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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Mr BARNARD (Bass) (10:22 AM) . - The Joint Committee on Social Security investigated this problem more thoroughly than the honorable member for Hunter (Mr. James) has had an opportunity to do. It has considered representations from many persons and organizations, who have stressed the hardship that is imposed upon people who are caring for invalids in respect of whom no taxation allowance is made. After careful consideration of the subject, the committee made a recommendation in its first interim report, which was submitted to the Government some months ago. It made the following statement : -

It has been brought under notice in a number of cases that parents maintaining an invalid over the age of sixteen years for whom an invalid pension has been rejected on the grounds of adequate maintenance by the parents of the invalid, are not allowed any exemption from income tax for the maintenance of such invalid. On the present basis of calculation of adequate maintenance, namely, £78 per annum referred to in paragraph (3) above, this entails real hardship in a great number of cases. Even in the event of the basis for adequate maintenance calculation being raised to the £130 figure herein suggested, it is considered that the amount normally allowed for the maintenance of a dependant (£50) by the Commissioner of Taxation, should be allowed in all cases where the taxpayer is maintaining an invalid over the age of sixteen years who is not receiving an invalid pension.

Mr Chifley - Did the committee define "invalid"?

Mr BARNARD - The committee was particularly concerned about persons, such as those who have been mentioned by the honorable member for Hunter, who are in a taxpayer's home simply because there is an invalid in the family who must be cared for.

Mr Chifley - That is another matter

Mr BARNARD - It is involved in this subject.

Mr Chifley - I am aware that that is another phase of the matter.

Mr BARNARD - The committee's recommendation on this subject was unanimous. I do not bring it to the notice of the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) with the object of securing an immediate amendment of the law, because such decisions cannot be made offhand. However, I want him to consider this anomaly before the budget is introduced. I shall be satisfied if he will undertake to do so. I was convinced by the evidence which I heard as chairman of the Social Security Committee that considerable hardship is imposed on many people because of the absence of any allowance in respect of invalids whom they are maintaining. I do not know what the total annual cost of such allowances would be, but the hardship should be removed.

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