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Wednesday, 20 May 1936

Senator ARKINS - That is so. The concessional deduction allowed in this respect in New South Wales was very considerate to the taxpayer.

Senator Leckie - What government brought in that provision?

Senator ARKINS - I believe it was a Nationalist government. I am sorry that the Minister cannot see his way clear to accept the suggestion made by Senator Duncan-Hughes.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - For the reasons I have stated it would be unwise for the Government to take such a step at this stage.

Senator ARKINS - It might be; but, as Senator Leckie said earlier, are we to pass measures in this chamber merely by saying " Amen " to them ? I believe that ultimately a concessional deduction for dental attention, as has been allowed hitherto in New South Wales, will have to be provided for in our income tax legislation generally. After all, when dealing with these matters we must bear in mind that not only people with big incomes pay tax, but also a large number who find it difficult to meet their assessments. Even senators may sometimes find it difficult to meet their income tax. We realize, of course, that income taxation is fair and equitable, but owing to the fact that the tax assessed on an income enjoyed for a certain period has to be paid in a period when the taxpayer's income has diminished, difficulties in payment very often arise. We know that many people with small incomes have to meet bills of from £30 to £40 annually for dental attention. It is reasonable, therefore, to allow this expenditure to be deducted from income. If Senator Duncan-Hughes moved in this matter, I would support him, if only for the reason that the abolition of concessional deductions for dental attention by the Government of New South Wales is bound to react badly on taxpayers in that State. This is one of those comparatively small concessions, which, in hard times, many people appreciate very much indeed. I should like to express my opinion by a vote on this matter.

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