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Thursday, 6 October 1983
Page: 1490

Mr TUCKEY(8.00) —I express disappointment that the Minister for Finance, the honourable member for Fremantle (Mr Dawkins), is not in the House. He invited me into the chamber and I think he should be here at least to listen to what I have to say. However, he has failed to do this. The honourable member made an explanation which avoided completely addressing itself to the matters that I raised last night in this House which referred to the activities of a director of a company, namely a Minister. It was not I who called for blood; I suggested that the Prime Minister, who is responsible to the Australian public for the morals, et cetera, of his Ministers should look carefully at this situation, make his own inquiries and take action. The matters which I have raised in the House were raised in a proper fashion and in the interests of the community of Australia.

Any Minister who stands up for Australians is expected at least to honour his convictions which he expresses in the House. That is the only way by which the Australian public can judge him. It was quite clear that I had a responsiblity, once the Prime Minister decided that it was in the public interest for Australians to know about his Ministers, to raise the issues which concerned me. I too am an elected member of this place. The Minister, by his own admission, is the person to whom I referred. His suggestions that I told a journalist about the matter are quite wrong. They were based on an assumption that even journalists are so dumb that they could not work out who I was talking about by just going through this document and finding one company that was in liquidation . One does not have to be a very smart journalist to realise that. In fact, one would be a dumb journalist if, after being appointed to work in this place, one did not know that when people put companies into liquidation when they are not going broke it is because one has the intention of transferring the reserves of that company to shareholders so that they do not have to pay tax. That is not necessarily illegal. What I am saying is that when an honourable member claims in the Parliament that Consolidated Revenue is paramount, the Australian public should be entitled to believe that this honourable member has a commitment to the revenue and in the conduct of his personal affairs would see that revenue got its fair share.

The Minister said that people are sneaking around the place inquiring into his affairs. That may be so. It may be the only accurate statement he has made to us . What I am trying to draw to the attention of honourable members is the fact that all I had to do was read the Prime Minister's report, pick out a company that looked shonky and make some inquiries through the appropriate sources, none of which required the assistance of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation or anyone else. All I had to do was get company returns and from those leads go to the Land Tax Office and Titles Office to get some transactions of property sales and mortgages which I will refer to shortly.

It has been suggested that I told Simon Nasht who this person was. The Minister went to some pains to present the credentials of his father. It may be wise for me to read a letter, written to me while the sitting of the Parliament was suspended, by Norm Haywood, a member of my staff:

I quite categorically state that at no time during your telephone conversation today with Simon Nasht of the ABC in Melbourne did you mention that the Minister concerned in your speech to the Parliament on 5 October was the Hon. John Dawkins MP.

A lot of people in this Parliament know Norm Haywood. I do not know whether the Minister wants to say that he is a liar. He has suggested to me that I have cast aspersions on his father, his accountant and everybody else. He tried to squirm his way out of the situation. He had 20 or 30 minutes at the despatch box. Never once did he refer to the substance of what I said yesterday. The situation is that that was not so. I kept my side of the bargain. I am still able to stand in this place and declare my principles. They are quite different from those proclaimed by the Minister for Finance. When we look at the company reports, maybe we have more in common than he thinks. However, in my career I have not needed to tell myself stories--

Mr Steedman —What about an iron bar?

Mr TUCKEY —I will address that shortly. The Australian public expects certain things of Ministers of the Government. If a Minister tells the people that he has certain views, that he believes the revenue is all important and that people have a responsibility to meet the spirit as well as the letter of the taxation laws, certain things are expected of him. Such a Minister reached a position of great prominence. He climbed over the backs of all sorts of people and gained himself a position in the Cabinet purely and simply because day after day in the Parliament he carved up unfortunate people of some prominence in the community. For instance, John Reid assisted a widow. He was torn to pieces, not because of what he did but because he assisted a widow in the resolution of an estate. It did not matter to this man. He declared him absolutely guilty. This man could do nothing more than say: 'I am offering myself to the community in other ways and I do not know what I can do about this'. He did not have the right the Minister has to defend himself in the Parliament.

We could cut the Minister's speech in half. In one half of his speech he presented the credentials of his father. I will look later at the qualifications of his immediate relatives-his brothers and sisters-and honourable members may see why he is the one who is in Parliament. The Minister's father seems to have had some considerable degree of intelligence. However, I will look at the other half of his speech. Like the honourable member for Kalgoorlie (Mr Campbell), the honourable member tried to threaten me; he tried to frighten me out of this place. He judged me on his standards. I will be here as long as the people of O' Connor elect me as a member of this place. If I have to take the chop as their representative, it will not be due to threats from the honourable member for Fremantle, the honourable member for Kalgoorlie or the Prime Minister. They will not change what I have to say.

Mr Campbell —I know all about those shonky contracts.

Mr SPEAKER —I ask the honourable member for Kalgoorlie to cease interjecting.

Mr TUCKEY —A lot of pressure is being put on me which, I presume, is designed to keep me quiet. If all honourable members on the other side of the House had a commitment to Australians they would listen, make their own judgments and then decide-as the Prime Minister must do-whether this man, under the Prime Minister' s standards, as he has referred to them time and again and to which he has made a commitment in this House, should be a person who has considerable control and influence in running Australia. Maybe I would be doing him a favour if I brought to his attention matters which could be a severe embarrassment to him later. I think that maybe the honourable member for Prospect (Dr Klugman) had this concern when he spoke in this place.

We have to look further at the Coomel company. No doubt Coomel will mean something but I would say that Coomel will mean shelf company. It was dragged off the shelf when the late Dr Dawkins walked in and decided that no longer should he and his family suffer the burden of probate duties. Of course he was not aware at that time that they were to change. Certainly, when he lamentedly died they were still in place. The estate, which it would appear grew mostly by inflation to the value of $1.66m, or whatever it was worth at that time, perhaps $1.5m, would have been subject to the rates of probate that were applicable. But Dr Dawkins, being a good father, probably thought that his children should have protection from probate. Quite clearly, this company was formed for that purpose . Quite clearly, while the good doctor and his wife were in control of that company the Minister for Finance, who became a director at a later stage, had little opportunity to influence their decision-although I doubt that at that young age the Minister belted his spoon on the kitchen table and demanded that they consider the revenue and the rights of the Commonwealth and State governments to have their share. Nevertheless, as honourable members have been told, in 1973 he became a director. What is more-and let me make it quite clear that I am now not referring to facts on record, but if my advice from the talk of Perth is correct-he was one of the principals. He was always involved in the big time negotiations. His brother, who is a doctor, and some of the other children seemed to take a lesser role. Although there were five children, and I think that they all became directors, he was one of the signatories to the declaration of solvency. Only two of the children, in fact, Roger Letts Dawkins and John Sidney Dawkins signed that document.

The suggestion was made-and it is misleading to the Parliament-that the Minister knew nothing about the activities of this company. Not much! He was one of the principals. I suggest to you, Mr Speaker, that he was probably the brains . He was the person who took over a company and could have influenced his brothers and sisters who had gone out into the professional world. He could have said to them 'Look, I know what dad did. I have taken a socialist point of view on how Australia should be run. This is quite improper. It is probably legal, but it is improper. We will disband it. We will give a fair share of the profits that this great country has given us to the--

Mr Campbell —You sophist fraud.

Mr TUCKEY —Oh, no. If I were standing at the dispatch box, were a foot shorter and a bit less good looking I could be John Dawkins speaking now-the one-time shadow Minister in Opposition. The man who sits beside him, I presume giving him support at this time, has to make a decision tonight on whether he condones this type of activity. It is no good his coming into this place and saying: 'I think it was legal'. He has to take a moral position on this issue. He has to tell the Australian public: 'In future my Government stands for certain types of tax minimisation. I will stand for that'. Or, he has to put his halo back on and say to the Australian people: 'No, I will not stand for it. The Minister for Finance has to go because he has practised it'.

I return to the situations I mentioned. I am just taking these situations at random. Of course, one of the things one has to do to guarantee tax free capital gain from property that is right on the boundaries of the metropolitan area is to run some stock on it. One does not ever believe that properties of 200 acres will make any money. They are not viable. Of course, if there is no stock there, the Commissioner of Taxation might say to you: 'My dear chap, you have not used this property for financial gain. I think you have really and truly held it for capital gain and of the type that is taxable'. So one puts some stock on it. Of course then one has a trading profit or loss.

But of course what did this Minister for Finance and his brothers do with the good advice they paid for? They made sure that they also made a trading loss. But despite that trading loss in 1975 shareholders' funds had grown to $80,378, principally as the result of a profit of $48,120-a dashed good income for one poor working man for a year, even if he was on overtime-which was realised from the sale of a city property. Again, no tax was paid by the company. It certainly was not paid according to the records it lodged with the Commissioner of Taxation in Western Australia. But a further substantial increase of $141,113 in shareholders' funds occurred in the year to 30 June 1976. Let the Minister get up-and he has missed a wonderful opportunity to attack the figures that I presented to the House yesterday-and tell me that these figures are wrong. I hope he can tell me they do not exist because as a representative of the Australian public I would feel a lot more comfortable that this man has its interests at heart. To the year 30 June 1976, despite a further trading loss- that year was another bad year for the cattle and sheep-again no tax was paid. The increase in shareholders' funds was the result of a debt of $72,197 owing by the company to the late Dr A. L. Dawkins being waived by his executors according to the provision of his will. Again, as I told the House last night, I do not really know what that resulted in in terms of revenue.

But let us go back to this $2,000 company that owned millions of dollars worth of land. The only debt it ever seemed to have was to its principal shareholder. Two mechanisms exist here. Perhaps the good doctor, a professional, had accumulated some land and he was terrified that there would not be enough of it left for some of his children if the horrible government got its fingers on some of it by means of probate, State and Federal. So he transferred that land to the company after he had formed the company on the advice of his good accountant. That is a possibility. When he did so, of course, the accountant said to him: ' If you give this land it will be taxable'-because there were gift duties-'but on top of that, if you do not put some reasonable value on it the commissioner of stamps will make you pay stamp duty. What do you think is the lowest price we can put on this land?' This is only one possibility. He was asked: 'How does $72 ,000 grab you?' The answer was: 'Yes, we will settle on $72,000. You sell the land to the company for $72,000. It is so close to Perth that in 20 years time it will be worth millions. Then it is locked into the company which is at arms length to you but, of course, as the company only has $2,000, it will have to owe you the $72,000'. This company traded for all those years with assets of $2, 000 and debts of $72,000. But the good doctor was not worried. His $72,000 was safe. The ultimate insult to revenue was that he waived that debt of $72,000 in his will. I would have thought that the Minister for Finance might have had advice from this highly paid accountant that that situation was covered, that in fact before the debt was waived it was included in his father's estate, and that the unemployed and those other people in Australia who benefit from Commonwealth revenues would have received their fair share of it in terms of probate. But I have a nasty feeling that they did not, that, in fact, the debt was waived, that it was waived to an arms length group, a company that was totally owned by the deceased and his family, and that that $72,000 was lost in all ways. It was not represented, of course, in the late doctor's estate and, of course, did not attract probate which, if we added up all this $1.6m, would have been significant. That is just one way it could have happened.

The other way is that the company could have gone out, bought some land and the doctor could have lent it the $72,000-odd to buy it. But the Minister could have told us the true circumstances of that situation. The Prime Minister could have taken my offer, come into this Parliament and said: 'Gentlemen and ladies, I am going to appoint someone as they did to Denis Horgan. I believe it should be confidential. I believe we should conduct this inquiry in the spirit that Mr Tuckey, the honourable member for O'Connor, has commenced it-no names, no pack drill. And I will conduct an inquiry of these matters and will report faithfully to you on two situations: Firstly, whether the revenue was illegally defrauded and, secondly, because of the high moral principles that I hold for myself and for my Government, I will report to you if in fact the spirit of the law has been defrauded and broken. I expect better of my Ministers.'

I am a committed capitalist. I make no secret of that fact. I doubt that I will ever hold high office in this place. I am quite happy doing what I am doing and servicing the people who have faith in me. I tell honourable members that if ever the people of Australia want me in any high position they will know I am a committed capitalist. They will remember and be reminded that I voted against that stupid retrospective tax legislation which was an insult to the people who trusted a government. But, when I do that, the Australian public will know what I am. I will not climb into the Ministry on a heap of situations.

Mr Lionel Bowen —I raise a point of order. The honourable member has now had in excess of half an hour to discuss this matter.

Mr Howard —Oh, dah!

Mr Lionel Bowen —Just a minute. I do not mind the honourable member talking about the facts of the case that he has in mind. To ramble on about whether he is a capitalist or a socialist is not in accordance with the other time pressures.

Mr TUCKEY —Thank you. It would save time, Mr Speaker, if he let me get going again.

Mr Lionel Bowen —I ask whether the honourable member will conclude within five minutes because there are many other speakers who have something to offer.

Mr TUCKEY —It is going to take me a lot more than five minutes to finish the facts in this matter, but I will take your advice.

Mr Lionel Bowen —I am sorry, but you can do a lot better.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order.

Mr Lionel Bowen —It is now 40 minutes.

Mr Howard —There is nothing to stop--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order!

Mr Anthony —Look at the interest in those opposite. They are all interested in the facts.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the National Party will cease interjecting.

Mr Howard —Where is O'Reilly's certificate?

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will cease interjecting.

Mr Lionel Bowen —You know a fair bit about section 60--

Mr Howard —But you know--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order. So far, the House has listened to this debate in an orderly manner with contributions coming from the Minister for Finance and the honourable member for O'Connor. I ask senior members on my left to observe that fact. I remind the Leader of the House that the honourable member for O'Connor is speaking by leave and therefore the time available to him is not limited.

Opposition members-Hear, hear!

Mr SPEAKER —I call the honourable member for O'Connor.

Mr Lionel Bowen —There is another factor, though, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER —Yes, I know that.

Mr TUCKEY —Thank you, Mr Speaker. I made the point for one reason, and one reason only. I will not return to it. What I am saying to the House is that the Australian public is entitled to know what a Minister stands for. It is not his right, in my view, to stand in this place and tell the Australian public what he is and then go out into private life and practise the reverse. As I said, it is between the Minister and the Commissioner of Taxation even as to the amount of tax he has paid. I thought he would have taken the opportunity to tell us about all the money that he has received as a result of all these actions. He could have gone before the Commissioner of Taxation and said: 'Look, it is a bit difficult to calculate, but here is a bit of conscience money. After all, I have different views from my late father and from my brothers and sisters. I am committed to the revenue. I can read the rules. I have practised the rules. For a period I administered taxation in this country and, after all, I believe I have to do this. Here is $200,000 or $300,000 or whatever and we can measure that in jobs'.

Let us go down the track a bit further. We have talked about the $72,000. I thought the Minister would have taken the time, rather than raise issues that were front page headlines in Western Australia in 1967 to which I will refer to in rebuttal-and rather than threaten me, to explain to the people of Australia that it was not as I suggested or even questioned; that it was different, and that the $72,197 loan from his father appeared in his estate and in fact attracted taxes. In fact, that might be the case. I do not know. It is a pity the Minister did not use his time to tell us.

We have an interesting note. In 1975 the company sold at cost a seven-eighty- fourths share held in the partnership of the Annean Pastoral Co. I did not have time to look at what that particular company did. The buyer is not disclosed, although the accounts of 30 June 1977 disclose that Mrs Muriel Dawkins, at one time a Miss Lee Steere, acquired the balance of this partnership from the company for the sum of $11,000. I thought the Minister would have asked his accountant to give him a statutory declaration that at that time that was a fair price and that in fact the company got value for that particular sale and it was not another attempt at defrauding the revenue by selling out below cost to a member of the family.

I turn to 30 June 1977. All these periods by the way were when the Minister was a director. At that time, despite the fact that the company continued its long history of trading losses-he told us it had $45,000 of trading losses stacked up just in case we nailed him on something-the shareholders' funds had grown to $ 197,779. Again a substantial non-taxable profit of over $60,000 was made from the sale of assets. No tax was paid that year.

During 1977 a number of assets were sold to shareholders. We can only question whether some of these values were correct. I mention first Mrs Muriel Dawkins, Armadale, Lot 632. I guess that is somewhere around Lot 631. I do not know how big it was. I think we find later that Lot 631 sold for over half a million dollars. Lot 632 was sold to the lady shareholder for $35,000. Shares in public companies amounted to $22,853. I cannot tell honourable members whether that was a fair value but, nevertheless, it seems that we were breaking it up and everyone was in for their chop. Shares in other companies amounted to $19,303.

I refer also to the Kersley mortgage-she got the mortgage. So, in other words, those involved had some cash that they had lent to somebody else. I hope they did not do it at usurious interest rates, but it amounted to $21,283 and the balance of the Annean Pastoral Co. amounted to $11,000. R. L. Dawkins got Lot 553 for $25,000 and Lot 59, I think, for $12,000. In March 1978, Roger Dawkins and John Dawkins-as I mentioned I raised the copy of a declaration of solvency- lodged a declaration of solvency with the Commissioner of Corporate Affairs stating that as of 28 February 1978 the net worth of the company was $1,664,948. As the honourable member for Wilmot (Mr Burr) will say: 'That is a lulu'.

A members' voluntary liquidation was sought. Why does one liquidate a company of that nature? It is going along pretty well; it is running sheep and cattle at a loss. Why do we liquidate it? We liquidate it to get our hands on the assets in a fashion that does not require us to pay tax. The Minister has had an opportunity to say: 'Well, I got my share'. If I were able to get all these documents out one by one honourable members would see amounts of $40,000 and $25 ,000. He could have told us: 'When I got mine, my conscience demanded that I go around to the Commissioner of Taxation and give him his 30 per cent, 40 per cent or 60 per cent'. Why not? After all, we have heard this man speak on his principles in this regard. Through the Prime Minister, we actually gave him control of the tax system. I should hate to think what will happen if he gets out of this place. If he were a consultant, I would employ him myself.

Mr Milton —Tell us how many people on your side are doing the same sort of thing .

Mr TUCKEY —Is that the honourable member's excuse? He is saying that two wrongs make a right. That is a good policy for the Labor Party.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for O'Connor will continue with the subject for which he has leave to address this House.

Mr TUCKEY —I thought some honourable members opposite might like to know what the people who support their Ministers do in their spare time. There is an old saying: 'Do not do as I do; do as I say'. Let us write that down. A members' voluntary liquidation was sought by 2 April 1983 and this had been virtually completed. We know how long ago that was; it was not very long ago. I would say that it was about the time that the Minister was thinking of what he was going to tell his Prime Minister. I would like the Prime Minister to tell us on oath how much of this he can recite. This liquidation has been virtually completed, with a total of $1,628,291 having been distributed at that time to the shareholders. An amount of $10,732 was still on hand at the completion of the liquidation, awaiting only finalisation of a damages claim against the Metropolitan Water Supply Sewerage and Drainage Board. They were so greedy that not only did they want to make every effort to minimise their apparant responsibilities to the revenue but also they were prepared to take legal action against a government instrumentality to get some more money. No payments were made by the liquidator-this man who stands up and says that everything is all right-in respect of income tax.

I turn now to the Land Titles Office. A search of property documents indicates that the company sold land on 29 May 1978 under a contract of sale. An amount of $510,000 was left outstanding on this transaction to be repaid, free of interest , on 1 July 1981, over three years later. Had interest been charged-I have mentioned different figures in my statement-for that period at the prevailing rates of interest the interest bill would have been $240,000. Of course, had the company earned that $240,000 it could have got the shareholders together and held a celebration to tell them that, for the first time in its history, it had made a profit. The company could have invited the Commissioner of Taxation because he probably would have bought the wine out of his share. The company did not do so. Furthermore we find that, at the end of that three-year period, as the purchaser had not met his commitment to repay the money, suddenly the Coomel company directors recognised that there was such a thing as interest because from then on they wanted 12 1/2 per cent. If the directors-I say 'the directors' because one does not allow one's accountant to do this sort of business and if one did one would have to try to tell this Parliament that; one relies on one's own judgment-were of the opinion, at meetings which no doubt they held, which were recorded and signed in their minute book, that they liked the purchaser so much and his name was Frenesi or some such thing, which was not his personal name but the name of his company, that they wanted to give him some help. I suppose that is fair enough. On the other hand, if they felt that they did not really want to pay tax on interest maybe that was different.

Mr Speaker, I will give you the facts as I understand them. If the Minister for Finance at some later stage wants to refute them with documented evidence and he wants to bring into this place or some other place under oath the directors of Frenesi Pty Ltd to explain the situation-I hope that the Government does not try to terrorise him as it thought it could terrorise me today; I hope it will let him say things freely-I think this is what will come out: We will find that they had an approach to sell this property and when they discussed the terms a price of $550,000 was agreed on. In fact the subdivider thought that he could get a subdivison of one hectare lots through the appropriate local authority and the Town Planning Board. As I understand it, the property is some 180 acres and I might even be wrong on that. The subdivider thought that he could get a lot of small blocks out of that property. We all know what happens to the per hectare price of a property in those circumstances. They talked about this, and he made an offer subject to his being able to get this type of deal through.

In fact the record shows that, after three applications in the names of various companies and all sorts of things, the subdivider eventually succeeded in getting only nine lots of 12 hectares to 20 hectares each. Quite clearly, the financial return to the subdivider was reduced and he said to the company directors: 'I cannot pay you this money. The deal is off'. They said: 'Hang on a minute. You will have to borrow the money. You will have to pay interest. What say you give us $40,000 now?' Fancy selling over half a million dollars worth of property for $40,000 down. I suggest that that is what the directors did. They said: 'We will charge you no interest on this $510,000 over three years. In that time you will get your subdivision in and you will be able to sell the land and repay us'. When the mortgage document was written up clause 25, which refers to partial discharges, stated:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary herein contained on each occasion a lot or lots comprised in plan of subdivision--

so they knew what he was about; there was going to be a subdivision-

of the mortgage property is sold then, subject to the mortgager reducing the principal sum by an amount being the greater of either $11,000 or one-third of the sale price of such a lot or lots, the mortgager shall be entitled to a partial discharge of this mortgage for those lots in respect to which such a payment is made.

Of course there was a clear need for this because the subdivider could not sell those blocks until such time as he could offer free title. Mr Speaker, I suggest to you that we now have certain scenarios. I do not know whether I can get to scenario C, but I can certainly give you scenario A and scenario B. Scenario A is this: The directors were well and truly aware of the type of cost that would come to them by way of taxation were they prepared to sell the land for what it was probably worth. They could then turn around and get interest on the money that they advanced to the purchaser who was a developer. Of course, by getting that all up front and by capitalising the interest they made a deliberate decision to create a set of circumstances which defrauded the revenue. Now it is up to the Commissioner of Taxation, not me, to say whether that is a trick to which he would pay attention and for which he would demand the money.

Mr Speaker, I draw to your attention the decision taken by a director who has been steward of the taxation mechanisms of Australia. It is really hard to put this together. Scenario B is that they were arm's-length partners with the developer. In fact their taxation load should be not only the interest on the money that was created from that subdivision but also his profits on the basis of 510 over 40 because they were the big people in the operation. I suggest that that thought passed through their minds; that, in fact, they wanted someone to do the deal and to worry about the tax. All they wanted was to be able to put in their balance sheet a capital sale. The realms of practicability! When this mortgage was drawn up they knew full well what was going on.

I do not want to say that the Minister is a person who sits down at night and does not go to sleep for an hour while he dreams up ways and means of defrauding the revenue in what could be legal circumstances. I do not know that, but I suggest he did. In fact, it was he who came into this Parliament and said: 'It's me'. I preferred that all this matter be presented not in his style. He talks of my not having guts. We can go on a little further. That land deal! It is also interesting to note that lots 632 and 553, which were transferred out of the company to shareholders of the company, in the year ended 30 June 1977 for a total of $60,000, comprised in total 200 acres. During the year to 30 June 1978 a smaller parcel of land-part of lot 631, the one I just told honourable members about-comprising 180 acres and adjoining lots 632 and 535 was sold for $550,000.

I guess we have some new scenarios now. Who got done? Under those circumstances , if $550,000 was a real price for the original block of land, in fact the State Commissioner of Taxation in Western Australia was done to the tune of $6,000 or $8,000 in stamp duty on a transaction. I thought that maybe, because I raised that figure last night, the Minister would have told us the final destination of that land. I do not know what it is. If the brother shareholder, I think it was, who apparently got that land in the chop up-by its transfer for money he could not be questioned in any way about the tax liabilities relating to that land- held it for a while, maybe he too ran some sheep and cattle on it, told the Commissioner of Taxation that he was disenchanted with the farming business and, in fact, sold it for a massive capital gain. I do not know that. But I think it would have been good of the Minister to tell us what has happened to that land and whether members of his family, who his Prime Minister has said should have their affairs clearly identified, have done that sort of thing.

There are other facts. Other points about this matter refer to all sorts of things. I take the point of the Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Lionel Bowen) that I could go on and on. I have all the information. I offered it to the Prime Minister and he declined it, so he does not need it now. I wonder what it is fair for Australian people to consider of their leadership. Is the Prime Minister going to be the next person to come into this House and tell us what he is going to do about these things? I believe the Minister has had his opportunity to explain it all away. I cannot help having a suspicious mind.

In closing I want to take the opportunity, which I have never had before, of being heard in silence to answer some of the Minister's allegations against me. There is a peculiarity in that there is a wonderful judge in the world of politics. It is called the electorate. We get reminded frequently that at the moment it trusts the Government. People in local government, Federal government and State government get commitments to parties and to leaders. I am sure that the one sitting opposite at the moment would inspire confidence throughout the world. But the facts are that when one has 160 people voting for one in a local government election those people know one pretty well.

Mr Campbell —Come on; they are all now stooges. We know that.

Mr TUCKEY —The facts are that time and time again, when they opened the ballot boxes in that small town, with all these allegations of the--

Mr Griffiths —You've rigged them.

Mr TUCKEY —No, that is a practice that honourable members opposite are experts at. If I have to do that sometime, I will go to people on the other side to be taught how to rig ballot boxes. History is on my side. Let me get back to what I was trying to say, because, as I have said, this is the first opportunity I thought I would get to be heard in silence. The facts are that the people of that town voted time and time again to re-elect me. They did that regardless of all the scandals that the Australian Labor Party in that town brought against me . That is an interesting point of view. It is interesting also that when one reads the minutes of a recent ratepayers meeting in that town one sees that the same people are complaining about the present administration. The honourable member representing that area might say that that is not so, but he is silent. The facts of life are--

Mr Campbell —That is not so.

Mr TUCKEY —Then the honourable member is a fool. The facts are that I did survive the ballot box until such time as I retired there. All sorts of horrible situations were mentioned by the Minister. Cripes, he suggested once that I had defrauded the Council of the Shire of Carnarvon of $180,000, and then he said no , he meant $178. We find that that amount of money relates to an air fare that was given-

Mr Campbell —Tell us about those shonkey contracts you used to run, Tuckey.

Mr TUCKEY —Yes, I can tell you about those too.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the honourable member not to respond to interjections. We are waiting to have a grievance debate.

Mr TUCKEY —Thank you, Mr Speaker, but I am responding to half of what the Minister said. Most unfortunately, after the Opposition granted the Minister for Finance time to explain away these very general allegations, what did he in fact do? He spent half his time trying to tell the Parliament that I was a crook when I was in Carnarvon. I am a back bencher of the Opposition. I am sure the Australian public really expected that he would have reassured-I think that is the right word-the Australian public that it could have trust and faith in him. He spent half the time, in his typical fashion, trying to tell the Australian public that I was a crook because, firstly, I had been convicted and fined $40 for attacking an Aboriginal. Yet, of course, he declined to tell the House that some of the evidence given in that case was about that same Aboriginal chasing Aboriginal women from my hotel and knocking them to the ground time and time again.

Mr Campbell —The magistrate thought you were a liar.

Mr TUCKEY —Yes, and what did Chief Justice Wolff say? All that is said only in reponse to a matter which pales into insignificance when we get inside the mind of the Minister for Finance and we find that it is split, not down the middle, but about seven-eighths and one-eighth-seven-eighths for John Dawkins and one- eighth for the people of Australia. That is the way he ran his private affairs. I can tell honourable members that if there was a way by which he could have got a contract signed with the Labor Party so that Coomel could have been the honourable member for Fremantle-it is unfortunate that the people of Fremantle would have elected Coomel as long as it was No. 1 on the Labor ticket-Coomel could have been paid his salary and he would not have paid tax on that either. He would have written it off against his trading stock losses. I did not say this last night. I am saying it tonight at the invitation of the Minister--

Mr Campbell —You are a liar.

Mr TUCKEY —No, I have only read to you from documents that you could have got yourself if--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member for Kalgoorlie will cease interjecting. The honourable member for O'Connor will cease responding to those interjections and finish his statement.

Mr TUCKEY —Thank you, Mr Speaker. I say in closing that there is a responsibility on everybody in this House to ensure that Australia has good government. It is interesting to know that certain people on the other side would rather interrupt me and stop me talking than listen to what I have to tell them. They could have used their own ingenuity once that document had been laid down. I presume it was for all members of the Parliament and not only for the public. They might have picked it up themselves and said: 'Ah, Coomel Pty Ltd is in liquidation'. They could have asked themselves why it was the only company mentioned that is in liquidation and said: 'I think I might go and find out what my Minister is up to because he does not represent the people whom I represent and I have a responsibility to them'. I did that. I raised the issues. I tried to do it in a way that was not practised by the previous Opposition. In fact, to suggest that that is a sign that I have no courage is a suggestion not really supported by the facts over a period.

The same Minister may care to remember the horrible time he gave me prior to my arrival in this place. When I tried to explain to the Parliament some of the circumstances of that, I was cat-called, ridiculed, quorumed and the lot. If that is his style, as I have said, it is strange that he has had a change of policy. Some things need to be answered as a result of my statements the other night, statements which have not been refuted by the Minister tonight. Not one item was refuted. All he said was: 'It is untrue. It is inaccurate. There is a little bit of truth in it. My father was an honest and respected man. Tuckey's a ratbag because he was in the local authority in Carnarvon where he kept getting re-elected but he was a crook because the newspapers every now and then ran articles about his activities. He won a contract. He was criticised for that. Five people tendered for it. He won it by 20c a metre.' If I were a crook I would have been mad. I would have won it by 1c a metre. Let us get a few of the facts straight. I regretted it sincerely. Perhaps I should have been a crook. That is beside the point.

The Minister has taken a position in this place. He is demanding the rights of the revenue. He did it time and again. I suggest to the Parliament that he came from a very low ministerial position. I know they were anxious to get him out of education, but, on the other hand, they would not have kicked him so far upstairs if the newspapers had not picked him up and said: 'Here is the Messiah, here is the man for the brave new world of the Labor Government who will attack all forms of tax evasion avoidance and minimisation.' The Minister must come into the Parliament again and explain to us through his Prime Minister, why he was able to be steward, as he is steward, of so many things for the people of Australia, and explain where I am wrong with my nasty suspicious mind. Perhaps he can produce the figures. I do not want him to tell us that it was 'legal'. I think he has to address himself to the propositions I have put before him. If he will do that through his Prime Minister-after all, he is his Prime Minister's responsibility-I will be quite happy to stand in this place again and say that my suppositions are wrong. I will not resile from that position.

The Minister might agree that I have not had to throw newspaper articles at him as substantiation of all the allegations I make. All I bring to the Parliament is a document with a red stamp on it. It states: 'Office of Titles'. It is a photocopy of a document that was produced. I believe that it is legal tender in this place. It is up to the Minister to do better than he did. I call on the Prime Minister now to put action in place of rhetoric, to demonstrate to the Australian people that his Ministry is beyond reproach and that none of these things happened. He should not say that they were all right but that they did not happen. If he says that the Minister for Finance did not know we will have to accept that he did not know, but on those grounds alone the Australian public would be entitled to be served by people in places of high office who do know. That is another question. It is probably scenario Z.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I was challenged to do this and I have done it. I do it with some regret because I see myself as a professional in this place. I hoped the matter could have been dealt with in the way I suggested yesterday. The Government well and truly knew that it had that opportunity. I think the Government thought that it could bluff its way out of it by terrifying me with prosecutions. If the Minister wants to get them going tomorrow I am sure that the people of Australia will know why he is doing so. He and his colleagues have tried it once before. They did a disgraceful thing to me in Carnarvon. It was financed by members of the Australian Labor Party who put up $1,500 in the first place. They thought all they needed to do was to get me convicted of assault under the Crimes Act. They thought that would be sufficient to get me to resign from the Shire of Carnarvon. Then they discovered that I had to be put in gaol, although I was fined $40 they took the matter to the Supreme Court on the grounds that the penalty was insufficient. It is pretty good when all you need to do to get a person out of office is to put him in gaol. When people read the evidence-any time anyone wants to do so he can; it is available-they will find that none of the circumstances as described by the-

Mr Campbell —The magistrate thought you were a liar.

Mr TUCKEY —And the Chief Justice did not. Any time someone wants to throw that at me again he is welcome. Many people in Carnarvon would tell the story as it was. Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your indulgence. I thank the Deputy Prime Minister, who is not here, for bringing on the matter for debate. I am sure that he at least has done something in the interests of the Australian public. I wonder what this destroyer of characters-I learnt that phrase from the Prime Minister-this destroyer of reputations can say tomorrow to the Australian public .