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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr PERKINS (Eden) (Monaro) (2:49 AM) . - I agree with the remarks of the honorable member for Fawkner (Mr. Holt). This strikes me as one of the worst features of the bill. It would be almost an impossibility to find a household in which there are not two wireless receivers, even though both are not in use. Many listeners started with a crystal set, which they later discarded for a set containing one or two valves, installing later still an improved model. The amount of revenue to be derived isso small that the endeavour to collect it is hardly worth while. An inspector may arrive at one's home in order to ascertain whether it has in it a wireless receiver. He may be met at the door and be shown the licence, and under the present law his investigation need proceed no further. But under this provision, he will have to make an inspection. If he does not search the premises, he will neglect his duty. An Englishman's home will no longer be his castle. I should like the licencefee to be abolished. Just as much revenue would be derived from a tax on the machines and the valves. That would be a more simple way of collecting revenue. There are many decent, respectable, honest- citizens, whose only appearance in a police court has been due to their having been without a wireless listener's licence. It is true that notices to pay are served through the post. As the fee is only £1, however, payment of it is neglected. If the amount were £50, it would be paid. Because payment is made a few days late, owners of receivers are taken before the court and are practically branded as criminals. It would he better to raise revenue by taxing certain parts of the instruments. The sales of receivers would be doubled, and twice as many people would be educated. How this matter is to be policed, I do not know. Scores of men will have to be added to the inspectorial staff. As the honorable member for Fawkner has said, the additional revenue is not needed, because a surplus is already made. When a government takes over a department, it immediately converts it into a department of taxation. Wireless broadcasting should be a department of service, and a small charge should be made for the cost of the service. If taxes be needed, letthem be placed on the whole of the community. I hope that the Minister will remove this provision from the bill.

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