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Thursday, 3 March 1932

Dr MALONEY (Melbourne) .- So that readers of Hansard may understand my earlier remarks, I place on record the following letter relating to the cost of exchange : -

Canberra, 16th January, 1932.

Dr.W. Maloney, M.P., 51 3 Elizabeth-street, Melbourne.

Dear Sir, - With reference to your telephone inquiry of to-day relative to the cost of remitting money to New York, I would point out that taking the exchange rate as 3.40 dollars to the £1, it costs £143 in London to place £100 in New York.

This £143 must be remitted to London from Australia, and at a rate of approximately 25 per cent., would cost, say, £36.

It will be seen, therefore, that the cost of remitting £100 from Australia to New York is approximately £179 - £79 being in. respect of exchange.

Yours faithfully,

A.   Bolle (for Secretary to the Treasury).

I hope for the sake of the Australian people that the overseas mission of the Assistant-Treasurer (Mr. Bruce) will be successful, and also that the company of which he is a director will soon be able to pay dividends instead of fearing the result of selling its assets.

Mr.RIORDAN (Kennedy [9.43].- Clause 5 suggests that the Government is seeking to follow up its threat during the last election campaign that if the United Australia party were returned to power in this Parliament, the New South Wales Labour Government would be sent to the electors within a month. That prediction has not been verified. Honorable members opposite have failed to upset the verdict of the people of New South Wales given fifteen months ago, and likely to be repeated less than two years hence. Is the Commonwealth entitled to put a receiver into the Treasury of any State? Obviously, the purpose of this legislation is to enable the Commonwealth to collect, not from the State Government, but from the already harassed taxpayers. If a New South Wales taxpayer desires to appeal against his assessment, he must first lodge the amount of his tax with the commissioner. Under this legislation that will be an offence; he will be required to pay his tax to the Commonwealth Government, but to establish his right of appeal he must also pay to theState Government, and by the time the appeal has been disposed of, his money will have been spent by one of the governments. How will he fare then ? This bill applies not only to New South Wales but also to other States, and if any State cannot meet it's interest obligations the Commonwealth Government will have power to put a receiver into the Treasury of that State. In addition, if the Commonwealth Government defaults, the States may take similar action against it, but, if such a position arose, the press of the Commonwealth would be unanimously opposed to this legislation. What is the position of many of the Australian Governments to-day? What is owed by the land-owner or the primary producer in deferred taxation as a result of his inability to pay? The amount outstanding is nearly £3,000,000. Would members of the United Australia party in this chamber be prepared to put receivers on the holdings of landowners who are unable to pay, and, if necessary, to foreclose on them? In New South Wales and Queensland, -because of the big drop 'in the price of wool, thousands of primary producers are not in the position, to pay taxation. Only recently Ae Taxation Department put a receiver on a selection out west in an endeavour to collect the amount of tax outstanding, which was retrospective to 1919, and the assessment was made by the department in 1926, after the taxpayer had passed through five years of drought. The Prime Minister (Mr. Lyons) introduced this bill, and then ran away from it. The Attorney-General (Mr. Latham) then took charge and he ran away from it to Geneva. Before the bill is passed by this Parliament, the Assistant Treasurer (Mr. Bruce), who now has charge of it, will flee to safer quarters in London. What is the trouble in this country to-day?

Mr McBride - Mr. Lang.

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