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Thursday, 17 September 1942

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- I am not concerned with the States as such; I am concerned only with the individuals who live in those States, and I am a little bit dubious in regard to this matter. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator McLeay) complimented the Government upon its generosity in compensating the States for the loss of the entertainments tax field. By paying such a compliment, one is saying, in effect, "For once in your life you are not robbers. Apparently you have turned over a new leaf and reformed ". But Senator Foil said that the Government was entirely at fault. Apparently he contends that the Commonwealth Government should have robbed all the States except Queensland. I see neither generosity nor excessive honesty in this bill. The proposal is to return to the States the amounts that they collected by way of entertainments tax last year. Apart altogether from the sums which the Commonwealth will refund to the States, this measure will provide the source of a considerableamount of revenue. I have no quarrel with that. I have always endeavoured to give to this Government credit when it has deserved it, but in this case I cannot see that any particular credit is due. However, I trust that honorable senators opposite will not fall from grace and accept Senator Foil'ssuggestion that all the States, with the exception of Queensland, should be robbed. I believe that the Government recognises that it has an honest duty to the people of Australia as a whole, and that it will treat the various States according to their lights, although, judging by some previous actions, treating the States according to their lights would present a. sorry sight. This bill provides that the Commonwealth Government shall return to the States that which legitimately belongs to them, and therefore I have no fault to find with the measure.

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