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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr WEST - As rumours are being circulated in Sydney that the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) owes the Taxation Department £1,800, representing; £300 per annum for the last six years, will the Treasurer inform the House of the actual amount due from the honorable member to the Treasury?

Mr Killen - The statement is not true.

Dr EARLE PAGE - The Government has no record of amounts owing by individual pastoralists, and, therefore, it is not possible for me to give the honorable memberthe information he seeks.

Mr ANSTEY - Arising out of the previous questions--

Mr SPEAKER - Questions arising out of other questions are not in order, but as this appears to be the last, or last but oneday of thesession, I have relaxed the rule to some extent. I hope that the indulgence will not be abused.

Mr ANSTEY - Not arising out of, but in connexion with previous question on the subject, I was about to ask if the amount owing by the honorable member for Riverina (Mr. Killen) can be deducted from his parliamentary allowance.

Mr SCULLIN - Will the Treasurer inform honorable members whether it is a fact that the Taxation Department has each year assessed Crown leaseholders, and placed a footnote on the notice reminding them that they need not pay the amount due? If that has been the practice, how is it that there is not in the Department a record of those assessments?

Dr EARLE PAGE - The file for each individual taxpayer is kept separate; the amounts owing by leaseholders have never been brought together on any list or in any ledger. I am told that to get information of the amount due by individuals it would be necessary to go through the whole series of files. The details are almost inextricably mixed. Practically every person who is taxed on a Crown lease is also taxed on freehold property, and it would mean an immense amount of work to analyze the records.

Mr Scullin - If the Treasurer has no records in the office of the amount the different leaseholders owe to the Government, how was he able to tell the House the total amount outstanding?

Dr EARLE PAGE - If the honorable member really desires this information he should have allowed me to speak when I intended the other night; but honorable members opposite kept on interfering with me by rising to points of order.

Mr Scullin - The Treasurer was prevented from speaking by his own guillotine.

Dr EARLE PAGE - The position is that the amounts are taken out of the details each year, and recorded as totals in the report of the Land Tax Commissioners. The details are not recorded separately.

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