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Wednesday, 2 November 1910


Senator WALKER (New South Wales) - - ^ seems almost a waste of breath to attempt to discuss this Bill. I have always understood that it was courteous for Ministerial supporters to remain in the Chamber for the purpose of hearing the arguments which are adduced in opposition to the measures submitted by the Government. But all the arguments which have been advanced from this side of the Chamber have not had the slightest effect upon honorable senators opposite. I can only conclude that they have received their instructions elsewhere. An excellent proposal has been submitted by Senator Vardon, and yet it has been treated in the most contumelious fashion.


Senator Stewart - What is the proposal ?


Senator Millen - Here is a Ministerial supporter who has just entered the Chamber, and who inquires, " What is the proposal?"


Senator WALKER - Of course, Senator Stewart is a law unto himself, and he occasionally votes upon our side. Indeed, Senators Gardiner and Stewart are the only Ministerial supporters who have had the pluck to vote against the Government upon this Bill. I trust that the Vice-President of the Executive Council will yet see his way to accept the eminently fair proposition of Senator Vardon. 1 cannot understand why a law should be enacted which practically takes it for granted that every land-owner is a rogue or an expert land valuer. 1 look forward with considerable dread to what will occur under this Bill. Personally, I intend to make my valuation lighter than what I should regard as the probable assessment.


Senator Millen - This is another form of blackmail.


Senator WALKER - I shall submit to being blackmailed rather than run the. risk of being pulled up as a defaulter, and taken to be guilty because I cannot prove myself to be innocent. I do not profess to be a prophet, but if this Bill passes, I believe that there will be such a revulsion of feeling that the Government themselves will be compelled to bring in an amending Bill next session. One honorable senator told me that he could not trust himself to get up to speak in regard to the measure, because he was so angry that he might say something that he might regret.


Senator Stewart - We will put up the tax another 2d. or 3d. in the £1 next session.


Senator WALKER - If I had my way, I would not make any exemption ; I would make every land-owner pay something. As it is, not more than 5 per cent, of the land-owners of Australia will pay this tax. Really, one cannot stand this sort of thing without a protest.







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