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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator McLEAY - .These proposals are the most important that have come before the Senate since I have been a' member of this chamber. I regret that in recent years, due particularly to the rigid control of the Labour party by the Labour caucus, the Senate has not functioned as a States House or a house of review as was intended by the framers of the Constitution. There is evidence that, during recent weeks, the Labour caucus has issued instructions that regardless of their personal views all members of the Labour party must support the Government's taxation proposals.

Senator Courtice - That is quite untrue.

Senator McLEAY - We know from reports which have appeared in the newspapers that even those members of the Labour party who spoke in opposition to these proposals in the House of Representatives supported them when the votes were taken. That is most regrettable; but what is more regrettable is that in recent years the political Labour party has been controlled by forces outside the Parliament. When these proposals were placed before the State Premiers, who represent all shades of political opinion, they were unanimously opposed.

Senator Foll - Self-preservation was uppermost.

Senator McLEAY - The framers of the Constitution intended the Senate to represent to the country the views of the States. A .study of the history of Australia since the inception of federation shows that the Senate ha? played an important part in the political life of this country. During the war of 1914-18, and on other occasions when Labour governments holding extreme views were in office, the country was fortunate in having in the Senate a majority of senators opposed to such views. On those occasions, this chamber rendered good service to Australia. I suggest - and I do so without heat and in no bickering spirit - that if this chamber is to perform its proper function, every honorable senator should, to the best of his ability, study the proposals placed before him before casting his vote.

As the proposals of the Government are intricate, I shall place some illuminating facts and figures before honorable senators. I have carefully examined the measures now under consideration, and it i.s my considered opinion that they reveal evidence of political cunning and legal trickery and that they contain grave inequalities and anomalies, under the camouflage of uniform taxation. .

Senator Armstrong - Those are serious charges.

Senator McLEAY - The Government attempts to camouflage its real intentions, because uniform taxation is not mentioned in its proposals. The lack of uniformity is revealed by' the necessity to introduce four separate bills.

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