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Thursday, 27 November 1941

Senator KEANE (Victoria) (Minister for Trade and Customs) .- The Opposition agreed with the Government that a committee should consider this matter, and a certain recommendation made by that committee is now embodied in the bill. Senator Allan MacDonald cannot have it both ways. I was amazed to hear that he intended to submit this amendment. I thought that some effort would be made to see that the understanding arrived at was honoured. Members of the Opposition held a party meeting, and must have reached an understanding with regard to the bill. With much of what Senator Allan MacDonald has said, I agree. I, too, have an interest in the mining industry, but I have to adapt my views to the facts of the case. Assuming that I was in receipt of an income of £500 per annum, and paid £50 in calls on mining shares in the course of a year, under the pre-war rates, I was allowed a tax deduction of £1 14s. 6d., but the deduction that would have been allowed under the new rates, if not amended, would have been £7 18s. 4d. If I had been in receipt of an income of £2,000 a year, and had paid £200 in calls, I should have been allowed a tax deduction of £17 under the old rates, but if the present amendment were accepted, I should be allowed a deduction of £126. I contend that that would not be equitable.

Senator Foll - All that the Opposition now asks is that a deduction of £50 be allowed from taxable income. A taxpayer who had paid £200 in calls would still be taxed in respect of the remaining £150.

Senator KEANE - The small men in the mining industry are not interested in the big " shows " to any great degree. Small groups of miners are not connected with companies, and seldom claim the deduction in respect of calls. The amendment of the principal act proposed in the bill would withdraw the deduction from assessable income of calls paid by a taxpayer in the year of income on shares owned by him in a mining company or syndicate carrying on mining operations in Australia for gold, silver, base metals, rare minerals or oil, or in any company carrying on afforestation in Australia as its principal business. In substitution for the deduction of those calls, it is proposed to allow a rebate of tax in respect of the calls. The provision for this rebate is included in clause 24 of the bill. I cannot accept Senator Allan MacDonald's amendment.

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