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Tuesday, 15 December 1914

Senator SENIOR - You have quietly evaded my question that the poor man, proportionately, pays more out of his earnings than the rich man pays.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I have pointed out that a great many men in humble positions are engaged in making, manufacturing, distributing, and supplying .the artificial wants of rich men, and that the latter consequently contribute indirectly to the revenue of the country.

Senator Needham - You have not tried to answer the question.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I think so.

Senator Ready - There is no adequate answer.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I know it is a popular thing with some men to endeavour to pull down the wealthier man, but I have not met a man who 'is not prepared to enter into this charmed circle if he can possibly do so. I ask Senator Ready whether, if he were able to make an income of £5,000, £10,000, or £15,000, he would not do so?

Senator Ready - Of course I would not !

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The understanding to-day seems to be to speak briefly, and therefore I do not intend to detain honorable senators much longer. I wish to raise my voice against the way in which the Government are attempting to deal with the question of taxation generally, and also the way in which they seem to have neglected the very necessary and primary condition in connexion with the' war trouble, when, of course, the means of |everybody become restricted, and that is, to reduce the expenditure as far as possible, and to carefully abstain from increasing the taxation.

Senator SENIOR - What would you do with unemployment?

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I have pointed out that by this very means the Government are causing more unemployment, so far as private enterprise is concerned. If I have an income of £5,000 or £10,000, which I expend in employing persons to deal with my property or business, and the income is reduced- by 50 per cent., or 10 per cent., or 5 per cent., necessarily it will lessen the employment. In very many instances the cost of the employment leaves a very narrow margin indeed to the man who is spending the money and supervising the whole of the work.

Senator Lynch - You have spoken about the encroachment on capital. What about the poor fellow whose capital is encroached upon when he pays far more for his land than he ought to do ?

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I am not saying a single word about that matter. Does the honorable senator expect to reduce the price of land by this land taxation?

Senator Ready - Yes; it has done it already.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Is that the object with which the Bill was introduced?

Senator Ready - It has steadied the price of land in Tasmania.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - I am talking about the position in the States generally. The whole question is how the land tax will act and re-act. You may provide the Government with an enormous revenue, but you may do so at the expense of the community generally. It is one of the greatest misfortunes to find every person seeking Government employment. I would far sooner see men seeking and obtaining employment from private individuals. When you put a man into the Public Service to a certain extent you take the enterprise out of him, but when he is put in private employment Ee endeavours to attain as good a position as his employer has ever occupied. There often comes to the man in private employment an opportunity which does not fall to the man in Government employ. How many public officers are in a position to put by any thing out of their salaries for their old. age? Many honorable senators wish to provide pensions for public officers, because they say that the salary of an officer is not sufficient to enable him' to provide for his old age. A man who works on his own account has an opportunity of improving his position to a far greater extent than has a civil servant.

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