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Wednesday, 16 December 1914

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) .- I can assure honorable senators that there is nothing deep, devious, or subtle about the amendment. Senator Millen has raised a point regarding a Crown lease for which there is a re-appraisement of the rent. That would not be affected to the detriment of the lessee, because the calculation of value would be based on the increased rent For the purpose of illustrating my remarks, I have worked out a rough table. Suppose that the present value of a pastoral or Crown lease is based on the equivalent of a capital unimproved value of £10,000, and that the valuation made under the Act discloses a value of £30,000. There would be a taxable value of £10,000. The difference between the value on which the rent is based and the taxable value disclosed by the valuation made under the Act gives us a taxable value of £10,000. Let us now assume that there is a re-appraisement, and that the rent is based on a valuation of £15,000. According to the machinery in the Act, the taxable value then will be only £5,000. The fact that the lease was based on a certain value, and that after a time by re-appraisement that value was altered, is taken into consideration, and the Act provides that the Commonwealth shall only tax that difference. If that difference varies by reason of an increase or a decrease of rent, so will the tax vary. Therefore, our amendment does not in any way do what Senator Millen seems to fear it will do.

Senator Millen - What does it not do?

Senator PEARCE - It does not prevent the circumstances of the lessee from being taken into consideration, in the event of a re-appraisement which either increases or decreases his rent.

Senator Senior - Will you deal with the objection raised by Senator Gould?

Senator PEARCE - During the discussion in another place Sir William Irvine pointed out that, if the Land Tax Act was allowed to , go with this amending Bill, the Crown lessees might be taxable under the conditions of leases executed after the commencement of the Act; that it would not be so favorable to them ; in fact, that it might inflict injustice on them. As we realize here this morning, it is rather an obscure point, and one which could not be accepted off-handby the Government. We had to promise that the question would receive consideration. The attention of the Crown Law Officers was directed to the point, and, after consideration, they came to the conclusion that it is right that this amendment should be made. That is why the provision did not appear in the Bill as it came here. The question has had very serious consideration by legal minds, bothin the Government and in the Opposition, and also by the Crown Law Officers, who, after consideration, drafted the amendment to suit the necessities of the case.

Proposed new clause agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report adopted .

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