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Tuesday, 2 May 1961

Mr HAYLEN (Parkes) .- I should like to congratulate the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) on getting a Chinese laundry bill into a parliamentary document. Einstein himself would be unable to analyse this. If honorable members agree with the argument of the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson), he should make his next speech in albegra. We would all be in the chamber to listen to him. I rose, Mr. Chairman, to speak on a more serious matter. I think there is a printer's error in the equation " / equals / minus 1 01 plus 1 On over 20/ ". Should not that be " / equals / plus 10/1 plus 10/, plus 20/ over 10n"? I am sure it should. The more I look at this the more it becomes crystal clear that there has been a grievous error.

If this is not the professor's note to his wife to put the milk out and lock up the cat something serious has been done to d equals 10/ minus 3/ over 10/. It is the recurring 10/ to which I take exception. I think that if this formula is not examined under the microscope there will be a lot of trouble. It would have been much simpler for the Treasurer to have stood up and said, " The insurance companies are bloated with funds. We want 30 per cent, of them invested in the loans of this country and tn hell with 1 m over 5* over 10m minus eb."

Mr. CLEAVER(Swan) r9.421- - It is to be regretted that the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr. Clyde Cameron) has tried to bring ridicule upon the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) and 'hose associated with the drafting of the bill. It is rather significant that the honorable member for Hindmarsh did not participate in the debate on the second reading of the bill. He has used the committee for this purpose. He was most political in his remarks, which were contrary to the general presentation of the views of the Opposition by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Calwell).

In the contribution which I endeavoured to make to the second-reading debate, I referred to these provisions as among the most complex in the income tax legislation. As an aside, 1 admitted that they were complex, even to students of taxation law, of whom there are many, I am sure, on the Opposition benches as well as on this side of the chamber. Perhaps my comment reminds them of the many hours that they devoted to trying to understand, in their student days, section 115 of the principal act, which deals with the income tax upon life assurance companies. T said that it seemed inevitable that there should be some complexity in a law of this kind. Of course, we have to make provision for the legal eagle, the taxation consultant, and others who have to seek a living in trying to interpret laws of this kind. I suppose that we just have to accept the fact that there are aspects of ' such laws which cannot be put into simple every-day terms or even simple formulas. I have Keen amused, as have members of the Opposition, by some of the comments which have been made. Many and varied have been the comments from my colleagues behind me. There is a reminder, surely, in this formula that our days of algebraic knowledge seem to be getting very far distant.

Let me remind the committee that the Opposition, at one stage in the debate, said that these amendments to the income tax legislation represented a massive reorganization of the income tax law as it related to the life assurance companies. That has been denied,' and that denial should be underlined in this committee debate. This is not a re-enactment of section 115. It should be recognized that the formula, complicated as it is, has been part and parcel of the section since this provision was instituted, I think, in 1933. An amendment which is proposed to the formula is now before us.

I think that we have to recognize, as a committee, that this formula could have been criticized, as it has been criticized in this debate, on many occasions in other years. I do not think that it has been criticized in that way. We have to accept it as part and parcel of existing income tax law. Clause 9 deals with deductions in relation to the calculated liabilities of life assurance companies. As the honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson) said, an actuary is associated with every life assurance company and he is trained to take in his stride a formula of this kind.

This formula originally provided for a 4 per cent, deduction in relation to calculated liabilities. It was later amended to 3 per cent., which exists under the law to-day. Now, a bonus plan has been introduced. In conclusion, I suggest to the committee that in bringing in this incentive or bonus plan relating to section 115 of the act, we are bringing in a further complication to a section which is already complicated, as I have said, even to students of taxation law. I have underlined, I trust, reasonably successfully, the fact that this is not a new scheme. It is only an amended formula. It is a complication of what we can rightly term an already complicated piece of legislation.

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