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The legislation that determines pay rises for Tasmanian MPs has two sections that appear to contradict each other, leading to the situation where 32 out of 40 MPs can vote against the pay rise and yet it will still go ahead.

According to the Tasmanian Government and other lower house MPs, the section dealing with the timing of any pay rise (3H) overrides the section that deals with disallowing the same pay rise (3G).

It’s an interpretation that seems to rely on changing the everyday meaning of the word ‘disallow’ as it appears in 3G. And it’s also clearly quite sneaky, hiding what we’re told is the key clause on disallowance inside a section that’s all about timing.

Are there any lawyers out there who can explain the effect of the contradictory clauses, and also the re-imagining of the meaning of ‘disallow’ in 3G?

Parliamentary Salaries, Superannuation and Allowances Act 2012, Sections 3G & 3H:

Section 3G. House may disallow determination
A House before which a report is tabled under section 3F(2) may, within ten sitting-days or a longer period allowed by a resolution of the House, disallow a determination contained in the report.

Section 3H. When determination takes effect
(1) A determination, contained in a report that is tabled under section 3F(2), comes into effect on the day specified in the determination as the day on which it is to take effect, unless the determination is disallowed by both Houses under section 3G within –
(a) 10 sitting-days after the report is tabled in both Houses; or
(b) a longer period allowed by a resolution of either House under section 3G

(2) A determination may come into effect on the date specified in the determination as the date on which the determination is to take effect, even though the date is a date that is –
(a) before the date on which the report containing the determination is provided to the Clerk of either House under section 3F(1); or
(b) before the date that is 10 sitting-days, or a longer period allowed by a resolution of a House under section 3G, after the report containing the determination is tabled in both Houses under section 3F(2).
[emphasis mine]

A full copy of the legislation is available here:
http://www.thelaw.tas.gov.au/tocview/index.w3p;cond=;doc_id=18++2012+AT@EN+20160304000000;histon=;prompt=;rec=;term=

*Ben Lohberger has worked in media and politics in Tasmania for the past 15 years. He lives in the Huon Valley, and is a longtime contributor to TasmanianTimes.