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Thursday, 28 May 1942


Mr SPOONER (Robertson) (5:21 AM) . - It is true that the special committee on taxation evolved a formula which it considered to be the most suitable method by which the compensation payable to States may, in certain circumstances, be increased or decreased. After studying the report. the Government believed that this Parliament was the proper authority to examine any proposal to reduce compensation payable to States as the result of the Commonwealth assuming responsibility for a. service now given by the States. As I stated in my secondreading speech, I do not intend to adhere rigidly to the letter of the committee's recommendation if the Government decides, as a matter of policy, to adopt a certain course, and I shall vote against the proposed new clause.


Mr Spender - How will Parliament determine the amount f


Mr SPOONER - Parliament, by amending this legislation, can reduce the amount of compensation. My own preference lay in the direction of the committee's formula, but as the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) has already declared, the Government has experienced difficulty in convincing the States that it has no ulterior motive in introducing this legislation. Suspicion has been cast upon the Government's sincerity. If the bill had contained a provision to empower the Government at a later date to reduce the compensation payable to a State as the result of relieving it of a service, criticism of the legislation might have been intensified. In order to avoid that difficulty, the Government did not adopt the recommendation of the committee.


Mr Menzies - Incidentally, it is worth £1,500,000 to New South Wales.


Mr SPOONER - I do not agree with that statement. The special committee had in mind services for which the Commonwealth will assume responsibility in the future, and not services that it took over eighteen months ago. It recommended that, after 1st July next, the formula shall be applied for the purpose of reducing the amount of compensation payable to the States if the Commonwealth assumes control of a service that they now perform. The remarks of the honorable member for WakefieLd (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) are irrelevant to this discussion. After all, the scheme will operate for the duration of the war and twelve months thereafter, so that it is terminable. I make " no bones " about my position. The formula which was embodied in the committee's report was my personal preference, but the Government, in order to avoid creating unnecessary suspicion and embarrassment, did not adopt it. I shall not split straws on the bill, but shall vote against the proposed new clause.







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