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Tuesday, 25 November 1941

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON (Barker) . - la the interests of the taxpayers generally- it would be a good thing if the Parliament were to focus- public attention- on this: bill, which fixes the rates of postage on letters and other articles handled, by the-. Postmaster-General's, Derpartment. The schedule to the bill provides that there shall be a war-time tax of. id., on each letter or post card. The sarnie- rate is to- apply to each copy of Hansard, irrespective, of the size of the number., yet newspapers weighing 20 oz., if posted at one1 time by the same person,, are. to bear exactly the same additional impost.. There is no justification for perpetuating in war-time the anomalies and inconsistencies in the existing legislation. Unless the additional impost is to apply all round,, the taxpayers should be apprised of the variation between the charges to be levied on letters and post cards and the- rates- at which newspapers and periodicals are to be conveyed through- the post. Such differential treat ment is inequitable.. The public- should know, of the generous, concessions granted to the proprietors of newspapers, such as press, rates for telegrams, teleprinter facilities, and bulk rates, for newspapers. I realize that the Minister assisting the Postmaster-General (Mr. Lawson) has not had much tame to- consider- these, problems, but these are matters which should not be allowed, to. pass unnoticed when postage rates generally are being increased.. The amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member- foi- Wentworth (Mr. Harrison), is worthy of support.. I agree with him that, as soon as the war is over there should be a thorough overhaul of our taxation system.

Mr Calwell - Why not start now ?'

Mr ARCHIE CAMERON - Even the honorable gentleman who has interjected cannot say what the financial state of this country will be when the wau has ended-, although most, of us are fairly certain that it, will-not be very satisfactory. That, however; is= all; the stronger reason why we should decide to overhaul our taxation legislation. Postal charges are a form of tax, and should be considered when such a. revision takes place.

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