16th Parliament · 1st Session
The President (Senator the Hon. J. Cunningham) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– On the 17th May, 1042, an article appeared in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, published in Sydney, entitled “ Those Meddlesome Old Men of the Senate”. The article contained a number of statements concerning the Senate and its members which could only be construed as a deliberate attempt by the newspaper in question to discredit the Senate in the opinion of the people, and to bring it into contempt. The article also contained offensive and scurrilous personal attacks on various members of the Senate, evidently written for the purpose of holding up honorable senators to ridicule and contempt. The Senate has ample power to defend itself against attack, and I am sure that I have the concurrence of honorable senators when I say that the Senate will not hesitate to use that power.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hear !
– In the meantime, as custodian of the rights and privileges of the Senate, T called upon the editor in chief of the Daily Telegraph newspaper to publish in an issue of the Daily Telegraph and in the next issue of the Sunday Telegraph an apology in the following terms:- -
The proprietors and editors of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph hereby apologize for the publication of an article in the Sunday Telegraph of the 17th May, 1942, entitled “Those Meddlesome Old Men of the Senate”. We express regret for the attacks made in the said article upon the standing and reputation of the Senate, and upon individual senators, as calculated to hold them up to contempt and ridicule, and we undertake to instruct our staff that such attacks must not bo repeated.
I informed the editor in chief that, until that apology was published, the representatives of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph would be refused certain privileges in Parliament House.
In reply to my communication, I received a telegram from the general manager of the Consolidated Press, requesting that, before action was taken by me, his organization should be given a hearing. I granted the desired interview to the general manager of the Consolidated Press, who made certain representations to me which were quite unacceptable, and he stated that the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph would not publish an apology. I’ have accordingly taken action to-day to carry out the alternative, and letters have been addressed to representatives of the newspapers in question, intimating that, until further notice, they will be excluded from the precincts of the Senate, including the press and public galleries, the lobbies, the Parliamentary Library, the King’s Hall, and the refreshment-rooms. It is my intention that this exclusion shall remain until such time as the required apology is published. I lay upon the table of the Senate -
Correspondence between the President of the Senate and representatives of the Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph newspapers of Sydney; and also the Sunday Times newspaper of Perth.
– You say, Mr. President, that you are sure that you have the concurrence of honorable senators. I want an explanation-
– Does the honorable senator wish to ask a question ?
– I am asking for information. In your statement, you say that you believe that you have the concurrence of honorable senators.
– Is the honorable senator in order in making a statement without the leave of the Senate?
– I understood that the Minister was about to ask a question regarding my statement.
– I understood you to say that you believed that you had the concurrence of honorable senators, but I dissent from your decision.
– The honorable senator is out of order.
– I do not concur in the decision that you have made. I consider the penalty too drastic.
– Does the Leader of the Senate propose to make a statement to the Senate in connexion with the reported attack by Japanese submarines in Sydney harbour?
– Does the Minister representing the Minister for the Navy consider it desirable that details regarding the presence of submarines in Sydney Harbour should be published, indicating what losses have been sustained by our enemies? In the last war, a different policy was adopted, and I understand that heretofore a different policy has been followed in this war.
– At the . appropriate time and in the appropriate place the Government will see that a proper announcement is made. That is the reason for the answer which I gave to a previous question on the same subject. I do not intend, on the spur of the moment, to answer questions in a way which might give information to the enemy.
– by leave - On behalf of the Minister for the Navy (Mr. Makin), I inform the Senate that an enemy attempt was made during the night of Sunday, the 31st May and the morning of Monday, the 1st June, to destroy shipping in Sydney Harbour by a submarine attack. The attempt was unsuccessful, its failure being due to the preparedness of our defences for such an attempt, and the prompt counter-attack carried out by harbour defence vessels and other warships in the harbour. It would appear that three enemy submarines participated, in the attack. They were all destroyed. The total damage inflicted by the submarines before their destruction was the sinking of a Sydney ferry steamer used as a depot ship for naval ratings. It is regretted that, of the personnel on board the vessel at the time, six naval ratings were killed, and thirteen are missing, believed killed. Their next-of-kin have been informed. In addition, ten ratings were injured. That was the total loss inflicted by the enemy.
Long before Japan entered the war, and at a time when Australia seemed remote from the possibility of actual naval attack, steps had been taken to safeguard the defences of our ports. Fortunately, therefore, with Japan’s entry into hostilities, we were well prepared for any such event. The completeness of those preparations was made apparent to the enemy in its attack on shipping in Sydney Harbour. It must be recognized that the form of attack was difficult to counter. The enemy used midget submarines, which are able to make an entry through channels denied to a larger ship. Furthermore, as midget submarines carry only two men and are built for the definite object of destruction, including self-destruction, no consideration is given by the enemy to their subsequent fate. Those in control of such vessels can afford to concentrate on their one objective, regardless of the consequences to themselves. That the attempt by such midget craft to enter Sydney Harbour in the middle of the night was instantly detected, and that the counter measures were so prompt and so effective, reflects credit on those responsible for the harbour defences, and should prove both a disappointment and a deterrent to our enemies.
The first alarm was given by a patrol vessel at Sydney Heads shortly before 10 o’clock on Sunday night. Before 10.30 o’clock the submarine, which had been attempting to penetrate the outer harbour defences, had been destroyed before entering the harbour. It was sunk, and divers have since located the wreck on the sea floor. Meanwhile, the alarm having been given, patrol vessels and warships in the harbour were on the alert, and two enemy submarines which succeeded in entering the harbour were quickly dealt with. At about midnight, one of them succeeded in firing two torpedoes in the harbour. One torpedo sank the naval depot ship previously referred to; the other ran harmlessly ashore and failed to explode. These were the only torpedoes that the enemy succeeded in firing. Of these two submarines, one was sunk in the harbour, and it has been located on the bottom by divers. A full examination of the submarine will be made. The third submarine, though its wreckage has not yet been located, has undoubtedly shared the fate of its companions. The search for it is being continued. Obviously, it is not desirable that I should describe the defence measures adopted. In the destruction of the enemy submarines, gun-fire and depth-charges played a part, but of the other measures, such as the means taken to ensure detection of the enemy’s presence, I cannot speak. I can say, however, that those measures, as Sunday night’s events show, are effective and# are ably administered. They will continue to -function effectively, so that any subsequent attempt which the enemy may make will be dealt with as successfully as was its abortive effort on Sunday night.
Apart from the losses to personnel, we have good grounds for satisfaction with the results achieved. The enemy, on the contrary, failed ; the measure of our success i3 that of his disappointment. The Senate and the Naval Board express their sincere sympathy with the nextofkin of those who lost their life.
– In order to arouse the people and induce them to take a more active interest in the things that really matter, will the Leader, of the Senate state what action the Government proposes to take with regard to the coal -miners who are on strike to-day, and also with regard to the trade unionists connected with the meat industry in New South Wales*
– The answer to the honorable senator’s question is “ No “.
– by leave - I move -
That two weeks’ leave of absence be granted to Senator Herbert Hays on account of ill health.
The request for leave of absence has been made by the honorable senator on medical advice.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– In view of the fact that a minimum price has been fixed for next year’s crop of potatoes, will the Minister assisting the Minister for Commerce state whether a maximum price will also be fixed, and, if so, what the maximum price will be?
– The matter of fixing a maximum price for potatoes is under consideration.
Enemy Raids Precautions
– As the enemy raids precautions warning sirens are now blowing, do you not think, Mr. President, that the Senate should set an example to the citizens of Canberra by complying with the printed notices exhibited throughout the building setting out the procedure to be followed in such circum-stn.ii ccs ?
The ‘ PRESIDENT.- I have been advised that the sirens are blowing to-day only for testing purposes and in order to familiarize citizens of Canberra with their sound.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Security, upon notice -
-S.- The Minister for Home Security has supplied the following answers : -
SenatorCOOPER asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Security, upon notice -
– The Minister for Home Security has supplied the following answers: -
asked the Minister assisting the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
SenatorFRASER.- The Minister for Commerce has supplied the following answers -
Casetimber - State Committees
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
Will the Minister make arrangements with the Apple and Pear Board to commence cutting case timber at once so as to ensure an adequate supply of timber for next season’s crop ?
– The Minister for Commercehas supplied the following answer : -
The Apple and Pear Marketing Board has brought under my notice the need for early action to ensure supplies of cases for the 1943 apple and pear crop and the matter is at present under consideration.
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Commerce, upon notice -
Will the Minister make appointments to the boards and committees under the apple and pear acquisition scheme early in October each year, so as to provide adequate time for planning the disposal of the crop?
SenatorFRASER. - The Minister for Commercehas supplied the following answer : -
The members of the Apple and Pear Marketing Board and State committees hold office during the pleasure of the Minister and it is not necessary under the regulations to make new appointments each year.
Message received from the House of Representatives intimating that it had agreed to the amendment made by the Senate in this bill.
Bill returned from House ofRepresentatives with a message intimating that it had made the amendments requested by the Senate.
Bill (on motion by SenatorKeane) read a third time.
Bill received from the House ofRepresentatives.
Motion (by SenatorCollings) proposed -
That so much of the Standing and Sessional Orders be suspended as would prevent the bill being passed through all its stages without delay.
– I wish to indicate to the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) that the Opposition views this bill and its three cognate measures as the most important that have been introduced in the Senate for a number of years. We are prepared to allow the Minister in charge of the bills to make his second-reading speech on each measure, provided that the Opposition be given the adjournment of each debate until to-morrow. I suggest that the Senate might meet at 11 o’clock tomorrow morning. If the Government does not agree to our request, we shall vote against this motion. I know that the Government is anxious to conclude the session on Thursday. Having in mind the business to be dealt with in the House of Representatives, I feel sure that if the Senate meets to-morrow morning, as we suggest, we shall be able to conclude at least by Friday
– Our necessity at the moment is to pass these bills through this chamber. The suggestion that the Opposition requires time to consider these bills is senseless, inasmuch as each of them has been thoroughly debated in the House of Representatives, and thoroughly canvassed in the press. All I can say is that if any honorable senator has not made himself fully acquainted with these measures, he has not been very keen on his job. However, I am anxious to avoid friction regarding a matter of procedure, and I. am not only anxious but also determined that the session be concluded on Friday evening. Therefore, whilst I do not recognize the need for it, I agree to the suggestion made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay).
– I am afraid that the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) does not quite comprehend the request made by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay). It is that the Opposition will agree to this motion provided that only the second-reading speech of the Minister in charge of each of these four measures be taken at this juncture, and the Opposition given the adjourn ment of the debate on each measure until to-morrow.
– I have agreed to do that.
Question resolved in the affirmative. Bill (on motion by Senator Keane) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
Since the outbreak of war the Commonwealth has been confronted with the task of complete mobilization of the resources of the nation to withstand the armed might of the enemy. The extent of its financial obligations is ever increasing. The war expenditure during the last three financial years totalled £515,000,000. It is anticipated that next financial year the Government will be required to find the colossal sum of £360,000,000, almost £1,000,000 a day, for expenditure on war needs. In the present emergency, the Government believes that it must have available to it the maximum taxable capacity of the nation. The whole of the taxable field is not available to the Commonwealth while State taxes are levied upon incomes at various levels. A single income tax imposed to raise sufficient revenue for the requirements of both Commonwealth and States would enable the Government to demand equality of sacrifice from all persons who share equality of citizenship.
Commonwealth expenditure in the manufacture of munitions of war and on the many services utilized for war purposes has created a wave of economic prosperity throughout the States and- has enlarged the field of income available for taxation. The increased taxable capacity created by the Commonwealth’s war expenditure has considerably increased the revenue of the States and has absorbed their unemployed. The result is, therefore, that whilst the obligations of the Commonwealth have multiplied the obligations of the States have diminished. The Government takes the definite view that the increased national income should be used solely for national defence. The purpose of this bill is to provide the machinery for the establishment of a single income tax authority which will make available to the Commonweallth for taxation, the increased field of income resulting from war expenditure. It will also eliminate those disparities in the weight of the combined Commonwealth and State income taxes on the tax-paying community in the States. During the past twelve months the Commonwealth has made two serious attempts to eliminate the competition between Commonwealth and State Governments in the income tax field and to remove those disparities. On both occasions, its proposals were rejected, the States claiming that they represented an invasion of State rights. No acceptable alternatives were put forward and the attitude of the States indicated that despite the state of emergency they were not prepared to overlook temporarily those State rights in the interest of the nation as a whole.
The differing rates of Commonwealth and State taxes form a tangled skein of figures which prove a veritable nightmare to any Commonwealth Treasurer in the preparation of a. budget calling for additional revenue. The position has become so serious that strong and definite action is required. Nothing short of complete control by the Commonwealth during the war will meet the huge demands that have to be faced. The present serious crisis demands that every benefit which one section of the community has over the other must be surrendered in the interests of total war. The sovereign rights of States must be regarded as secondary to the sovereign l ights of the people. The Commonwealth Government is faced with the full responsibility of protecting Australia from invasion and of producing all the munitions of war for that purpose. It is essential in the performance of that task that the full resources of the nation in finance, man-power and materials must be completely at its disposal.
The Government accordingly decided to appoint a special committee to devise the best means of overcoming these taxation complexities. The three members of the committee were Professor R. C. Mills, who occupies the Chair of Economics at the Sydney University and is chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the right honorable member for Yarra (Mr. Scullin), a former Prime Minister and Treasurer, with a wide political knowledge of the incidence of income tax, and the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Spooner), who was formerly Acting Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer in New South Wales, and was associated with the uniform taxation legislation as a representative of that State following upon the royal commission’s report of 1932-34. A committee of finer calibre or of broader view for the task confronting it could not have been found in the whole of Australia. The committee examined the problem from every angle and came to the conclusion that its solution was to be found only in a uniform income tax for the whole of the Commonwealth. The Government has decided to adopt the recommendations of the committee with a view to bringing about one income tax authority for the duration of the war and one year thereafter. To achieve this object the States Grants (Income Tax Reimbursement) Bill 1942 and a bill for the amendment of the Income Tax Assessment Act will be introduced. A bill to impose the rates of taxation required will follow these measures. These four bills are being introduced separately, but honorable senators will appreciate the desirability of debating them as one measure.
The basis of the plan is that only one income tax will be collected and that collection will be made by the Commonwealth. The principal features of the scheme are, first, the imposition of a tax that will embrace Commonwealth and State income taxes ; secondly, that those States vacating the income tax field will be compensated by the Commonwealth; and, thirdly, that the taxation staffs, offices and equipment of the States will be taken over by the Commonwealth for the period during which the plan is to operate. It is to give effect to this third part of the plan that this bill, the Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Bill, is being introduced. This measure proposes to make available to the Commonwealth the 1 trained staff, office accommodation and equipment at present used by the States for the purpose of collecting income tax. The adoption of these proposals is essential to the success of the plan.
Nothing less than the maximum yield from the income tax field can be tolerated in these critical times. With the heavy tax imposts required it is more than ever necessary that taxpayers’ contributions to the revenue should be measured by their ability to pay. The existing rate of Commonwealth income tax could not be maintained equitably whilst the State income taxes continue, because in some cases the total taxes payable amount to more than 20s. in the £1. The existing Commonwealth law provides some relief from this position by allowing a proportionate rebate of tax in any case where the combined rate of Commonwealth and State taxes exceeds 18s. in the £1. To make the rebate fully effective it was necessary for the States to cooperate with the Commonwealth by providing their proportion of the rebate to the taxpayer. However, up to the present only one State has legislated to allow the rebate. The introduction of a single uniform income tax will remove all difficulties such as these, besetting both governments and taxpayers. The plan merits the support of this Senate, and all sections of the community, because of the relief it will afford from the taxation complexities that commerce and industry and the taxpaying public generally have to face at present. The plan is to be commended for the measure of assistance that it will render to Commonwealth finance. Admittedly, some sections of the community will be required to pay more, but in doing so the payments will be brought to the level of the amounts paid by taxpayers generally, thus spreading the burden equitably throughout the community. Every taxpayer in the Commonwealth will pay only one income tax instead of several as is paid by some at present. Taxable income will be determined on one common basis and the amount of tax payable on a given taxable income will be the same in all States.
The measure of simplicity which the Government’s plan will achieve must appeal to honorable senators. The plan will enable the taxation administrators to employ more efficiently the man-power < their disposal, thereby releasing considerable numbers for service with the forces or in war departments. Correspondingly, man-power employed by taxpayers in connexion with their taxation affairs will be released for avenues of employment associated with the war effort. This bill preserves the existing and accruing rights of members of the State income tax staffs, who will be transferred temporarily to the service of the Commonwealth. It provides for the payment to the States of adequate rental for accommodation, furniture and equipment which will be used by the Commonwealth. Records which relate to Commonwealth income tax and which are in the possession of the States will be transferred to the possession of the Commonwealth. As these records also relate to State income tax, authorized officers of the State will be given all reasonable access to them. The reform introduced by this and the succeeding taxation bills fulfils a long-felt want, and I am confident that it will receive the approval of the Senate and of all sections of the community.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Keane) read a first time.
.- I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
As I explained to honorable senators when moving the second reading of the Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Bill, the plan formulated by the Government for the establishment of a single income tax authority will require the passage of four bills. The purpose of this bill, which is one of four measures, is to authorize grants of financial assistance to those States which cooperate with the Commonwealth by refraining from imposing an income tax. The grants are designed to reimburse those States for the loss of revenue they will suffer if State income tax is not imposed. The grant which it is proposed to pay to each State, if it co-operates with the Commonwealth, is set out in the schedule to the bill. An adjustment will, however, be made in respect of any arrears which may be collected by the States. Any such arrears will be deducted from the amounts set out in the schedule. The amounts of compensation to the States have been fixed on the basis recommended by the special taxation committee.
The committee considered various proposals and reached the conclusion that the most equitable basis for compensation to the States would be to pay to each State concerned the approximate average of its income tax collections during the financial years 1939-40 and 1940-41, less the saving to the State in administration costs brought about by the establishment of a uniform single taxing authority. The Government, in taking those two years as a basis, considers that the Commonwealth is extending generous treatment to the States. The State income tax revenue of the two years in question has received the benefit of the increase in the national income brought about by Commonwealth war expenditure. The grants provided to each State are set out in the schedule and are as follows : -
The grants recommended by the committee were slightly different. For New South Wales, the grant recommended by the committee has been reduced by £427,000; for Victoria, by £30,000; and for South Australia, by £8,000. These reductions represent the estimated savings to those States which will flow from the introduction by the Commonwealth of a widows’ pensions scheme. For Western Australia, the grant recommended by the committee has been increased by £23,000, as it was found upon re-examination of the matter that the saving in that State’s administrative costs would be £23,000 less than the amount which had been estimated at the time the committee prepared its report. In the case of Tasmania, the grant recommended by the committee has been increased by £77,000. This increase is the result of the adoption by the Government of a recommendation of the Commonwealth Grants Commission to which an application for an increased grant was submitted by the Government of Tasmania. The bill contains a provision whereby the grant to any State may be increased upon the recommendation of the commission. Such a provision will meet the circumstances of any State whose revenue requirements may be increased owing to some inescapable increase of its expenditure. In addition to the grants set out in the schedule, the bill provides for further financial assistance to be paid to the States concerned. The amounts of these further grants will be equal to the amounts collected by the States in respect of their income tax arrears during the period of the operation of this measure. It is proposed that these further grants will be paid to the States with interest at the termination of the uniform tax plan.
Honorable senators will appreciate that the revenue collections of any year normally include a substantial amount represented by arrears of previous years’ taxes. The proposal to pay this further financial assistance will ensure that the States will receive in the first year in which they again impose income tax, an amount to compensate for the arrears they normally would have collected in that year. Honorable senators may consider that the compensation to the States should be on a per capita basis. Although the needs of the Commonwealth for defence are paramount, the Government recognizes that its plan for a single income tax authority should interfere as little as possible with State finance. The basis of compensation proposed will give to each of the States the same amount of revenue it now enjoys. A per capita basis of compensation would leave the revenue of some States seriously short whilst other States would receive a surplus which they would not require.
The Government introduces this bill a-s an integral part of its uniform income tax plan. In bringing this plan forward, the Government is convinced that it will receive the overwhelming support of the nation as the only means of devoting the resources of the nation to the defence of the nation’s resources. It, accordingly, submits the bill to honorable senators with every confidence that it will receive similar support in this chamber.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Bill received from House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Keane) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This bill is also part of the Government’s proposals for the establishment of a uniform income tax plan that will secure to the Commonwealth full access to the income tax field. This will enable the maximum, amount of this form of revenue to be made available to the Commonwealth for the efficient prosecution of the present war. Its particular purpose is to give effect to the Government’s decision to adopt those recommendations of the special committee which require to be embodied in the Income Tax Assessment Act. The principal feature of the bill is the change proposed to be made in the concessional allowance for spouse, children, dependent mother, life assurance, superannuation, medical and funeral expenses, gifts, and rates and taxes paid on non-income producing property. Under the existing law, these concessions are made by way of deductions from assessable income for ordinary income tax purposes. For war tax purposes, however, the concessions in respect of spouse, children and dependent mother take the form of rebates of tax. In a uniform income tax, it is necessary to adopt either one principle or the other f or application to all of the concessional allowances. After considering this question at considerable length the special committee recommended that the concessions should take the form of rebates of tax. After a thorough examination of the varying concessional allowances provided for in the various Commonwealth and State income tax: laws, the committee also recommended that these rebates be based upon amounts which, broadly speaking, will preserve to taxpayers, approximately^ the same tax concessions in respect of dependants as they have received under the multiple taxing system. In the bill now before the chamber, the Government proposes that these particular recommendations of the committee be adopted.
Clause 23 of the bill provides that a . rebate of tax, calculated at the personal exertion rate appropriate to the taxable income of the taxpayer, be allowed in respect of a spouse, children and dependent mother of the taxpayer, as well as gifts, medical and funeral expenses, life assurance, superannuation and rates, and land tay paid on non-income producing property. As regards dependants’ allowances it is proposed that the rebates shall be based on £100 for a spouse or female relative, £100 for the dependent mother of the taxpayer, £75 for one child under sixteen years, and £30 for each other child. Where, however, the taxable income is between £200 and £300 the concessional allowance for a spouse or female relative will vary from £100 to £125 according to the size of the taxable income. It is further provided that the amounts on which rebates for medical expenses, funeral expenses and life assurance and superannuation are to be based, shall be limited to £50, £20 and £100 respectively, as at present. It is also proposed that the rebate of tax allowed for a spouse or female relative, dependent mother and one child, respectively, shall not exceed £45 for each such dependant. It is also provided that the rebate of tax for each child in excess of one shall not exceed £5. A further provision is that the sum of all the rebates to which the taxpayer is entitled in his assessment shall not exceed the tax otherwise payable by him. The object of this provision is to ensure that the total amount of the rebate shall be sufficient only to cause the taxpayer not to be liable to pay tax. Any balance of the rebate over the tax calculated will not be paid to the taxpayer.
It is proposed by clause 5 that the pay and allowances earned in Australia by members of the forces of the allied nations shall be exempt from the uniform tax, if the payments are not made by the Commonwealth. It is also proposed by clause 5 to exempt the remuneration earned in Australia by those persons who visit Australia primarily and principally for the purpose of assisting the Commonwealth Government in the defence of Australia. Such an exemption will apply mainly to the remuneration of visiting civilian personnel of British, American and other allied nations from occupations carried on by them in Australia in connexion with the defence of Australia.
Several clauses in the bill relate to the assessment of mutual life assurance companies, and the mutual incomes of partly mutual companies. In regard to these companies, the problem that confronted the special committee was to establish a common basis of assessment that would produce an amount of tax substantially the same as that paid at present by these companies to the Commonwealth and the States. To solve this problem, the committee recommended the withdrawal of the special deduction of 4 per cent, of calculated liabilities, at present allowed to life assurance companies, and the assessment of the companies at a concessional rate of tax of Is. 6d. in the £1, instead of the proposed company rate of 6s. in the £1. On behalf of the life assurance companies, however, representations were made to the -Government that the principle of the special deduction based upon the amount of calculated liabilities should be retained, but that the percentage should be reduced from 4 per cent, to 3 per cent., and that the rate of tax upon income derived from mutual business be fixed at 5s. in the £1. The proposal submitted by the life assurance companies is estimated to yield approximately the same amount of revenue as that which would have been obtained under the committee’s proposals. Tn the circumstances the -Government has decided to adopt the suggestions of the companies’ representatives. As time did not permit of a thorough examination of the situation, the Government has intimated to the companies concerned that it is proposed to examine further the position during the next financial year and to make any amendments that may be justified in the light of that further examination.
By clause 8 of - the bill it is proposed to withdraw the deduction at present allowed for State and territorial income taxes. Taxes paid on incomes derived during the year ended the 30th June, 1941, will, therefore, not be allowable deductions from income of the years ended the 30th June, 1942, onwards. Under the scheme of uniform income tax, State and territorial income taxes will not be imposed, so the need for the provision allowing such taxes as a deduction will disappear. However, with regard to State and territorial income taxes paid after the 30th June, 1941, in respect of earlier financial years, it is proposed that amounts paid before the 1st July, 1944, on incomes derived during the years ended the 30th June, 1938, 1939 and 194’0, respectively, shall be deducted from the income of the year ended the 30th June, 1941. Honorable senators will agree that this provision will meet all normal cases of delay, and will accord equitable treatment to those taxpayers whose liability for these taxes had not been determined by the 30th June, 1941. Another important provision is the proposal to allow a rebate of 2s. in the £1 in respect of interest which is subject to full Commonwealth rates of tax derived by taxpayers £rom Commonwealth Government, State government and semi-government securities which were issued under conditions that guaranteed exemption from State income tax.
The rates of the uniform tax are designed on the basis that the yield will approximate the present Commonwealth and State taxes. If special provision were not made in respect of the loan interest that is at present free from State income tax, the value of the concession would be lost to the bondholder. The committee, after investigating the matter, has recommended a rebate of 2s. in the £1 on the amount of such interest included in the taxable income, as adequate compensation. to the taxpayers concerned, both individuals and companies. The rebate will not be allowable on Commonwealth loan interest which is subject to sub-section 2 of section 20 of the Commonwealth Debt Conversion Act 1931, or section 52b of the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Act 1911-1940. That interest, as honorable senators are aware, is, in effect, taxed at the 1930-31 rates of tax, and there will be no additional tax on that interest in consequence of the proposed uniform rates of tax.
By clause 30 of the bill, it is proposed that payment of Commonwealth income tax shall have priority over payment of State income tax. All taxpayers and all trustees, liquidators, &c, will be obliged to observe this priority. A provision of this nature is required to establish an effective uniform taxing system. The other provisions of the bill are mainly drafting amendments.
This measure is an essential part of the plan to establish a system of uniform taxation for the purpose of raising the maximum amount of revenue for the effective prosecution of the war, and to remove anomalies in the income tax legislation of the Commonwealth and the States.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Bill received from the House of Representatives.
Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.
Bill (on motion by Senator Keane) read a first time.
– I move -
That the bill be now read a second time.
This is the last of the four bills designed to establish a uniform income tax throughout the Commonwealth. The ‘bill imposes rates of income tax based on the recommendations of the special committee on taxation, and these rates are estimated to yield approximately the same amount of revenue as is collected under the present Commonwealth and State income tax systems. The general effect of the proposed rates, coupled with the amendments to the Income Tax Assessment Act, will be that only those persons at present liable to Commonwealth income tax will continue to be subject to tax under the uniform income tax plan. Incomes below the present Commonwealth minimum of £156 will not be brought within the scope of the uniform tax. The estimated . yield from the new scale of rates, based on 1940-41 incomes, is £129,000,000, which will approximate the yield of Commonwealth and State income taxes on these incomes. Additional war expenditure will, however, substantially increase incomes in 1941-42, and the increased revenue which, under the uniform income tax plan, will accrue wholly to the Commonwealth has been tentatively estimated at £12,000,000 to £15,000,000.
The tables which have been prepared and circulated amongst honorable senators compare the amounts of tax that will be payable under the proposed uniform taxing plan with those payable at present to the Commonwealth and the States. A study of the tables will provide a clearer understanding of the incidence of the proposed rates than any explanation that I might attempt. It may be stated, however, that on income from personal exertion the rate commences at 8d. in the £3 and increases to 12s. and 4.445d. in the £] when the taxable income reaches £4,000. For every £1 in excess of £4,000 the rate of tax is 18s. in the £1. The rates of tax on incomes from property are, as formerly, 25 per cent, greater than the personal, exertion rates on taxable incomes up to £2,100. Where the taxable income exceeds £2,100, the rate of tax is 10s. and 4.7619d. in the £1 on the first £2,100 and 18s. in the £1 for every £1 in excess of £2,100.
As incomes of £156 and under will no’, be liable to tax under this bill, provision has been made to ensure that there will be no abrupt increase of the tax liability on incomes slightly above £156. This provision is made by limiting the amount of tax payable to one-half of the amount by -which the taxable income exceeds £156.
With regard to the rate of tax payable by companies, the Government proposes that the rate be increased from 4s. to 6s. in the £1. No alteration is being made in the rate of super tax payable on that part of the taxable income of a company which exceeds £5,000, or in the rate of tax payable on the undistributed profits of public companies. These rates remain at Is. and 2s. in the £1 respectively. In the course of my speech on the Income Tax Assessment Bill I stated with regard to the incomes of mutual life assurance companies, and the mutual income of partly mutual companies, that a special rate of 5s. in the £1 was being imposed on those incomes. Provision to give effect to that proposal is contained in this bill. The other provisions in the bill do not call for special explanation as generally speaking they will be a re-enactment of similar provisions that have been embodied in taxing bills for many years past. It will be obvious to every honorable senator that, short of the measures proposed by this Government, it is impossible to strike a satisfactory and equitable Commonwealth rate of tax while the present varying rates of State income tax remain. For these reasons alone the single uniform income tax plan deserves the whole-hearted support of honorable senators.
Debate (on motion by Senator McLeay) adjourned.
Motion (by Senator Collings) agreed to -
That the Senate, at its rising, adjourn to to-morrow, at 11 a.m.
Apples fob TROOPS - Search fob Oil - Newspaper Reflections on the Senate - Commonwealth Finance: - Private Homes Acquired by Service Departments - Commonwealth Banking Policy.
Motion (by Senator Collings) proposed -
That the Senate do now adjourn.
– On the 13 th May Senator Lamp asked a question, without notice, concerning the distribution of apples to the troops in Tasmania. I now inform the honorable senator that the military authorities in Tasmania will be able to distribute to the troops in that State such quantities as can be made available by the Apple and Pear Board, insofar as transport facilities will permit collection at packing sheds within reasonable distance of points where distribution to troops can be effected. As the transport of apples from Tasmania to the mainland is not practicable the distribution of Tasmanian apples must be confined to Tasmania.
On the 5th March, Senator Arthur asked the following questions : -
I now desire to inform the honorable senator that the Minister for Supply and Development (Mr. Beasley) has made the following answers available: -
An arrangement between the .Commonwealth and Victorian Governments, to carry out a joint scout drilling programme in Victoria, has been in existence for some years, each Government paying half the cost of work done under the scheme.
– This afternoon, you, sir, read a statement in which you said you hoped that all honorable senators would concur. I do not concur in it, because I consider that the penalty imposed on the Sydney Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph and their representatives to be too drastic.
– It is not drastic enough.
– There are circumstances surrounding the decision of which honorable senators generally may not be aware. The article to which exception has been taken was written by a gentleman who, perhaps, is a free lance. Nevertheless, the newspaper which published it is to be penalized, in that all its representatives are to be excluded from certain portions of this building. I have no desire to criticize the individual who wrote the article.
– He showed a shocking lack of good taste.
– I am dealing with the principle of the action taken against the newspapers, and with the fairness, or otherwise, of the penalty imposed. Surely I am entitled to say whether I concur in any action taken by the Senate. I shall not agree in any circumstances to suppressive measures being taken against a newspaper simply because it has voiced certain criticisms. I have been criticized by the press just as severely as any other Minister in this chamber. I dissent from the action taken by the President; and T am now en deavouring to enlighten honorable senators on the circumstances surrounding this matter. When the President announced the drastic penalty he had inflicted upon the representatives of these newspapers he did not explain that one individual was responsible for the article. However, he has penalized the newspapers.
– The newspaper which published the article is responsible.
– To a degree, yes ; but I do not think that the action taken is justified. This matter should have been dealt with by the Senate. I recall that not so very long ago a responsible member of the House of Representatives referred to the Senate as a place fit only for women, and added that it was a place where old men drowse in their beards. No exception was taken to that statement. Does any honorable senator say that that was not as serious a reflection on this chamber as the newspaper article now complained of? No action was taken against the honorable member who made that statement. In my opinion this matter should have been raised in the House of Representatives; because it is generally recognized that Mr. Speaker can deal more effectively with any individual who incurs the censure of Parliament. However, there is really nothing in the article complained of to which serious exception can be taken. The article states -
Other senators, like the straight able Victorian John Spicer . . .
Surely, Senator Spicer does not take exception to that remark. The article continues -
That’s Senator Joseph Silver Collings on his right hand, the Government Leader, a distinguished figure with his silver hair and beard. Beside him i.s Falstaffian Dick Keane. who became a dictator of Australian economic life this week.
Opposite is Senator George McLeay. theOpposition Leader, red-faced and bespectacled. . . . On his left side sits sad, black-haired Phillip Albert McBride, with the itchiest now in the Senate.
Is there anything to complain about in tho.°e comments ? I repeat that the penalty imposed upon the newspaper is too severe. I ask that it. be modified.
tor expressing his personal views on this matter; but I agree entirely with the action which you have taken, Mr. President. Evidently, the article from which the PostmasterGeneral has read extracts is not the article that I read in the Sunday Telegraph reflecting on the Senate. After reading the article to which I take- exception, 1 have no doubt that it was deliberately written with the object of belittling, not only the Senate, but also democracy as represented by this chamber. It was designed, not only to belittle democracy, but also to advocate the substitution of fascism for democracy. It belittled the intelligence and ability, as well as the appearance, of men who have been chosen by the people to represent, them in the highest legislative assembly in this country. -Criticism of our appearance does not matter; but criticism of our intelligence and ability is in a different category. For instance, if the opportunity offers, this little skit will be used in enemy countries as propaganda against our democratic system of government. It will be quoted as the opinion of a leading newspaper of democracy in Australia. The newspaper is itself responsible for everything it prints, regardless of the authorship of any article appearing in its columns. The penalty which yon have imposed upon this newspaper, sir, is not too drastic. You have made a fair offer to the editor of that newspaper. I sincerely hope that equally drastic action will be taken against any newspaper which commits a similar offence in the future.
– The greater part of this short session has been taken up in the consideration of money bills which we are to deal with more fully to-morrow. For some years I have been trying to convey to honorable senators certain principles of finance. I find that, in this respect I am supported by no less an authority than the Loudon Times. In its issue of the 25th March last, it published the following statements: -
THE MOX.1JY FACTOR.
In war-time the only limits on production are those set by the ava.ila.ble man-power and raw material?. It is financed by credits which. although they arc; issued by the banks in the form of loans!, are really national credit owing their value not to any stocks of bullion held by the banks, but to the rapacity of the country to provide the goods mid services for which its currency constitutes a claim. We should, it is argued, avoid nightmares of depression and unemployment if we frankly adopted this principle in peace as well as in war, and made the consequential changes in our financial system.
In his World Ovinia Mr. ‘Churchill ‘ha3 described the situation at the end of the last war and the sudden change which occurred at 11 o’clock on November 11, 1918: -
A requisition, for instance, for half-a-million houses would not have seemed more difficult to comply with than those we were already in process of executing for 100,000 aeroplanes, or 20,000 guns, or the medium artillery of the American. Army, ov 2,000.000 tons of projectiles. But a new -set of conditions began to rule from 11 o’clock onwards. The money cost, which had never been considered by us to be a factor capable of limiting the supply of the armies, asserted a claim to priority from the moment the fighting stopped.
This reversion to the traditional money criterion us a limit on production and employment for which the real resources of organization, labour, and capital equipment were available in plenty was possibly the master blunder, from which have flowed in inevitable sequence all the frustrations and’ miseries of the past twenty years. We are not likely to solve our post-war problems unless we make up our minds to treat money as a bookkeeping technique to facilitate the production and exchange of goods and. services, not as something the supply of which sets a fixed upper limit to our productive activities. It plays much the same part in economic life as railway tickets play in transportation. It is dishonesty, akin to inflation, to issue tickets for more trains than can be run. It is absurd to cut down the railway service because the ticket office has run short of tickets.
The portion of the article that I have quoted proves the soundness of the system I have been advocating inside and outside this chamber. I shall now quote an ex- . tract from another article which appeared in the London Times of the 24th March, 1942-
By the agreement signed on 23rd February, the British and American Governments have laid down the principles which are to govern their future economic policy in pursuit of the objectives set out in the Atlantic Charter: “Improved labour standards, economic advancement and social security “.” it is impossible under the present monetary system to improve social conditions. We must deal with finance as it is. The statement ha3 been made that the nations which signed the Atlantic Charter will go back to the gold standard. In my judgment a return to the gold standard would have a most disastrous effect. Factories in Birmingham, Manchester and other large cities of England were closed as a result of the Bank of England bringing about a depression in 1932. Shipyards and factories are still closed and if they were now in operation they would be of tremendous help to Great Britain in the present war. There is substance in the statement that the banks can, at any time they choose, monetize the money wealth of the nation. We in Australia are particularly fortunate that we have the Commonwealth Bank. In Great Britain there is only one bank controlling the finance of the nation - the Bank of England - and it is a private bank. The Commonwealth Government has promulgated a regulation which prevents private banks from advancing money to clients for the purchase of Government bonds. Only three methods are available for dealing with the present financial position. One is higher taxes, another is borrowing and the third is the use of national credit. The Commonwealth Government needs money and it proposes to raise an additional £12,000,000 a year by direct taxation under the uniform tax system. In view of the fact that the Commonwealth is spending nearly £1,000,000 a day on- the war, £12,000,000 would finance the war for only twelve days. There is only one way to prevent this country from drifting to political ruin; the system is crumbling and the only means being taken by the Government to meet the crisis is higher taxes and borrowing. I think that the Atlantic Charter is a scheme of high finance. If this country is to progress, a changed method of finance must be adopted, but recommendations as to the changes have not been acceptable to our governments. For example, the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Monetary and Banking Systems have not been given effect by any government in Australia. To meet the tremendous costs of the war, we need a new orientation of thought on finance. We are living under the most unorthodox condition of finance that the world has ever known, and many honorable senators still think that the old conservative ideas to which they have adhered for so many years will see us through. They will not provide the remedy. I shall not discuss the subject further to-night, because J intend to speak on it when the four uniform taxation bills are debated tomorrow.
– A few weeks ago, I asked a question in this chamber concerning privately owned houses that had been taken over for military and other personnel of the defence forces, and I requested that some finality should be reached between the Government and the people whose hornet bad been taken over. I shall now read a letter which is typical of many cases. It was written to me on the 6th May last by Mr. A. E. Lawrence, manager of Broadcasting Station 4TO, Townsville -
On the 24th March, I contacted Captain Hogan, of the Townsville Northern Command Head-qua i ters, who was at that time dealing with the rental of homes, and, together with Captain Long, of the United States of America Army, they inspected my home at 94 Mitchellstreet. They were quite satisfied with the place and stated they wanted to take it as it was furnished, as it was for a lieutenantcolonel and his officers. Captain Long, of the United States of America, told me to set out the details of the house and furniture and quote the rental price in a letter to Captain Hogan, addressing the letter to the Rental of Homes Department, and the matter would be dealt with. They then gave me 24 hours’ notice to get out of the house as they desired to move in the next day. This I arranged for them to do, and they took possession on the 26th March. On the 20th March, I forwarded the attached letter and statement to the Northern Command, as requested, and expected to hear some acknowledgment at least. However, after waiting over a month with no acknowledgment and no word from the department, and also no rent, I thought it high time I took some action. I decided to give them a little longer to come to light, and finally, ou the 29th April, I rang Mr. Hogan. I was informed that he was no longer handling the matter, but a Captain Pluckrose was the person to see. I got in touch with Captain Pluckrose, and he had never heard of the matter, and did not even know that a letter had been written or that the house had been taken over. There must be some hopeless mismanagement somewhere when the people taking over the houses do not even know whether they have taken over a house or not, and have no record of the matter.
T immediately produced for ‘him a carbon copy of the original letter, which is attached to this, so that there would be no further delay in coming to a proper settlement, and he has promised to deal with the matter.
However, there must be something wrong with the handling of the rental of these homes, as other people are very bitter about the matter.
A lieutenant-colonel and a number of officers have been in my house now since the 25th March, which makes it six weeks, and no renthas been received by me, and 1 have not even received any communication in regard to the. matter. There is £.16 10s. at present owing in rent. In the meantime,I am obliged to keep up the instalments on the house, refrigerator, electric stove, and pay rates and taxes as well as pay for my own board and lodgings whilst out of my home.
Prior to that, on the 26th March, Mr. Lawrence wrote to Head-quarters, Northern Command, Townsville, as follows : -
Following verbal contact with your Captain Long, of the United States of America Army, and Flight Lieutenant Hogan, relative to the letting of my home furnished to officers of the United States of America Army, I now submit an estimate of the rental, and a statement covering the purchase price of the house, furniture, &c. The house is a substantially built modern residence in one of the best positions in Townsville, and was only completed in August, 1940. It is completely all electric, including stove, refrigerator, copper and is wired for hot and cold water, also plumbed for hot and cold water, but owing to the war the electrical unit for same was unprocurable, and therefore the hot portion of the water service does not operate. The bathroom is one of the most up to date in Townsville, possessing modern plunge bath, separate shower compartment and done out in green and cream colour scheme with black facings and nickel fittings. The house is much superior to workers’ dwelling specifications, and is cyclone-proof and bird-proof, and fully lined.
My present commitments on the house, which include instalments on house, perpetual lease rental, rates and taxes, insurance, instalments on stove and refrigerator, amount to£2 13s. 6d. per week exactly, and I find that working out on a basis of 10 per cent. on the value of theproperty, and the furniture, I have arrived at a figure of £2 15s. 4d. per week, which is acceptable to me and does not place me out of pocket.
I am still obliged to board, and also to garage my car, but as far as you are concerned, the £2 15s. 4d. compensates me satisfactorily from the point of view of the house. I attach hereto a statement of the capita] cost, and can show receipts for all items with the exception of the ferns, and some items ofthe furniture which have been purchased item by item at different times. I trust this willbe of assistance to you. If I can be of any further help, kindly Ting me. Re the payment. I would prefer a cheque monthly if convenient to you.
On the 25th of May, I wrote to Mr. Lawrence asking if he had received full payment, and this morning I received the following reply, written on the 26th May: -
In reply to your letter of 25th May, I regret to advise you that any developments which may have taken place since I last wrote, have not resulted in any improvement in the position. So far I do not know of any person who has so far received any payment of rental for their homes, and all I have spoken to have not even been interviewed with in this connexion.
As far as I am personally concerned, I have not received any rent to date for either the house or the furniture, nor have I received any communication from the Department of the Army who deal with this matter. The house was occupied by American officers on the 25th March. Previous to occupying an undertaking was given by Captain Long of the United States of America and Flight
Lieutenant Hogan of the Royal Australian Air Force that they would take the house and the furniture, and requested me to furnish a letter to the department setting out the capital cost and assessing a rental on the basis of 10 per cent. This letter confirming the agreement was despatched the next morning legalizing the matter. After some six weeks, I made inquiries at the department in charge of Captain Pluckrose, but they were unable to give me any information on the mutter, so I subsequently furnished them with » copy of the original letter. Since then 1 have received nothing from them, and decided to contact you with the pleasing result of getting immediate and sustained attention.
Whilst I. appreciate the urgency of billet- . ing soldiers and was willing to vacate the house for them, I am not prepared to maintain the house they are in, and supply substitute accommodation for myself and the family. It is the responsibility of the Army, not the civilians to provide the accommodation for the Army. Many civilians are obliged now to keep two homes going, under the most trying conditions, as well as doing a big part in the war effort.
The present basis for assessing the rentals is most unfair and will place many people in the position of paying out more per week for their homes than they are receiving and with the reduced earning power of many place them under special hardship.
The basis for assessing appears to be as follows. Four and a half per cent, on the capital cost of land and building, plus fixed outgoing, rates, insurance, &c, plus per (cut. depreciation. If any goods are hired, 10 per cent, without any allowance for outgoing or depreciation. This is most unsatisfactory and is less than some people have to pay out for their houses now.
If competent valuators have not yet been appointed, I would respectfully submit that the proper sot-up or organization required include at its head competent business men and expert valuators. Such men could rapidly make valuations and assess the rentals of something like 50 houses a day. They would also have the business ability and the experience to set up the office organization to deal efficiently with premises taken over, and obviate all the confusion which at present exists.
The amount of rental due to me is now nine weeks at £2 15s. 4d. a week making a total of £24 18s. Whilst this sum has been accumulating, I have been obliged to meet the payments on my house, instalments on refrigerator, and on electric stove and at the same time provide accommodation elsewhere for my family and self.
I can assure you anything you can do to undo the muddle brought about by incompetent handling of this matter will earn the gratitude of a large number of owners of homes in Queensland.
This case is typical of many in Townsville and other Queensland towns. This Senator morning, I also received a letter written on behalf of Mrs. A. E. Lamb, of 112 Campbell-street, Toowoomba, stating -
I happen to be one of the unfortunates “ who were put out and not as Mr. Forde states of our own wish. We were not able to rent a house (Toowoomba at the present being crowded out owing to the influx oi evacuees and military) and at the present have our family billeted in three different homes. On informing the military officer of this, he told me that I was lucky to have them all in the one town. I have three children, the youngest being fourteen years of age. I also spoke to this man about damage being done to our house, which by the way has been turned into an officers’ mess, housing, I believe, 23 officers, with their batmen and two cooks, not forgetting the all-important room fitted, viz., the Bar. Re ,my complaint, I was told that 3 would be well advised to keep away from the place. We have been out of our home for four weeks now and have not had Id. in return for same. My husband in an interview with this same military officer asked “ in the event of ns not being able to procure a house and refusing to leave our home, what stand would be taken?” To this the reply was: “A delayed action for two days until they got a possession order from headquarters “. They would then pack up and move what we wanted to be allowed to remove and we would be put out by force. Our family comprises husband, self, three children and maid We valued our house at £3,000 but the military put their valuation down to £2,400. We told them of a home that the owner would be willing to hand over to them but they simply said it did not suit.
Many weeks have elapsed since these homes were taken- over, and the occupants have not received a penny by way of rent. Even if it were decided that the rent to be paid should be 4£ per cent, of the capital value, payment should have commenced immediately the properties were acquired. The occupants are called upon to leave their homes, and no other accommodation is found for them. During the period in which no rent is paid to them, they probably have to pay higher rentals for other properties or boarding rates higher than those that will be received as rent for their own homes. Their main objection is that no action seems to have been taken to ensure immediate payment in respect of the properties taken over by the authorities. I hope that this apparent gross injustice will be promptly remedied.
– I bring to the notice of the Senate a paragraph published in the Sydney Daily Telegraph this morning regarding a statement alleged to have been made by the
Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) -when he was replying to a deputation from a Labour organization at Newcastle regarding the Government’s hanking policy. The statement attributed to the Prime Minister is as follows : -
The Federal Government was unable to carry out its banking policy because it did not have a majority in both Houses. [ ask the Leader of the Senate (Senator Collings) whether the Prime Minister implied that, because the Government has not a majority in both branches of the Commonwealth Parliament, he has not received adequate support from all sections in the Parliament with regard to the financial policy of the Government for the prosecution of the war. My recollection is that this Government has had substantial assistance from all sections and in both Houses to ensure that nothing shall be done to hamper it in prosecuting the war. I believe that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Senator Keane) would be one of the first to admit that. If the statement by the Prime Minister has reference to the fact that he has not yet put into effect the policy of the Labour party for the complete nationalization of banking, I point out that he has not submitted that policy to the Parliament. If he did so, it might have a different reception from that givento the financial proposals already presented by the Government. The Government has not had the courage to introduce this policy, therefore we cannot say what the Parliament would do. Although members of the Opposition may have indulged in certain criticism of the policy of the Government, no Opposition member in either branch of the legislature has done anything to hinder the Government in carrying out its present financial proposals. I think that the Prime Minister recognizes that fact, and I hope that he will use his position in the Parliament to convince some of the members of the left wing of the Labour party that the Government has not been hampered by the Opposition. I can speak with an experience of almost 25 years in the Senate, and I can say with confidence that this Government has had more support from the Opposition in both Houses than has any previous ministry. The reason is that members on all sides are desirous of assisting the Government in the prosecution of the -war.
.- The complaint mentioned by Senator Cooper will he brought to the notice of the Minister for the Army (Mr. Forde), hut I do not regard it as altogether helpful to deal with such a matter in the Parliament. The honorable senator’s remarks would convey the impression that the military authorities had acted improperly.
– I have written twice to the Minister and have received no reply.
– My experience of the military authorities of the Commonwealth and of the United States of America is that business matters are attended to by them promptly, but the matter mentioned by the honorable senator will be investigated immediately.
I inform Senator Foil that I have not read the newspaper paragraph .to which he has referred, but, as the Minister in charge of the bills necessary for the implementation of the Government’s financial proposals, I frankly admit that, as Senator Foil has suggested, the Government has received every support from the Senate on the measures necessary in the prosecution of the war. I shall read the newspaper paragraph, and an answer will be supplied to the honorable senator later.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
The following papers were presented : -
Arbitration (Public Service) Act - Determination by the Arbitrator, &c. - No. 23 of 1042 - Federated Public Service Assistants’ Association of Australia. Lands Acquisition Act - Land acquired at Williamtown, New South Wales - For Defence purposes. National Security Act -
National Security (General) Regulations - Orders -
Inventions and designs (124).
Taking possession of land, &c. (53). Use of land (31 ). National Security (Man Power) Regulations - -Orders-Protected undertakings (13).
National Security (Maritime Industry) Regulations - Orders Nos. 23, 24, 25. ‘
Senate adjourned at 4.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 2 June 1942, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1942/19420602_senate_16_171/>.