Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 24 November 1959

Mr BURY (Wentworth) .- The House would do well to consider the facts that led the Government to bring in this bill. Any one who goes around motor showrooms or motor shows is immediately confronted with the fact that several makes of vehicles, which are in fact phoney passenger station wagons, are being offered. One can buy a car and separately buy the handles, the seat and a kind of very elementary do-it-yourself kit to turn what is legitimately a commercial vehicle into a passenger vehicle. I do not know what the practice is in country areas, but I know that large numbers of these vehicles are sold around the city, and they are mainly sold for passenger purposes, with this arrangement to dodge taxation.

In opposing the measure, the Opposition is really upholding the tax dodger. The successful opposition of this legislation would not alter the sales tax; all it would do would be to encourage a new line of phoney station wagons. General MotorsHolden's Limited and the Ford Motor Company of Australia Proprietary Limited perhaps would turn out a line of vehicles for no other purpose than to provide easy conversion from one type to another. All this bill does is to correct a tax anomaly. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell) and other Opposition speakers have ranged widely in their talk about direct taxation as against indirect taxation. At other times, Opposition speakers have suggested, with a certain degree of reason, that we spend too much on television sets and motor cars and too little on education. Sales tax is a tax on consumption, and with passenger vehicles it is to a large degree a tax on luxury consumption. How the honorable member for Fremantle (Mr. Beazley) could reasonably argue that this tax is inflationary is extremely difficult to follow.

What would happen if this measure were thrown out? The sales tax on motor vehicles would not be reduced. Of course, it is very popular to advocate that the sales tax on motor cars should be reduced. We would all like to see this done. There is not an honorable member in the House who buys a car or whose constituents buy cars from time to time who would not like to see sales tax reduced. But we should all try to prevent the infringement of sales tax laws, particularly when it is done by this basically dishonest practice. The Opposition is in effect underwriting sales tax evasion and dishonest practices in opposing this bill, and there is no other purpose in their opposition. I suggest that, instead of discussing the effect of direct and indirect taxes, we should stick to the substance of the bill and that is, within the existing framework, to stop tax evasion. It does the Opposition no credit to come out in favour of tax evasion in this way.

Suggest corrections