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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Senator FRASER (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) (Minister for External Territories) - That wa-s in peacetime.

Senator SPICER - That is true, but there is no justification in war-time or peace-time for indulging in a subterfuge in order to undermine the Constitution.

Senator COLLINGS - That is an expression of opinion.

Senator SPICER - I hope to be able to satisfy some honorable senators opposite that I have stated a plain fact.

Let us consider one or two of the fundamental provisions of the instrument which governs the relations between this Parliament and the Parliaments of the States. The Commonwealth Parliament has conferred upon it by the Constitution an unqualified power, except in one respect, to impose taxes.

Senator Courtice - But it has priority.

Senator SPICER - I do not agree with the honorable senator. It has power to impose taxes for the purposes of the Commonwealth to the degree that it considers necessary, but the Constitution deliberately provides that this power shall be exercised subject to the condition that this Parliament shall not discriminate between States or parts of States. That is a condition of the compact upon which the people of this country agreed to become united in a federation. How is it suggested that that provision is overcome by the scheme which is presented to us to-day? The actual effect of this scheme is that it discriminates, for the purpose of Commonwealth income taxation, between citizens of the States.

Senator Collings - The purpose is to prevent discrimination.

Senator SPICER - The facts are perfectly plain. If the scheme be put into operation, a citizen of Victoria will pay more tax for Commonwealth purposes than a corresponding citizen in Queensland or New South Wales.

Senator Large - Because New South Wales and Queensland taxpayers have been paying higher taxes for years.

Senator SPICER - I am glad to have that admission.

Honorable senators interjecting,

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