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Thursday, 8 December 1927

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) [8.47]. - I ask the honorable senator to have some regard to the embarrassing position in which the Government would be placed if the bill were returned to the other House with this provision restored. I understand that no vote was taken there, but the Government realized that there was an overwhelming majority definitely against its proposal. No one would accuse the Prime Minister of not being clear when he explains any matter. He explained this on more than one occasion, but without effect. Because one member of the House of Representatives, during a stroll in the garden, informed the honorable senator that he was under a misapprehension, the Government is not bound to assume that there has been any change of either heart or conviction. I ask hon orable senators to reject the amendment, realizing that there is an implacable majority against it in another place-

Senator Kingsmill - Did not the Government place itself in this awkward position?

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - It withdrew the provision, because a majority of honorable members was definitely opposed to it.

Senator Sir HENRYBAR WELL (South Australia) [8.48].- This is a bill, the object of which is the removal ofsome of the anomalies and inequities that exist in the present IncomeTax Assessment Act. We have had an anomaly pointed out and explained clearly by Senator Kingsmill. That honorable senator, quite rightly, has moved an amendment aid asked us to agree to it. What is the position in which we find our selves? Apparently we are asked to reject thisproposal,whichwethinkisjust and reasonable, because the Government forsome reason or other saw fit to withdraw a similar provision when the bill wasbefore another place. I am not disposed to vote against my own conscience. I didnot know that the amendment of thehonorable senator was similar to the provision which was withdrawn in another place until that statement was made to-night. Two members of the other House explained the position to me, but notintermssimilartothoseinwhichit hasnow been explained. I was told that it was a tax on profits, and I agreed that the Government acted unwisely in bring ingthe matter forward; but now we are told that it is a tax on interest which has to be paid by the Australian shareholders of companies that borrow money abroad. If the honorable senator persists with his amendment I promise him my wholehearted support. If he accepts the suggestion of the Government and withdrawsit,aswasdoneinanotherplace,I shallbe sorry. I cannot see that it will place the Government in any false or embarassing position. Honorable senatorsnow know that there was a misunderstanding when the provision waswithdrawn. Surely, then, the Government would be justified it supportingtheamendmenthere, and sending it on to see if something can be done. When the matter is fully explained there may be a majority of honorable members in anotherplace in favour of it. I cannot understand any reasonable man opposing it. Iam perfectly certain that the two honorablememberswhospoketome would not have opposed it if they had realized its effect. I therefore urge the Government not to adhere to the stand it has taken up, and I suggest that Senator Kingsmill should stand firm.

Senator Kingsmill - That is my intention.

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