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Thursday, 17 September 1942

Senator McLEAY (South Australia) (Leader of the Opposition) . - I understand that the Government is anxious to pass this bill and its two cognate measures as expeditiously as possible. We shall not oppose the measure. I take this opportunity to remind the Government once again of the statement contained in the budget speech to the effect that the Government is opposed to indirect taxation; it prefers direct taxation. The fact remains, however, that in the present financial year £14,400,000 is to be raised exclusively by additional indirect taxation. I shall repeat what I said last Friday. It is about time that the Government abandoned its policy of putting extra, money in one pocket of the taxpayer, in order to fulfil election promises, and then taking it out of another pocket by increased taxes. Let it say clearly what is its real intention. At a conference of returned soldiers held recently in Sydney, attention was drawn to increases of excise on beer and tobacco. Now, the rax on entertainments is to be increased. The soldier is entitled to beer, tobacco and entertainment at as low a cost as possible. Many soldiers on leave are more or less compelled to attend entertainments. So far, however, the Government has not decided to grant any concessions to them in these matters. I mention these facts in order that we shall not deceive ourselves that we are granting any real additional benefits to soldiers by way of increases of pay, when, at the same time, such increases are more than offset by increases of indirect taxes.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time and reported from committee without amendment or debate; report adopted.

Standing and Sessional Orders suspended.

Bill read a third time.

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