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Friday, 29 November 1935

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - The motion for the first reading of the Appropriation Bill enables honorable senators to discuss many subjects. If we had not been fully seised of this fact before the commencement of the debate, it would have been borne in upon us by the observations of many honorable senators who have preceded me. I was interested in the statement made by Senator Johnston this morning. The honorable senator indulged in what I may term a tirade against execessive taxation which, he claimed, had been levied upon the people by the Commonwealth Government. Unfortunately he dealt with only one side of the national ledger - the taxation side - and omitted to mention in what respect expenditure could be reduced without interfering with important features of Government policy. While the Government has commitments which it cannot avoid, it must necessarily obtain the money from one of two sources - borrowing or the levying of taxes.

The Opposition has complained that the Government is attempting to rush this legislation through with undue haste. Those who hold this view argue that if the Senate had not wasted valuable time earlier in the session, it would not now be necessary to suspend the Standing and Sessional Orders to expedite the passage of this bill, which involves the expenditure " of many millions of pounds. I do not subscribe to this view. The Appropriation Bill may be regarded aa a synopsis of all the legislation which this Parliament has had under consideration and passed since the commencement of the session. For example, when Senator Johnston this morning spoke of what he termed the excessive taxation which had been levied on the people, he overlooked the fact that yesterday afternoon the Senate dealt with an important feature of the Government's financial policy - the Income Tax Bill - and he had the opportunity then to say what he said this morning and also the opportunity to submit amendments to the Government's taxation proposals.

The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) this morning, in the course of a long speech, read numerous extracts from the Melbourne Age newspaper belittling the Senate, and, I regret to say, the honorable senator appeared to endorse what the Age said.


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