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Thursday, 27 November 1941

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - This bill purports to give effect to the policy of the Government as set out in the budget. In dealing with taxation proposals we have to consider, first, the means by which money shall be obtained from the people, and, secondly, the effect that the extraction of such money from them will have on the social and economic life of the community. A fundamental principle of taxation should be that all sections of the community shall bear their proper share of the burden. Taxation is a means of obtaining money from the people by compulsion; it is a form of conscription, of wealth. For that reason, the burden should be distributed evenly among the people. In criticizing the budget proposals of the Fadden Government, the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) said that they introduced an element of compulsion into the life of the Australian people. What a remarkable statement, when we reflect that the honorable gentleman believes in compulsory voting, compulsory unionism, compulsory education, and so on! In normal times taxation differs considerably from taxation under war conditions. We can understand a government in times of peace seeking to exclude small incomes from taxation on the ground that the money so collected is, to a great degree, expended on public works and in providing materials for the benefit of the people as a whole, and in developing trade and commerce. The position is entirely different when a nation is at war, for then the bulk of the money extracted from the people is used in ways which will best ensure the safety of the nation.

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