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Monday, 1 June 1998
Page: 4291


Mr WILLIS (4:17 PM) —Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.


Mr SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr WILLIS —Yes.


Mr SPEAKER —Please proceed.


Mr WILLIS —At question time the Treasurer (Mr Costello) quoted from a press release that I issued as Treasurer on 11 February 1996 and claimed that this showed that Labor would have done nothing to change the taxation of trusts. This press release was headed `High wealth individuals—Taxation of trusts'. The point of this press release was threefold: to announce the discovery of major tax avoidance—


Mr Reith —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. He has to say where he has been misrepresented.


Mr WILLIS —Just give me two seconds, I will get there.


Mr Reith —You are just debating the point.


Mr WILLIS —I am not debating the point.


Mr SPEAKER —The member for Gellibrand will show where he has been misrepresented. I think the member for Gellibrand is in order at the moment.


Mr WILLIS —As I have said, the Treasurer claimed that quoting this press release showed that Labor would have done nothing to change the taxation of trusts. What the press statement did was to announce the government's intention to change the taxation of trusts. It said—


Mr SPEAKER —You want to show where you have been personally misrepresented.


Mr WILLIS —This is my press release that is being quoted. It has been misquoted.


Mr Reith —He is not entitled to debate this.


Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the House has made a point and I accept that you do need to show exactly where you have been misrepresented.


Mr WILLIS —What has been read from the press statement is not a true representation of what this press statement was designed to show. The point of the press statement, totally contrary to what the Treasurer said, was to announce that the government was going to legislate to change the taxation of trusts. I said in this that I had written to the secretary to the Treasury and the Commissioner of Taxation asking them to develop appropriate legislation.


Mr Reith —Mr Speaker, I raise a further point of order. This member clearly does not appreciate the purpose of the standing orders in respect of misrepresentations. He is not entitled to debate the intention of the government back in February 1996.


Mr SPEAKER —I hear the Leader of the House, but I believe at the moment that the member for Gellibrand is in order.


Mr WILLIS —I think I have made my point.