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Friday, 3 September 1920

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) . - (By leave.) - I wish to announce to the House that the Government have appointed a Royal Commission to inquire into the whole question of taxation. It is intended that the Commission shall inquire into and report upon the incidence of Commonwealth taxation and any amendments which are necessary or desirable with a view to placing the system of taxation upon a sound and equitable basis, having regard generally to the public interests, and particularly to - (1) The equitable distribution of the burden of taxation; (2) the harmonization of Commonwealth and State taxation; (3) the giving to primary producers of special consideration as regards the assessment of income tax, particularly in relation to losses resulting from adverse weather conditions; and (4) the simplification of the duties of taxpayers in relation to returns and in relation to objections and appeals.'

Mr Ryan - That is a sop to prevent further action by the primary producers.

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - The honorable member always suggests something sinister in connexion with anything proposed by the Government. The chairman of the Commission will be William Warren Kerr, C.B.E., and the other members, John Joseph Garvan, John Jolly, John Gibson Farleigh, William Thomas Missingham, John Thompson, and Stephen Mills, C.M.G. It will be seen that the Commission is being made as widely representative of all interests as possible. We hope that it will search this question thoroughly with the greatest possible advantage to the taxpayersas a whole.

Mr Ryan - When is it to report ?

Sir JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Treasurer) - I very much regret that we have not been able, as we desired, to secure a representative upon the Commission of organized labour in

Australia. Those representing organized labour were approached, but they refused to take any part in this inquiry.

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