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Tuesday, 2 May 1961


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - I would not have bothered to rise had I not felt impelled, first, to refer to a point raised by my friend, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr. Crean) and, more particularly, to deal with one of the remarks made by the honorable member for Moreton (Mr. Killen). The honorable member complained about the mumbo-jumbo that has been inserted in the bill,, and he proceeded to blame the bureaucrats, as he was pleased to describe them, for this kind of mumbo-jumbo.


Mr Peters - What impertinence!


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I agree. Every one knows, including the honorable member for Moreton, that it is not because of any fault on the part of the bureaucrats, as he calls them, that we are considering what I think is an almost outrageous piece of legislation. I give it this description because nobody, apart from a very few mathematicians, will ever understand it. I marvel that even an Einstein could work out these formulas. I must admit that most of my mathematics was learned counting sheep, but when I hear such a learned gentleman as the honorable member for Moreton frankly admit that he looks upon this clause as nothing but mumbo-jumbo, I do not feel so bad about my failure to understand it. In any case I think it was most unfair of the honorable member to blame the bureaucrats. He knows very well that the persons who should be blamed are those occupying the back benches on the Government side of this chamber - and probably including the honorable member himself - who brought pressure to bear upon the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt), who never intended, when these provisions were first contemplated, that such mumbo-jumbo should be used. When the right honorable gentleman said that he proposed to bring in legislation of this kind he made it clear, at any rate to me, that he intended to do so in a straightforward manner, that the legislation would be easily understood, and that he was going to come straight to the point and show clearly what he wanted. It is people like the honorable member for Moreton - if he, personally, was not involved - who brought pressure to bear upon the Treasurer, who was forced to go to the bureaucrats and ask them to produce a provision to give effect, not to his wishes and not to their wishes, but to the wishes of the pressure groups in various electorates on whose behalf representations were made by their parliamentary representatives. I can well imagine that the bureaucrats would not be very happy about the Treasurer's request to get round what should have been a simple straightforward proposition in this indirect, politely hypocritical way. I venture to wager that the bureaucrats were none too pleased over this.

To suggest that it was their baby, and that they virtually forced the Parliament to accept this stupid piece of legislation is quite unfair, and completely opposed to the facts. Nobody knows better than do the honorable member for Moreton and the other glum-faced people who sit behind him and at his side that the people really responsible for this are not the bureaucrats but those, including the honorable member himself, who now criticize the bureaucrats for it. Before 1 vote for this measure - I might have to vote against it or even abstain - I should like the Treasurer to explain to my satisfaction what he means by this formula -

 

I should like the right honorable gentleman to explain in simple, easily understood terms what that means so that I can explain it simply to any of my constituents who are caught up in this legislation and have to pay taxes accordingly. No member of the Parliament has the right to vote on any proposal unless he can walk out of the House and explain in simple terms to the people who elected him what the legislation he voted for really means.

Then, I would like the Treasurer to explain these paragraphs -

 

I am certain to have constituents come to me with questions about this measure, and I want to be in a position to tell them that I understand it. I do not want to admit that I voted for something I did not understand. The Treasurer has a duty not only to me but also to the other 121 members who can vote on this bill to explain simply how this measure will work out. I should like the right honorable gentleman to explain this also (2.) In the application of the last preceding subsection in relation to a life assurance company in relation to a year of income - a is the calculated liabilities of the company as at the end of the year of income;

That is simple. Then it goes on - b is the value, as at the end of the year of income, of the assets included in the insurance funds of the company, being assets from which the company derives assessable income;

That also is simple. Then it goes on - c is the value, as at the end of the year of income, of all the assets included in the insurance funds of the company;

The succeeding lines are not quite so simple -

 

The next part is very simple because it states - i is, subject to the next succeeding section, the cost of the assets of all the Australian statutory funds of the company; / is, subject to the next succeeding section, the cost of the assets of all the Australian statutory funds of the company other than superannuation statutory funds; k is the cost of the public securities included in the assets of all the Australian statutory funds of the company; / is the cost of the public securities included in the assets of all the Australian statutory funds of the company other than superannuation statutory funds; m is the cost of the Commonwealth securities included in the assets of all the Australian statutory funds of the company; and n is the cost of the Commonwealth securities included in the assets of all the Australian statutory funds of the company other than superannuation statutory funds.

Will the Treasurer, for the benefit of all honorable members, elucidate what that means? He should be able to explain in simple, clear, easily understood terms what it means, because when this bill becomes law I shall have to tell my constituents what their liabilities are under these provisions.







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