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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr COLES (Henty) . - I accept the challenge of the honorable member for Barker. Members of the Opposition have very successfully drawn a herring across the trail in regard to this bill. It is merely a bill to increase the rate of the estate duty. So far as I can see it does not embody anything even remotely connected with the question of soldiers' assets. Nevertheless, I heartily agree with the suggestion made by the honorable member for "Wakefield (Mr. Duncan.Hughes) that special consideration should be given to a relaxation of the duty on the estates of soldiers who lose their lives as the result of war. Not the slightest doubt exists that when the principal act was amended in 1940 the question was not thoroughly thrashed out, but, if the Government can see its way clear to amend this measure so that the obvious intention of Parliament on the last occasion shall be expressed, I think it will be, not rectifying what we call an anomaly, but removing from those people who voluntarily enlist what is now an injustice. The bill is purely a bill to amend the rates of tax, and it will be accepted by the House as being necessary to the war finance. If die Government will give an assurance that it will do what it has been requested to do, either by regulation or by a further amendment, it will be acting wisely.

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