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Wednesday, 11 August 1926


Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - It has been stated by the Minister (Senator Crawford) that when the Government's road policy was announced, prior to the last -elections, the public was given to understand that a special tax would be levied, for the purpose of defraying the cost of the scheme. If that is so. I have no recollection- of it. I remember the roads policy being, received with a good deal of favour, but I think that it was generally understood that the Government had such an overflowing Treasury that it would have no difficulty in financing the scheme by means of surplus revenue. The definite promise given by the Prime Minister during, the election campaign, that there would be a reduction of taxation, had a greater influence on the electors than had even the ' Government's road- policy. Wherever I went during that campaign I stressed that this Government was one to which we could look for economical administration; that during its occupancy of the Treasury bench it had reduced taxation on several occasions, and that we could continue to look to it for further reductions of taxation, if that was at all possible. I pointed out that good seasons and high prices for primary products were likely to continue, with the result that large revenues would be received, and that because of careful administration the Government -would probably be able to further reduce taxation. The Minister will not deny that the prospect of reduced taxation had a great influence upon the result of the election. But what- do we find ? Notwithstanding that there is every, prospect of a larger surplus this year than in previous years-


Senator Crawford - There is no indication of- that.


Senator DUNCAN - Yes, there is; but, nevertheless, the Government, instead of reducing taxation, now brings forward a proposal to further increase it.


Senator Crawford - Should not honorable senators honour their election pledges 1


Senator DUNCAN - If the Minister says that Government supporters who oppose the Government's taxation proposals are not standing up to their election pledges, I remind him that by introducing this legislation the- Ministry has broken the pledge given by its members on the platform.


Senator Crawford - The Government gave no promise to reduce taxation.


Senator DUNCAN - It did. It stated that- it had reduced taxation in the past, and hoped to make further reductions in the future.


Senator Needham - The Government boasted that it had reduced taxation.


Senator DUNCAN - Yes. Yet it is now proposed to further increase taxa tion and that in a way which will create, the maximum of resentment in the minds of the people of this country. This is a class tax, although the Government has always contended that it does not stand for class legislation. The Government has taken credit for having reduced the amusement tax.


The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon J Newlands - The honorable senator is getting outside the scope of the bill.


Senator DUNCAN - The bill proposesto increase taxation.







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