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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2204

Senator MISSEN(10.37) —I wish to add a few words on what is happening to the reference of the Income Tax Assessment Amendment Bill (No. 2) to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations and to what will happen to this Bill. Like other honourable senators, I have seen this very slender report in the last few minutes. I have read it in a sort of a way but I cannot say that I am completely familiar with it. Questions were raised by Senator Harradine and Senator Withers. I am concerned as to how this matter will be handled. If this is the debate on this report, which has come down rather quickly, and if we proceed to debate this Bill in Committee and take it clause by clause, it seems that some initial questions have to be determined. If at the end of the day the Bill will not be passed, we will be back to the second aspect of the recommendation.

Senator Walsh —I intend to move that the debate be adjourned, if that will satisfy the honourable senator.

Senator MISSEN —I think that would certainly be a help because it seems to me that it is important that major questions be determined, such as whether we will take note of the second suggestion which the Committee made or whether we will take note of what Senator Withers said, in his dissenting report. He has raised important questions. We should look also at the Hansard and at the evidence that came before the Committee and see whether the matter has been dealt with adequately and whether the Commissioner of Taxation took an interest in the major matters involved or whether he and his staff were just concerned with the collection of money and not with looking after the rights of employees, a matter with which Senator Harradine seems to be more concerned. I believe that these matters ought to be determined before we go trudging through the Committee stage of this Bill and before we determine the question of retrospectivity. I hope that the Minister's foreshadowed motion that the debate be adjourned will be carried.