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Friday, 25 September 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - I understand that, in accordance with a resolution of the Senate yesterday, these nine bills are to be dealt with as one measure. At this stage, I have but few comments to offer; but I should like to know the reason why the measure setting out the exemptions from sales tax is not before us.

Senator Sir George Pearce - It has not yet. been passed by the House of Representatives.

Senator COLLINGS - I feel impelled to say that, so far this session, the Senate lias had before it a jumble of matters for consideration. The subjects which have come before it are so related to the budget that they should not be discussed piecemeal. I realize, of course, that the Government has the right to decide the order of its business, but the Opposition regrets that it is forced to deal with legislation in this way. The sooner these nine bills are passed, and the Senate is able to devote its attention to other matters arising from the budget, the better the Opposition will be pleased. The Opposition welcomes the proposed reduction of sales tax, 'because it is a form of indirect, taxation, the burden of which is not fully realized by the people who pay it; but it fears that consumers will derive little benefit from these reductions, because retailers will find it almost impossible to pass them on. On those small items which make up the bulk of the purchases of the poorer sections of the community, there is little doubt that the advantage of this legislation will not be shared by consumers.

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