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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) - - Senator St. Ledger has affirmed that the words to which he has called attention are useless. I wish to point out that they constitute a danger. They read that the Commissioner shall draw attention to any breaches or evasions " which have come under his notice." Evasions maybe known to the Department or to the Deputy Commissioners, and the Commissioner may not be informed. Consequently he may not report the matters to Parliament, because he has not had personal notice of them.

Senator Story - Surely the deputies would report the cases to the Commissioner.

Senator MILLEN - It ought to be an obligation upon the Commissioner to obtain this information. If we are to assume that the Commissioner will have the necessary knowledge of evasions the words are unnecessary and absurd. If, on the contrary, there is a possibility of the Commissioner's deputies having a knowledge of these things, and not reporting them to him, or of the Commissioner not making himself familiar with their reports, the words constitute a danger, because they allow of a possibility of the Commissioner saying, " These matters did not come under my notice." I have heard undersecretaries of Departments plead, in reference to matters of departmental business, that they had no personal knowledge of them.

Amendment of the amendment negatived.

Proposed new clause agreed to.

Clause 9 - (r.) Subject to the provisions of this Act land tax shall be levied and paid upon the unimproved value of all lands within the Commonwealth which are owned by taxpayers, and which aic not exempt from taxation under this Act. (2.) The land tax shall be at such rates as are declared by the Parliament.

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