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Thursday, 28 May 1942

Mr CHIFLEY - Is the honorable member speaking of individuals?

Mr PATERSON - I am speaking of individuals as citizens of certain States.

Mr Lazzarini - Not as citizens of the Commonwealth?

Mr PATERSON - Individual citizens of certain States are entitled to a higher proportion of post-war credits in relation to the amount of tax collected from them than are the citizens of certain other States. That is because some States are more harshly treated in the first instance. Let us consider again the glaring disparity between the treatment of citizens of New South Wales and that of Victoria under the proposals of the Government. Under the Government's plan the average citizen of Victoria will pay, including State taxes other than income tax, about £2 4s. 3d. a head more than will be paid by the average citizen of New South Wales. That is unjust, unless some effort be made by the Treasurer to adjust the difference by means of variations of the amounts credited to such citizens as postwar credits. What applies to Victoria in this connexion applies almost equally to South Australia and Tasmania, as compared with the citizens of Western Australia and Queensland. I urge the Treasurer to consider sympathetically the proposal which has been put forward, not merely because it has great virtues as a means of promoting savings, on a compulsory basis, but also because it could be used as a means of overcoming a real injustice which otherwise would be done to the citizens of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. The bills which either have passed through this chamber within the last few days, or are under consideration, would become acceptable to me if a post-war credits system were adopted as a part of their machinery, with such appropriate variations of the ratio of tax to compulsory loan as would substantially rectify the .undoubted inequalities in the incidence of this tax in the different States, when one takes into consideration that, on top of that tax, there is a certain measure of State taxation other than income tax still to be met. Apart from my plea, that this proposal should be adopted as a means of compensation, I support it on its own merits. I believe that the time will come when many people in Australia would thank God for a post-war credit, for they would then have something to their advantage when the transition stage between wartime activity and peace-time activity is reached. With all due deference to the honorable member for Bass (Mr. Barnard), with whose rather extravagant remarks I entirely disagree, I say that there are many people in Australia to-day, particularly single young persons of both sexes, who are making exceptionally good wages arising directly out of war-time activity. Many of them are making better wages than ever before, and whilst no doubt some of them are of a saving disposition and buy war savings certificates or bonds, others give no thought whatever to the morrow. For the latter class a system of compulsory loans or post-war credits would be an undoubted blessing in the years to come. When the war is over, and we are engaged in the difficult transition task of changing from war-time activity to peace-time activity many of these young people will be looking for other jobs, and I believe that they would bless the Treasurer who had the courage and foresight to introduce a scheme of this kind. I trust that the Treasurer will consider sympathetically the proposals of the Leader of the Opposition.

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