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Wednesday, 20 May 1942


Dr PRICE (BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) .- In supporting the amendment, I agree with the remarks of the honorable members for Wakefield (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) and Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron). The proposed exemption of £5,000 is inadequate. The point that I stress is that a great deal has happened financially since this branch of the legislature considered an exemption of £5,000 last November. The Government has reduced interest to a maximum rate of 4 per cent. That will mean that the value of a large number of estates of men who die on active service will be reduced by one-third. If it be desired that the matter shall he placed on a basis equivalent to that which existed when it was discussed last November, the exemption ought to be at least £7,500. The Government has reduced interest rates at a time when costs are soaring, the basic wage is rising, and pensions are being frequently raised in order to keep pace with other increases. At an interest rate of 4 per cent., a maximum exemption of £5,000 would represent only £200 a year, which is less than the basic wage in any State. The Government proposes that, if a poor devil volunteers and gives his life for his country, the exemption in respect of his estate shall be an amount which, at current rates of interest, would return less than the basic wage. The exemption is altogether inadequate. This Parliament and nation ought to show that generosity which our forefathers showed in the great war, or at least that generosity which British statesmen, and not Australian politicians, are showing at the present time.

Sitting suspended from 6.15 to 8 p.m.







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