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Tuesday, 11 April 1961

Mr BARNES (MCPHERSON, QUEENSLAND) - It is undoubtedly so. Members of the Opposition are disappointed, I feel, to find these measures being successful. After all, the Government has a responsibility to preserve the prosperity of Australia and keep employment at the high level which has existed. We have never had a run of such prosperous years as we have had since this Government has been in power and had we not done something to preserve that prosperity we should have been condemned by the people. The Government had the courage to act instead of waiting, as one member of the Opposition stated that it could have waited, until the next Budget to increase the tax. That would have been too late. The boom would have burst. Tens of thousands of people would have been unemployed. After all, the tremendous sales of cars were affecting other sections of the community. They were affecting primary industry. A report by one of the larger retail firms recently blamed the tremendous sales of cars and the financing of those sales in the last part of last year for the drop in retail sales.

After all, these measures are achieving the results which the Government intended to achieve. We do not like to see taxes rise, of course. This Government has endeavoured all along to reduce taxes within the limits allowed by the requirements of the economy. The Opposition makes this plea for a refund of the additional sales tax which has been paid, but, unfortunately, it does not mention some things such as the case mentioned by the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Anderson), who told us of the country dealer who financed his own floor plan and who is now in a very unhappy position as a result. Honorable members opposite do not mention cases like that. They have no concern for people in that position.

In conclusion, I say that the arguments that we have heard to-day from the Opposition in support of the amendment are very poor indeed.

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