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Wednesday, 19 October 1983
Page: 1924

Mr HOWARD (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) —Mr Speaker, I claim to have been misrepresented.

Mr SPEAKER —If the honourable member wishes to make a personal explanation, he may proceed.

Mr HOWARD —During Question Time the Treasurer (Mr Keating), in reply to a question I asked him, incorrectly claimed that I was impugning the integrity of the Commissioner of Taxation. Firstly, in the first part of the question I asked the honourable gentleman, I expressly said that I had no quarrel with the text of the letter referred to yesterday by his colleague, the Minister for Finance ( Mr Dawkins). Secondly, I sought from the honourable gentleman an assurance that there would be total consistency of treatment. The honourable gentleman must be aware of some publicity being given to assessments which are about to be sent out or which have been sent out to some former shareholders in two public companies in Western Australia. There have been some suggestions that some of the people receiving those assessments or likely to receive them derived no financial benefit, as alleged. I do not, on the basis of the Deputy Commissioner 's letter, contest that that was the case in relation to Coomel Pty Ltd. In those circumstances I would have thought that it was wholly reasonable and proper, entirely unobjectionable and not in any way impugning the integrity of the Commissioner of Taxation to seek an assurance of consistency of treatment. I have a high regard for Mr O'Reilly. He was a faithful servant of the former Government and I am sure he will be a faithful and proper servant of the present Government.