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Thursday, 17 June 1915

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - Before the Minister replies, I wish to invite attention to the very unsatisfactory answer which I received this morning to a simple question that I addressed to the Land Tax Commissioner. At the head of that branch we have a highly -paid official. So far as I can ascertain, there has been no limit placed on the number of employees whom he can call to his aid. Yet when he is asked a simple question as to how much revenue an alteration in the Federal land tax will produce, he is unable to answer it. That is a condition of affairs which oughtnot to be permitted to continue for H single day longer than is necessary. L wish to know whether the Minister is prepared to give that officer more assistance, so that when information is required by members of this Parliament it may be made available to them in a less period than that indicated in the answer which has been supplied to me. He says that under the most favorable circumstances he could not reply to my question in le3S than six months.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT Gould - What was the question?

Senator GRANT - I desired to ascertain how much extra revenue would he produced from each State if the Federal land tax were amended so that the existing gradations would not apply to the different portions of the valued estates, and if the maximum tax were not less than Is. in the £1, whilst maintaining an exemption of £5,000. Of course I wish to see the Government- take the necessary steps to increase the land tax at an early date. The object of my inquiry was to ascertain what additional revenue would be obtained under the scheme which I have outlined, a scheme which was suggested by a gentleman from Tasmania some time ago.

I strongly protest against the time of the Senate being occupied in digging up historical records relating to Senator Bakhap. They are of not the slightest importance to me, whereas questions of the character which I put to the Land Tax Commissioner are of immense importance. Here is a wenequipped Department which is unable to answer a simple question in less than six months. What has the Minister to say in regard to it?

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