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Wednesday, 14 October 1931
Page: 723

Mr MARTENS (Herbert) .- Queensland has recently increased its unemployment insurance tax, and I understand the explanation of the Minister to mean that the Commonwealth Government will have power under the law to ensure that Commonwealth public servants will pay neither more nor loss by way of taxation than other citizens of Queensland. The honorable member for East Sydney (Mr. Ward) suggested this afternoon that the Commonwealth Government was the only Labour Government in Australia which was careless of the interests of the poorer sections of the community, or of those who were unable to defend themselves. He referred to the legislation passed by this Parliament reducing salaries and pensions, and one might imagine from his remarks that the Government ofNew South Wales, of which the honorable member is a supporter, is particularly zealous in the interests of the poorer sections of the community. As a matter of fact, I. do not think that the citizens of New South Wales are any better off under the unemployment insurance legislation than are those of Queensland. A charwoman in New South Wales, even though she earns only 15s. or £1 a week, must pay her tax at just the same rate as a person earning £1,000 a year, although it bears much more heavily upon her.

Mr Beasley - Only those receiving £2 a week and over pay the tax.

Mr MARTENS - Members of the New South Wales Parliament do not pay unemployment taxation at a higher rate than does the person in receipt of £2 a week, so that I cannot understand why members of this Parliament should bo asked to make greater sacrifices. I do not wish to make the charge that any honorable member obtains election to this Parliament simply for the sake of what he can make out of it. Most of us believe that we can do something as members of this House better than others could do it. We like to get here and try ourselves out. I strongly resent the suggestion that this is the only Government which has imposed sacrifices on the poorer sectionsof the community; all other Governments in Australia have done the same thing.

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