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Thursday, 21 May 1936

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - This clause, which is similar to a provision in the present act, is so drastic that it should be most carefully reviewed. In the ordinary course, such a procedure is not permissible. The power given to the Commissioner to collect the tax from a person who does not owe money to the Commissioner, but who owes it to a person indebted to the Commissioner, may lead to an extraordinary state of affairs. The person who owes money to the taxpayer may also be indebted to others urgently awaiting payment, but under this provision the Commissioner can demand the payment of the whole of the money due to him regardless of the claims of other creditors. The Commissioner has the power to seize sufficient of the cash assets of such persons to satisfy his claim.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator contends that, in the matter of claims, the Commissioner should not have priority.

Senator PAYNE - Not without recourse to law.

Senator Abbott - 'The Commissioner would have that right under a garnishee order issued by the court.

Senator PAYNE - Garnishee proceedingsput other creditors on the qui vive and give them an opportunity to get something also.

Senator Abbott - A debt to the Crown takes priority over other debts. That is the law.

Senator PAYNE - That may be the law but it does not seem to be equitable; I suggest that we should consider whether we should perpetuate this provision. I would like to hear the Minister' on this point.

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