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Tuesday, 23 May 1972
Page: 1891


The PRESIDENT - I am not Solomon, and I am prepared to admit that I am not. I read standing order 99 so that all honourable senators would be perfectly clear on what it meant. The document referred to by Senator Carrick is a public document and Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson may answer the question, provided he does not transgress standing order 99.


Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - May I speak to the point of order, Mr President?


The PRESIDENT - Yes.


Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - I feel bound to point out that the preceding question which was asked by Senator Murphy related to the McMahon Government's attitude towards China. I find myself in some difficulty. The courtesies between leaders in the Senate being what they are, I did not take a point of order when he asked his question. If the rules of the road are to be adhered to strictly I will have to take a point of order each time a question, which I think contravenes standing order 99, is asked. Question time will be very restricted.


The PRESIDENT - If you have finished speaking to the point of order, you may answer the question.


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON

It is such a long time since Senator Carrick asked the question that perhaps he should ask it again.


The PRESIDENT - The whole situation is becoming ludicrous. Senator Carrick, you are entitled to ask a question that relates to a published document which has been admitted to exist. He may answer the question, provided he does not transgress standing order 99. You may ask the question again.


Senator CARRICK - My question is directed to the Minister for Health. I ask whether the 1.35 per cent compulsory levy referred to in the published document of the Australian Labor Party on its future health policy will be tax deductible. Is the present voluntary contribution to health funds tax deductible? If the latter proposition is the case, will not the 1.35 per cent compulsory levy be substantially more costly to the great majority of families than the present voluntary scheme?


The PRESIDENT - Senator Sir KennethAnderson, does this question relate to a matter which comes within your ministerial responsibility?


Senator Sir Kenneth Anderson - I would have thought that any matters relating to health would be within my ministerial responsibility. I get 9,000 letters a year asking me questions about health matters.


The PRESIDENT - Very well, you may answer the question.


Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON

My understanding is that there is a published document of the Australian Labor Party which refers to a 1.35 per cent levy. It is my understanding that the levy will not be an allowable taxation deduction. It is also my certain knowledge that people who contribute to hospital and medical benefit funds can claim their contributions as a taxation deduction. The mathematics I have done prove that the 1.35 per cent levy would have no advantages at all. Indeed, it would have distinct disadvantages to the taxpayers in the lower income group, who would pay a much higher percentage of taxation that those in the higher income group.







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