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Friday, 10 December 1965

Mr HAROLD HOLT (HigginsTreasurer) . - in reply - The honorable member for Sturt (Mr. Wilson), as is well known from his earlier contributions to this category of legislation, holds strong views on these matters. As is right he has put those views again to the House today in quite strong terms. I would not like the House to believe from my silence that the honorable member's attitude represents a realistic view of the situation as the Government sees it. Nor do I believe that his attitude represents the general attitude of honorable members who support the Government and this measure. The honorable member said that the Bill was contrary to Liberal philosophy. This legislation has been hammered out in the Government, which is composed predominantly of members of the Liberal Party. After a good deal of discussion the Bill has received the support of the majority of Government supporters in this House. The honorable gentleman may express his view of what is a Liberal attitude on these matters. Here we have on the one hand the devices employed which have operated unfairly to the general body of taxpayers. In the eyes of the Ligertwood Committee, which studied this matter exhaustively, the only way to deal with this matter is through the exercise of a discretion by the Commissioner of Taxation. I do not find that proposition inconsistent with our general political philosophy or with our general economic and social objectives.

As to the tests, all but one - the test that there should be a contribution by the employer to the fund - have flowed from the recommendations of the Ligertwood Committee. So 1 would say that what the honorable gentleman has said as to the likely effect of the legislation has ranged from the alarmist to the fanciful. Certainly nothing in the experience of the formation of new funds since the legislation was first introduced would suggest that the legislation has had any deterrent or inhibitive effect on the channelling of the savings of the community into this type of institution. The time is hardly appropriate for a more detailed discussion of these matters. The Government has made it abundantly clear that it will consider constructive suggestions which may reach it. We have already incorporated certain amendments. I would expect that in the autumn session we will be in a position to look at further proposals which may reach us as a result of the operation of the legislation. In the meantime I think the House will serve the country well by adopting this legislation in its present form.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

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