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Wednesday, 11 November 1964

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) . - I wish to support the amendment. I did not intend to speak on the Bill because I do not think 1 know very much about it, any more than any other honorable senator. I think there are only about four people in this chamber who know anything about the Bill in detail and that is why I think we should have this select committee. The Minister for Civil Aviation (Senator Henty), in his reply, kept confusing the issue by speaking about tax avoidance when he meant tax evasion. Tax avoidance is strictly legal and everyone in this chamber engages in it.

Senator Henty - I am sorry, but the honorable senator does not understand the Bill.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - I am happy about that - I do not understand the Bill. But the Minister does not understand words.

Senator Henty - This is avoidance. It is not evasion at all.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - There is avoidance and evasion. They are two different propositions altogether. Everyone is entitled to avoid income tax if they can do it legally. That is quite acceptable and every honorable senator in this chamber does it. There is not one senator who does not try to avoid paying income tax if he can get out of it.

Senator Wedgwood - Speak for yourself.

Senator TURNBULL (TASMANIA) - All right. I have no halo. As Senator Wright pointed out it is tax evasion that we should stop and it is tax evaders we should penalise. Senator Henty, practically with tears dripping down his cheeks, spoke about the small commercial leaseholders but forgot about the big ones whom he allowed to escape his net. He talks about the Ligertwood report but forgets to say that implementation of these proposals was recommended three years ago. The Government is. quite happy to let the big people go free. It is quite happy with the three insurance companies. I go further than Senator Wright. He may have a shrewd suspicion, but I am certain that they are interested. Every insurance company is interested in big commercial leases. The Minister says that this is for the little man. The tax that the Government would obtain from the little man would be nothing compared with the tax that it would obtain from the big man if it had the courage to implement what it should be implementing. The Minister spoke about the amount of £14 million that was needed for the Budget. Looking back on the Budgets introduced in this chamber during the last few years, we remember that the Government has been out by £100 million in its estimates, but this does not worry the Government. What is an amount of £14 million? The Government says that the legislation is needed in order to collect £14 million, but this is no justification at all.

Finally, we know very little about this Bill. Some honorable senators, of course, are experts on it and know what they are talking about, but most of us do not, and I cannot see that a delay of another three months would hurt at all. At least we could then find out something about the Bill. We are just making a farce of this chamber by the way we go on. We are approaching the end of the session and we are in the grip of the laissez faire attitude. We do not care two hoots. We are not interested. The idea is that we should get the legislation through as fast as we can, with as much indecent haste as we showed when we approved our salary increases. The idea is just to get the legislation through quickly so that we can go home for the weekend. I support the amendment.

Question put -

That the motion (Senator Wright's) be agreed to.

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