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Tuesday, 30 July 1946

Dame ENID LYONS (DARWIN, TASMANIA) . - Resuming my argument from the point at which it was interrupted by the time limit, I emphasize that the rebate system of tax introduced by- this Government gives the greatest advantage to high income earners. In respect of the first child of' a taxpayer a debate of £75 is allowed. The rate of tax is first calculated, and then it is multiplied by 75 to arrive at the actual reduction. For instance, if a taxpayer is paying 10s. in the £1, his deduction in respect of his first child will be 75 multiplied by 10s. If he pays at the rate of 2s. 6d. his rate will be only 75 halfcrowns. Here are some interesting figures on .that point. A man on £2,250 a year - and that is about the point at which this concession disappears - receives a deduction of £37 19s. from his income tax in respect of his first child. If he receives only £250 per annum, or £2,000 less, he is entitled to 'a rebate of only £11 in respect of his first child. During the debate that took place when these two systems of assessing tax were originally considered, I pointed out that it was entirely wrong in principle to allow a greater deduction for the first child than for the second and subsequent children. Any one who has had anything to do with bringing up a family, knows that two children are capable of doing more than twice as much damage as one. As the family increases the liability to damage may be said to proceed in geometrical progression. An only child has far less opportunity for mischief than if it were one of a number of . children. The greater the number of children in a family the greater the wear and tear imposed- on the health of the mother, and the greater the possibility of infectious diseases entering the home because of added contacts with the outside world. In considering the incidence of income tax, sufficient attention has never been given . to the needs of the family man. A taxpayer supporting his wife is entitled to a rebate of £100 .provided that his wife's separate income does not exceed £50 per annum; but in the case of a daughter supporting her mother, if the mother is in receipt of any income at all the daughter cannot claim a rebate. That is another version of the old adage that' the woman always pays. I strongly support the amendment moved by the Leader of the Australian Country party. Whilst I do not believe it will have the effect of increasing the birth-rate, I do believe that it will lighten the burden on the shoulders of those upon whom the whole future hope of this country rests.

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