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Tuesday, 2 May 1961

Mr WILSON (Sturt) .- It is easy for honorable members to throw cheap gibes at the Parliamentary Draftsman and his officers for the way in which this clause has been drawn. Honorable members who adopt that attitude show their own ignorance. If honorable members read this part of the bill, they will see that it applies only to life assurance companies. The only ones who will be concerned are the life assurance companies and the Commissioner of Taxation. All life assurance companies have their own actuaries who are mathematicians. Similarly, the Commissioner of Taxation has actuaries on his staff. Therefore, if an algebraic formula is the simplest way of expressing something that has to be expressed in legislation, why not express it as an algebraic formula? What do we learn algebra for? Apparently, a large number of honorable members either never learnt algebra or have forgotten it.

It is well known that many arithmetical problems are extremely difficult to work' out and even more difficult to express in English in any way other than by an algebraic formula. Therefore, although the layman may have difficulty in understanding it, those who have to apply these provisionswill not have such difficulty. They are expressed in the way in which such a complicated matter is most easily expressed. If we are going to tax or give exemptions from taxation to life assurance companies who carry on one of the most complicated and mathematical of all businesses, obviously any tax formula in relation to their income or any exemptions from taxation must of necessity be expressed in a complicated mathematical formula.

Mr Ward - You have said that ten times.

Mr WILSON - If I said it 100 times, J doubt whether the honorable member would have the brains to understand it. The honorable member for East Sydney simply does not want to understand it, no matter how simply it is explained. So far as this part of the bill is concerned, the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) has told us that he has conferred with the life assurance companies on it. The draftsman obviously would have conferred with the actuaries or mathematicians of the Taxation Branch, and as long as they understand it, that is all that matters. The honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) tried to make the provision appear very complicated by referring to the algebraic formula without giving the definitions of each item in that formula. Because of the way in which he delivered his speech, the provision was difficult to understand. If he had given the definitions first, any schoolboy who had learned elementary algebra would have been able to follow the simple algebraic formulas which are set out in this clause.

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