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Thursday, 8 December 1927

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - I do not know to what extent the Leader of the Senate (Senator Pearce) will influence the opinions of Government supporters in regard to the amendment, but I feel confident that, if it is carried, it will not be accepted in another place. As I see it, the proposal is to give preference to foreign, as against English, investors.

Senator McLachlan - It is to right an injustice to Australian shareholders.

Senator NEEDHAM - I do not regard it in that light. Clearly it is intended to apply to absentee debentureholders and, in my opinion, will interfere with a reciprocal arrangement existing with Great Britain.

Senator McLachlan - It does not touch that point.

Senator NEEDHAM - So far as I can see, ihe difference between this proposal and the original provision in the bill is the difference between Tweedledee^ and Tweedledum. Britain taxes Australian investors who make profits in Great Britain. Why, then, should we not do the same in respect of company debenture-holders not resident in Australia ?

Senator McLachlan - At present we are unduly taxing the Australian shareholders in Australian companies.

Senator NEEDHAM - If the amendment is carried the revenue will suffer. It would be preferable to amend the company law.

Senator McLachlan - This does not touch the company law. lt has to do with international relations.

Senator NEEDHAM - Obviously the intention is to restore the bill to its original form by the insertion of certain words that were deleted in another place after a lengthy debate. As a matter of fact, I consider Senator Kingsmills Amendment to be double-barrelled. The honorable senator admitted that he was asking the committee to re-insert words that were deleted by another place. No honorable senator can be dogmatic in thi disscussion of a measure such as this ; but from my reading of the amendment, I am satisfied that it should not be accepted. I shall, therefore, vote against it.

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