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Wednesday, 2 November 1910

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - I intend to move -

That after the word "days," line 3, the following words be inserted, "or in the case of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and South Australia before the expiration of sixty days."

Senator McGregor - And the honorable senator calls himself a constitutional lawyer ?

Senator ST LEDGER - What on earth is wrong with the Constitution now?

Senator McGregor - We cannot differentiate between the people of one State and those of another.

Senator ST LEDGER - In view of the suggestion of the Vice-President of the Executive Council that the proposal which I have outlined would be unconstitutional, upon the ground that it would discriminate between the people of one State and those of another, I move -

That the word " thirty," line 3, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "sixty."

In the first place, the notice of the date appointed must be published in the Gazette. That Gazette cannot be circulated amongst the people of the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia, and the payments made by them within sixty days, save in the most exceptional circumstances.

Senator McGregor - The land-owners are sending in their petitions now.

Senator ST LEDGER - As soon as the land-owners forward their returns, those returns must be revised by the Commissioner. Subsequently, notices of the assessments have to be inserted in the Gazette, . and those notices have to be circulated throughout Australia. Surely, for the purposes of the first assessment, we should afford every citizen an ample opportunity of knowing the price at which his land has been valued. I ask honorable senators to recollect that those who assess their own lands will probably pay the tax promptly, in view of the penalty which the Bill imposes for failure to do so. Those who do not pay promptly will doubtless wait for some time. When the returns have been forwarded by the land-owners the assessments will be made, so that the revenue will be flowing in all the time. But in the case of the distant States we ought, I think, to allow sixty days as the maximum period of grace.

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