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Tuesday, 29 November 1983
Page: 3019


Mr HAND(10.47) —When this Government came to office it made a commitment to the Australian people to end tax avoidance. We therefore proposed to legislate to do that, only to find that the Liberal Party of Australia opposed it, the National Party of Australia opposed it and the Australian Democrats opposed it. Why? One can come to the conclusion that they opposed it only to protect their friends, that is, the tax avoiders and the tax avoiding industry. Recently, it has been brought to my attention that members of the Liberal Party in New South Wales are involved in what can be described and may best be described as the New South Wales Liberal Party tax avoidance scheme. Recently in the media and in the State House in New South Wales comments have been made about a publicly listed company in that State. The company is known as White River Corporation Ltd. It is operated by prominent members of the Liberal Party in that State. The family that operates this corporation had accumulated profits in the family timber business which, if distributed by dividend, would have been taxable in the hands of the recipients or, if undistributed by the companies operated by this family, would have been subject to coporate withholding tax.


Mr Ruddock —I take a point of order. It might be helpful to the honourable member, before he continues his remarks, to know that there has been a report from accountants on these matters which completely clears the company and its-


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member will resume his seat. There is no point of order.


Mr HAND —On listing, the White River Corporation bought out the family interest, that is, the interest of the family of the prominent Liberals, in the business for a lump sum and an acknowledgement of indebtedness. Questions at this point must be asked. Was the sale price treated as a capital receipt? Did this family pay tax on the funds received on the sale of the timber business which we understand and in fact know had accumulated considerable profits at the time of the sale? I think it is high time, given the comments being made in other places and in the media, that this prominent member of the New South Wales Liberal Party Opposition came forward-


Mr MacKellar —I raise a point of order. Is it in order for an honourable gentleman to refer to a situation where there has been an audit certificate supplied which completely-


Mr SPEAKER —There is no point of order. He is quite in order in raising the matter before the House. The honourable member for Warringah will resume his seat.


Mr HAND —And stated quite clearly what taxes were paid by him, particularly, and by other members of his family.


Mr Coleman —I take a point of order. Since it is well known to whom the honourable member is referring-


Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member should come to his point of order.


Mr Coleman —Is this not a matter which should be the subject of a substantive motion?


Mr SPEAKER —There is no point of order.


Mr HAND —It is interesting to note that the Opposition does not want to hear what is being said.


Mr Coleman —We do not want to hear your garbage.


Mr HAND —There is no garbage in it. There are documents and a long list of questions have been asked today in the New South Wales Parliament. I will name the person they concern-the Leader of the Opposition, that great champion of honesty and integrity, who has ripped off people, avoided taxation and misappropriated funds, according to these documents. Here we have the Valder report--


Mr MacKellar —Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. On a previous point of order it was ruled that nobody had been named. The honourable gentleman has now named a particular person. I take the point of order again: Is it in order for an honourable gentleman to refer, in a matter of this nature when there has been, as I am informed--


Mr SPEAKER —There is no point of order. The honourable member is debating the matter. I call the honourable member for Melbourne.


Mr HAND —Mr Greiner must tell the public, particularly the public of New South Wales, whether tax--


Mr Coleman —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. It follows from the preceding point of order. In view of the fact that the honourable member has named the person to whom he is referring, is it not now the case that he should proceed by means of a substantive motion?


Mr SPEAKER —The honourable member misunderstands the Standing Orders. I call the honourable member for Melbourne.


Mr HAND —If so, how much tax was paid on the sale of the shares in the proprietary family business to the newly listed White River Corporation? If tax was not paid-I am not making any accusations, I am just asking the people to explain-the allegation may strongly and critically be put that this family, the Greiner family, was involved in a premeditated tax avoidance scheme. I again at this point challenge the Leader of the Liberal Party in New South Wales-the Valder report of the Liberal Party Committee of Review states that 'Liberal Party leaders must have integrity'-to reveal to all concerned--


Mr Spender —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. The honourable gentleman has apparently challenged a person who is not in this Parliament to debate in this Parliament, and that cannot be allowed.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Melbourne is quite within the Standing Orders. I call the honourable member for Melbourne.


Mr HAND —You see, Mr Speaker, what we may have here is a very clever business exercise--


Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member's time has expired.