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Thursday, 18 April 1985
Page: 1215

Senator TOWNLEY —I ask a question of the Leader of the Government in the Senate both as Leader of the Government in the Senate and as Minister representing the Prime Minister. Did the Government have any contact with the Australian Cricket Board concerning the possibility of cricketers going to South Africa prior to the Board requesting players to sign a statutory declaration? Is it to become the usual action of this Government to threaten those who do not do exactly what the Government wishes with special examination by the Commissioner of Taxation?

Senator BUTTON —I am not sure what precise contacts have been made, if any, by the Government with the Australian Cricket Board. The Board has, as I understand it, quite independently of the Government, expressed a view about the desirability or undesirability of cricketers travelling to South Africa in what is alleged to be an independent capacity. All that the Government has said about that is that we welcome the stand taken by the Australian Cricket Board.

Another part of Senator Townley's question suggested that in some way the Government was offering threats to particular cricketers who might take part in that tour as individuals. I do not interpret anything that has been said in that way. There was a comment about cricketers making some financial bonanza out of the tour and the comment was made that this Government would ensure that they paid tax on any earnings that they received. Senator Townley has voted on numerous occasions in the Senate to make sure that people who ought to pay tax do not pay tax. I hope he is not suggesting that there is anything wrong with the Government saying that people who earn income from an activity in South Africa or elsewhere should pay tax on it, and that is all that has been said.