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Friday, 12 July 1946


Mr CHIFLEY (Macquarie) (Prime Minister and Treasurer) . - I move -

1.   That the following rates be substituted for the rates of social services contribution set out in the First Schedule to the Social Services Contribution Act 1945: -

Schedule ofrates ofcontribution Payable in respect of the contributable income of a contributor other than a trustee.

(1)   The basic rate" of contribution for every £1 of the contributable income shall be Threepence, increasing uniformly by one-eighth of one penny for every £1 by which the contributable income exceeds £100, but the rate shall not in any case exceed One shilling and sixpence.

(2)   The concessional rate of contribution for every £1 of the contributable income shall be the rate which bears the same proportion to the basic rate as the amount by which the contributable income exceeds the rebatable amount bears to -

(a)   the contributable income; or

(b)   One hundred and eighty pounds, whichever is the lesser amount, but if the rate so ascertained exceeds the basic rate, the concessional rate of contribution shall be the same as the basic rate.

(3)   . The average rate of contribution for every £1 of the contributable income shall be the rate which would be the basic rate if the contributable income of the contributor was equal to his average income.

(4)   The concessional average rate of contribution for every £1. of the contributable income shall be the rate which would be the concessional rate if, in ascertaining the concessional rate in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (2) of this Schedule -

(a)   the average rate were substituted for the basic rate;

(b)   the average income were substituted for the contributable income; and

(c)   an amount which bears the same proportion to the average income as the rebatable amount bears to the contributable income were substituted for the rebatable amount.

2.   That, in lieu of the provisions of subsections (1.), (2.) and (3.) of section five of the Social Services Contribution Act 1945, the following provisions apply to the imposition of social services contribution: -

(a)   Subject to this paragraph, the rate of contribution shall be the basic rate.

(b)   Subject to sub-paragraph (d) . of this paragraph, in the case of a contributor . entitled to concessions, the rate of contribution shall be the concessional rate.

(c)   Subject to the next succeeding subparagraph, in the case of a contributor who is a primary producer to whose income Division 10 of Part III. of the Income Tax Assessment Act would apply, if income tax were levied under that Act 'upon his taxable income of the year of income, the rate of contribution shall be the average rate.

(d)   In the case of a contributor referred to in both sub-paragraph (6) and sub-paragraph (c) of this paragraph, the rate of contribution shall be the concessional average rate.

(e)   The rate of contribution payable by a trustee shall be the rate ascertained in accordance with the Second Schedule to the Social Services Contribution Act 1945.

(f)   Where, apart from this subparagraph, the amount of social services contribution payable under the foregoing sub-paragraphs would be greater than fifty per centum of the amount by which the contributable income exceeds-

(i)   in any case where the contributor is a person who would, if income tax were levied under the Income Tax Assessment Act upon his taxable income of the year of income, be entitled to a rebate of tax in his income tax assessment by reference to paragraph (a), (aa), (ab), (b), (ba), (bb) or (c) of subsection (2.) of section one hundred and sixty of that Act - One hundred and fifty-six pounds; or

(ii)   in any case where the contributor would not be entitled to any such rebate - One hundred and four pounds, the contribution payable in respect of that contributable income shall be fifty per centum of the amount of that excess.

3.   That, in the foregoing paragraphs, unless the contrary intention appears - " average income ", in relation to a contributor, mean the average income of that contributor, ascertained in accordance with the provisions of Division 16 of Part III. of the Income Tax Assessment Act, in respect of the year of income in relation to which the expression is used'; " contribution " mean social services contribution ; " contributor entitled to concessions " mean, in relation to any year of income, a contributor who would, if income tax were levied under the Income Tax Assessment Act upon his taxable income of that year of income, be entitled to a rebate or rebates under section one hundred and sixty of that Act; " rate of contribution " mean the rate of social services contribution payable in respect of the contributable income of a contributor; " the average rate " mean the average rate of contribution ascertained in accordance with paragraph (3) of the schedule of rates set out in paragraph 1 of this resolution; " the basic rate " mean the basic rate of contribution ascertained in accordance with paragraph (1) of the schedule of rates set out in paragraph 1 of this resolution ; "the concessional average rate " mean the concessional average rate of contribution ascertained in accordance with paragraph (4) of the schedule of rates set out in paragraph 1 of this resolution ; " the concessional rate " mean the concessional rate of contribution ascertained in accordance with paragraph (2) of the schedule of rates set out in paragraph 1 of this resolution; " the Income Tax Assessment Act " mean the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936- 1945, as amended from time to time; . " the rebatable amount ", in relation to a contributor to whom the definition of " contributor entitled to concessions " in this paragraph applies, mean the total of the amounts in respect of which the contributor would be entitled to rebates as specified in that definition. '

4.   That the Act to be passed to give effect to this resolution be deemed to have come into operation on the eleventh day of October, One thousand nine hundred and forty-five.

The social services contribution legislation, which the Government introduced last year, imposed a social service's contribution graduated to a maximum of 1s. 6d. in the £1. The Contribution Eating Act, in effect, provides that where the maximum rate does not apply, the amount of contribution payable by a contributor shall equal the amount of income tax he would pay, after deducting all rebates, if income tax were imposed on his taxable income at 871/2 per cent, of war-time rates.

A new and simplified scale of social services contribution has now been devised. The new scale is incorporated watches worth £20 or £30.To-day, in order to replace those watches, they will be obliged to pay about five times the pre-war price; When those men joined the Australian Imperial Force, Australia urgently required their services. They undertook to obey the orders of their commander and the Government undertook to pay them a certain amount of money a day and to feed and clothe them. That was the true position. Through no fault of their own they became prisoners of war. They obeyed the order to surrender. In Singapore, we received orders to "hold fire", and we surrendered at the order of a higher command. In that way, we became prisoners of the Japanese. From that time until our release, we were not fed or clothed by the Army. Therefore, I contend that the Army should now reimburse the exprisoners who had to make definite financial sacrifices in order to feed and clothe themselves. If they had been on leave in Australia where even war-time conditions were congenial, and lived for five or six days or longer in Sydney or Melbourne, the Army would have paid them a subsistence allowance of 3s. a day because while they were on leave the army was not maintaining them. But because our troops were prisoners in Malaya, where they had to sell their personal belongings in order to get a hit of food, and, more than anything else, because the war is over and they are not wanted again the Army is disregarding them altogether. Rudyard Kipling wrote of this attitude to the soldier in peace-time -

It's Tommy this an' Tommy that an Chuck him out, the brute! '

But it's ' Saviour of 'is country ' when the guns begin to shoot.

Now the Minister states that the treatment of prisoners of war has not been " illiberal ". Can the right honorable gentleman tell me of anything that prisoners of war received that soldiers who served in Australia vh rough out the war have not received? Prisoners of war have received the same payment as any ordinary soldier who was stationed at Royal Park, Melbourne, for instance, for the whole period of his service. However, the home-front soldiers received subsistence allowance at the rate of. 3s. a day for periods when the

Army was not feeding them. That is something that prisoners of war did not receive. In view of the injustice that is being done to 15,000 loyal Australians, this Government must accede to my request.







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