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Wednesday, 4 May 1932

Mr LYONS (Wilmot) (Prime Minister and Treasurer) . - Honorable members opposite have no real grounds on which to base their objection to this clause. Provision already exists that State officers may be asked to act on behalf of the Commonwealth Government to collect revenue from State sources. This merely tightens up the act. If there is anything in the argument that has been advanced by honorable members opposite, it is that some public servants may be compelled to hand over revenue, under the direction of the Commonwealth, while others will be free to do what they like. Actually, there is no intention on the part of the Commonwealth Government to use these officers as pawns in the game, as has been claimed by .the honorable member for Dalley (Mr. Rosevear). The Government merely asks that they shall obey the law of the country, the validity of which has been proved in the High Court, despite the 'fact that the Government of New South Wales directed the strongest force of constitutional argument against it. It may interest honorable members to know that Only to-day the validity of this legislation was again upheld, this time by a unanimous decision of the High Court. The Commonwealth claimed that the State had no right to any set-off or that any cross action could be brought in regard to the declaration of the High Court as to the amount due by the State. The State Government claimed that it had a set-off. The High Court unanimously decided that the Commonwealth had the right to enforce its claim to the last penny; as a matter of fact, to an extent which exceeded by a couple of hundred pounds the amount specified by the Commonwealth Government. This Government merely asks now that the officers of the State Government of New South Wales, as well as corporations and Ministers of the Crown, shall be required to obey the law, and to carry out the regulations made in pursuance of it.

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