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Friday, 26 July 1946


Mr FRANCIS - These men should be exempt from the payment of taxes for a further period.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! I remind the honorable member that the committee is dealing with a message relating to tie imposition of rates of tax upon incomes.

Mr FRANCIS - Ex-servicemen should not be liable to pay income tax during the next twelve months. I submit that I am in order.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - 'Order! I shall not have the honorable member questioning the ruling of the Chair in that way.

Mr FRANCIS - I am not questioning any ruling, but am submitting, with due respect, that men who fought for their country should be entirely exempt from the payment of taxes for a further, period. They have not been given a fair deal. Many thousands of exservicemen are facing difficult problems. Among them i3 the problem of finding homes for themselves and their families. Taxes are paid to provide homes for them, but where are the homes that they need ? The story of housing is a tragic one.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN - Order! The honorable member will not be permitted to proceed along those lines. The Chair has ruled that this is a resolution relating to the rate of tax. The Chair has been tolerant with the honorable member, but he must now confine his remarks to the question before the Chair.

Mr FRANCIS - There are three forms of taxation in this country. One of them is a direct tax on incomes. There- is also indirect taxation, and there is a social services tax. Combined, those taxes are the -highest in the world. Ex-servicemen are required to pay their share of those taxes. I claim that they should not be called upon to do so for another twelve -months. The basis of these rates of tax is wrong, as no proper consideration has been given to married men with family responsibilities. Moreover, provision is made for a means test before social service benefits provided by a special social service tax, can be paid. Many thousands of persons in the community pay the social service tax, but because they are not in necessitous circumstances, they are not entitled to participate in the fund so provided. I claim also that the rates of tax' before the committee are ill-founded in that no regard is paid to the development of this country -r the needs of primary and secondary industries. A nation cannot develop when government expenditure in time. of peace is as great as when the nation is at war. The rates of tax in the proposal before us are ill-balanced, because they do not make adequate provision for those who served their country well in its fighting services for periods of up to six years, and because the needs of primary and secondary producers have not been given proper consideration. I remind the committee that the proportion of men in primary industries who enlisted in the armed forces was greater than in any other section of the community. To-day, primary producers are facing many difficulties, among them being a shortage of necessary materials and commodities.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Order! I again remind the honorable member that this is a resolution dealing with the rates of tax, and that his remarks have nothing to do with the subject before the Chair.

Mr FRANCIS - I submit that the rates of tax should have some relationship to production.


Mr FRANCIS - For the reasons that I have given I ask the Treasurer to consider the amendment favorably. It should appeal to the right honorable .gentleman if he wishes Australia to advance instead of remaining stationary, as is the position to-day. Australia is again on the verge of a depression created by the Government, because it will not reduce taxes. Inflation cannot be avoided if taxes are not reduced. Last night the proposed reductions of taxes were shown to be hopelessly inadequate because of the many problems facing this country. I again point out that taxes amounting to £42,000,000 have not been collected and that assessments covering an additional £50,000,000 of taxes were not sent out at the proper time. If this £92,000,000 had been collected a further substantial re'duction of taxation could have been made. I strongly support the amendment.

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