t matter. Because the resounding principle in the Constitution is this: thirteen people who have been selected can in no way, can in no way override thirty-one people who have been elected. If you follow the logic of the nay-sayers, then, they would want the Senate comprising of thirteen people who nobody has elected, to just block anything passed by a bunch of people who were elected.”

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1 Response for “Governor General to Consider Final Assent to PACT Amendment Bill”

  1. Mark Hall says:

    Then why have a senate?

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