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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I wish to draw attention to a class of cases well within the knowledge of honorable senators. I refer to men who, for business reasons, are continually travelling between Australia and New Zealand. I happen to know a gentleman whose home is in New South Wales, but who is not actually in that State more than three months in the year. The rest of his time he is either on the water or in the Dominion. Under the clause as it stands, that man would be regarded as an absentee, because for more than six months in the year he is out of Australia. But under Senator Chataway's amendment he would be exempt from extra taxation, because his absence from Australia is not continuous. There is, surely, no desire to insert in. the Bill a definition which must be harassing to certain sections of the community. Neither is it desirable to throw upon a man the obligation to go to the Commissioner and demonstrate that he is a bond fide Australian. Senator McGregor has suggested that such a person may appoint a legal representative. I have yet to learn that members of the legal profession work for nothing. Probably in some cases it would be troublesome to supply the Commissioner with evidence. It is quite evident that a commercial traveller who is continuously travelling between Australia and New Zealand is not an absentee. Yet under the Bill the Commissioner would have no option but to regard such a man as an absentee. Of course, if the Minister is prepared to resist all amendments, we may as well abandon our attempts to improve the Bill. But the principle of the measure is not touched by the amendment which is submitted simply with the object of making the measure work more smoothly.

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