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Tuesday, 30 July 1946


Mr CONELAN (Griffith) .- The honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) took the honorable member for Boothby (Mr. Sheehy) .to task for having expressed his desire to protect Australian industries from overseas competition. The policy of the Australian Labour party has always been the protection of Australian industry from competitors in other parts of the world. The Tariff Board was set up to investigate the problems of Australian industries and to recommend the duties that ought to be imposed on imported goods in order to protect the Australian manufacturers of similar goods. I know that - the honorable member for Boothby is very interested in the progress of a certain industry which is developing in his elec- 1,orate. and is greatly perturbed about its difficulties with overseas competitors. The honorable member has rendered excellent service in assisting to protect that growing enterprise. A few days ago, an honorable member asked a question about the number of new industries which are being attracted to Australia.


The CHAIRMAN - Order! I ask the honorable member to relate his remarks to this income tax resolution.


Mr CONELAN - According to reports, 29 new industries may be established in this country for the purpose of making goods that we now import. The earnings of those enterprises will assist considerably to reduce income tax. Munitions establishments, which were built in Australia during the six years of war will be handed over to private enterprise. In fact, four-, teen new companies have taken over these establishments to manufacture goods which we have been purchasing abroad. Therefore, the policy which the Australian Labour party and the honorable member for Boothby advocate, is helping to encourage the establishment of new industries which will contribute considerable sums to Consolidated Revenue, and, in that way, .assist to relieve the people of the burden of income tax which they are now bearing.

Honorable members opposite frequently declare that the taxpayer without dependants in Australia is treated more generously than the taxpayer with dependants.

An examination of the official figures will expose the fallacy of that contention. A person without dependants, in receipt of £300 a year, will pay under the proposed new schedule income tax of £8 2s. and a social services contribution of £18 15s., making a total levy of £25 17s. per annum ; and a taxpayer with a dependent wife and one child will not pay any income tax, but his social services contribution will be £15 12s. per annum. A person without dependants in receipt of £350 per annum will pay income tax of £17 10s. per annum and a social services contribution of £22 ls. per annum, whereas a taxpayer with a dependent wife and one child on the same income will pay income tax of 14s. and a social services contribution of £25 10s. As the income tax is equivalent to only 3d. a week, I consider that that class of taxpayer should be exempt. A taxpayer with a dependent wife and two children, who has an income of £350 per annum will not pay any income tax, but will make a social services contribution of £21 3s. "With the consent of honorable members, I shall incorporate the proposed new scale in Hansard -

 

 

For his small social services contribution, a taxpayer is eligible to receive the following benefits : - Invalid pension, child endowment, widow's pension, unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, funeral benefit, maternity allowance, hospital benefit, tuberculosis benefit and housing rent subsidies. When the people cast an affirmative vote at the forthcoming referendum, the taxpayer will also be eligible for pharmaceutical benefits. In the next financial year the cost of social services will amount to £77,000,000. In return for a very small contribution, taxpayers with dependants in the lower ranges of income may receive substantial benefits. Honorable members opposite have always advocated that social services should be financed under a contributory scheme. Therefore, the Government's proposals should appeal to them, because a taxpayer makes a social services contribution.


Mr Archie Cameron - The Australian Labour party is turning another somersault.


Mr CONELAN - I should be pleased if the Labour party came straight out with it as Great Britain and New Zealand have done. In the near future, we shall have to do so. In New Zealand and Great Britain, social' services are also included in the taxation schedules. The amounts payable by persons on similar incomes in the three countries are -

Under the proposed new schedule of income tax, the people in receipt of incomes up to £2,000 a year will be in a better position than those with corresponding incomes in New Zealand. We should be very proud of that, and I have no doubt that when we face the electors at the end of September, they will return the Labour Government-







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