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Wednesday, 26 September 1973
Page: 1540

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The honourable member is talking to the title of the Bill. I think his remarks very much relate to clause 2 of the Bill.

Mr SINCLAIR - No, they do not. They relate to the name of the Bill, the Constitution Alteration (Incomes) Bill.

The CHAIRMAN - Order! The only remarks which the honourable member will be entitled to make on the title of the Bill are that the title should not stand.

MrSINCLAIR - I am entitled, Mr Chairman, to say that 'incomes' is not appropriate to the naming of the Bill. I am entitled to say that 'incomes' is a word which relates only to one specific instead of to all the specifics that should be covered within the Bill.

The CHAIRMAN - That is correct.

Mr SINCLAIR - I am saying that it is not appropriate for one to talk of incomes alone. The people of Australia are worried about inflation. They are worried about the implications, of how a Bill with this name will affect them as Australians. I am entitled to talk about the degree to which this Bill is a farce, the debate in this Parliament is a farce, and the degree to which, in terms of the control of the economy, this Government has not exercised the powers which are already available to it. Therefore there is little meaning in extending its powers beyond those that are already there. I am entitled, Mr Chairman, surely to say that the Constitution alteration proposal is completely farcical in the way it is presented to the Parliament for consideration. A Bill which is raised this day under a title of this sort and debated in something less than 2 hours gives no opportunity for members of the Australian Country Party to speak on the second reading and for no adequate exposition of the economic consequences which the name of this Bill should surely deal with.

If one is not allowed to discuss in a meaningful way the implications of a policy and one is forced in Committee to look at a name of this sort, it is quite obvious that the people of Australia equally are going to be treated with contempt when the matter is submitted to them for consideration. There is every reason for the people of Australia to be concerned that a Bill of this character with a name of this sort will be distorted in its presentation and the people of Australia will need to think seriously. There is no inclination by the Australian Labor Party under its present leadership to give the Australian people any time or opportunity to consider other than a brief pattern of how this Government seeks to extend its powers. A constitution alteration, of course, refers to an extension of powers, in this instance into the whole field of incomes. How does the incomes power, for example, in the terminology of the Bill, relate to the power that already exists under placitum (xxxv.) of section 51 of the Constitution in relation to conciliation and arbitration? Are we to see a conflict between the power of incomes and the power of conciliation and arbitration?

What do we mean by the word 'income'? I took the trouble to have a look at some definitions of 'income'. After all this definition refers to the Constitution Alteration (Incomes) Bill 1973. Perhaps it might be appropriate if I refer to what the Oxford Dictionary defines as 'income'. It defines as 'Periodical (usually annual) receipts from one's business, lands, works, investments, etc' Under the Income Tax Assessment Act the definition of income covers income from personal exertion, income derived from personal exertion, income from property and income derived from property. But if we have a look at some of the works that cover the definition of income under the income tax legislation and in particular the Manual of the Law of Income Tax in Australia' written by Mr K. W. Ryan, we see that there is suspicion that income might in fact cover the whole field of capital receipts in some circumstances. In other words this Bill, as it now stands, not only relates to incomes but also covers capital profits and perhaps probate. It will cover the whole field of receipts of any character whatsoever by a person, be they in respect to personal exertion or in respect to- -

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