Spending and raising money

Budget bills

Before the government can spend money it has collected as revenue, it must obtain the authority of Parliament to do so by putting proposals to Parliament in the form of bills indicating how the money will be used. Proposed laws dealing with raising and spending money, like all other proposed laws, must be passed by both houses of the Parliament in order to become law. Bills drawing (appropriating) money are always originated by the government, and introduced into the Parliament in the House of Representatives by a government minister.

At the same time as the bills are considered by both houses of the Parliament, the bills and supporting documents are also examined in detail by committees of the Senate, in the estimates process.

In May of each year, the Treasurer introduces a Budget package into the House of Representatives which includes the government's plans for revenue-raising and spending for the following financial year. The Budget includes two proposed laws to authorise expenditure: Appropriation Bill (No. 1) and Appropriation Bill (No. 2). Two more appropriation bills (Nos. 3 and 4) are usually introduced in October or November to meet shortfalls in funding for government expenditure. Bills appropriating money for special purposes may be introduced at any time throughout the year.