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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Mr JAMES (Hunter) . I consider that an amendment should be inserted at the end of the clause on the lines that I propose to indicate. Take the ease of a taxpayer with an invalid son or daughter over the age of sixteen years who cannot qualify for the invalid pension. The child is not permanently incapacitated, and as he or she cannot work the taxpayer is in duty bound to maintain the child. I know of one case atWeston where a dependent son who is an invalid is now 54 years of age, and cannot obtain the invalid pension. The father is not allowed to claim the £50 reduction on his account, as he would be if the dependant were under the age of sixteen years. A person over sixteen years of age costs more to maintain than a child under sixteen years. I want provision made also for the allowance of £50 in respect of an adult daughter who lives in the taxpayer's home and nurses the taxpayer's invalid wife, or, where the mother has the income, an adult daughter who is nursing the invalid father. Under the New South Wales act, provision is made for an allowance of £60 in the case of an invalid child over sixteen years, who is not in receipt of income, and is maintained in the taxpayer's home.

Mr. Chifley.What is the honorable member's definition of a child ?

Mr. JAMES.I am the child of my father, and I am 50 years of age. Why split straws ? The Treasurer knows what I mean. I am referring to cases in which a father is responsible for the maintenance of an invalid child under or over sixteen years of age, and, as I said, the maintenance of a child over sixteen years is greater than that of one under sixteen years. The Government permits a deduction of £50 for the maintenance of a child of six months, but no allowance is conceded for an invalid child over sixteen years who has to be maintained by the taxpayer until he or she qualifies for the old-age pension. I have in mind the case of a miner in my electorate. His wife has been bedridden for fifteen years, and the daughter, who is now 35 years of age, has dedicated her life to nursing her mother. The miner is not allowed the deduction of £50 on account of the daughter. I consider that the deduction should be allowed in this case, because the daughter has given up a woman's normal life to devote herself to her invalid mother.

Mr SCULLIN - What wages does that miner earn,

Mr JAMES - He would probably earn £300 a year. He has no children under the age of sixteen years; he gets a deduction on income tax on account of his invalid wife but no deduction is allowed for the daughter whom he has to maintain. He therefore becomes taxable on this meagre income. An amendment is being prepared to- effect my purpose.

Mr SCULLIN - The proposed amendment would not be in order, because it would increase taxation.

Mr JAMES - Surely the justice of the case should be considered. Apparently, Labour governments are just the same as other governments - they adopt the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number. It is a rotten policy. The proper principle that should be adopted is each for all and all for each. A minority in the community invariably suffers when a government adopts the vote-catching policy of the greatest good for the greatest number. The adoption of that policy places great hardships on small minorities and no attempt is made to eliminate them. The continuance of the existing state of affairs should not be tolerated. Opportunities rarely occur for the removal of such anomalies, and I plead with the Treasurer to take this opportunity.

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