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Wednesday, 23 November 1960

Mr BEAZLEY (Fremantle) .-I do not want to canvass the relationship between the House of Representatives and the Senate except to say that on a number of occasions the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has twitted the Labour Party for its platform when he has gone round the country.It is true that the Labour platform provides for the abolition of the Senate. It is also true that the Labour platform provides for the abolition of sales tax, and if the Treasurer would go round the country accusing the Labour Party of intending to abolish sales tax, I, for one, would be very grateful. If the Government is accepting this amendment from the Senate because it is intrinsically a good amendment, I think that is just common sense. The only thing I cannot understand is why we are constantly being treated to the spectacle of the Government saying that the amendment is impossible, or wrong in principle, and ultimately accepting it.

It is perfectly true that the Labour Party and dissidents in the Liberal Party in the Senate did cause this particular amendment to be made. I am grateful for anything that reduces sales tax in any direction, and I imagine that when milk cans were exempted originally from sales tax there was a hygienic reason for it. I should imagine that there was then an intention to encourage handlers to have as many milk cans as possible for, the more they had, the more likely it was that they would be clean. If the principle that the Senate had in mind in exempting bulk carriers of milk from the imposition of sales tax was the hygienic motive to encourage the use of these vehicles, then I think it was very sensible. But I also think that if that is the principle upon which exemption rests then there are many other forms of hygienic transport such as freezer vans for meat and so on that ought equally to be encouraged. Consequently, I think that the amendment which the Government is accepting is being accepted wisely by it. and the constitutional position between the Houses leaves me cold at the moment on an issue like this. It seems to me to be a relatively minor one, but it would be a good thing if these amendments were not brushed aside when they were suggested originally only to be accepted ultimately.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Resolution reported.

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) proposed -

That the resolution be adopted.

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