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Friday, 24 August 1923

Mr COLEMAN (Reid) (1:41 AM) .I recognise that it is futile to expect this Government to show any mercy to the public service. Such conduct is not in keeping with its general policy. All its economies are accomplished at the expense of the working class. The advantage of any saving that may be achieved in consequence of retrenchments in the Federal Taxation Department will be more than outweighed by the confusion that will be caused by the action to be taken. The Federal taxation staff has been specially selected, and represents the cream of the Federal Public Service. Our taxation laws and methods are entirely different from those of the States. Even if the confusion is only temporary, it will result in heavy loss and considerable' trouble to the taxpayer. I agree with the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton), that taxation is a Federal function, and that the Government should retain whatever taxation powers it possesses. This- question involves the supremacy of the Federal Government, and as the Labour party stands for the extension of Federal powers it cannot consistently support any proposal which will limit our present fields of taxation. That aspect is important, apart altogether from the humanitarian consideration. When the elections take place these public servants will have their opportunity to show their displeasure at the ruthless sacrifice of their interests, and the treatment they have received at the hands of this Government.

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