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Thursday, 28 November 1935

The CHAIRMAN - Does the honorable senator propose to connect his remarks with the request?

Senator E B JOHNSTON - Those are my reasons for making the request. Presently the Government will not know what to do with its surplus revenues. No justification can be. advanced for this high rate of tax, and I hope that the committee will decide to reduce it to 1 per cent.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia - Minister for External Affairs) [4.59]. - I am sure that the committee will not support this request. The Commonwealth Government could not possibly accept a request of that character. Senator Johnston is quite incorrect in saying that the proposed remission of the property tax is the only concession to be made to taxpayers this year.

Senator E B Johnston - The only concession in respect of income tax.

Senator Sir GEORGEPEARCE.The budget shows that the proposed remissions for the year are: Special tax on property income, £200,000; sales tax exemptions, annual value £200,000 (for the remainder of this year, £150,000) ; primage, £45,000; excise on Australiangrown tobacco, £90,000; excise on cigarettes, £25,000; total, £510,000. Some of those remissions will operate for only a part of the year, so that the annual value of the concessions will greatly exceed £500,000. Senator Johnston, in referring to the surplus of £1,900,000, should remember that Commonwealth revenue does not flow in regularly, and a temporary surplus for four months of the year does not necessarily indicate a surplus at the end of twelve months; there may be a deficit. The honorable senator spoke as if the £S,000,000 of trust funds were available for immediate use; that is quite incorrect, because,, as I indicated previously, some of that money is earmarked for various purposes. For instance, some of it represents the provision made for defence. I therefore ask the committee not to support the request.

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