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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator GUTHRIE (South Australia) . - I do not think that Senator Walker, when he framed his amendment, could have fully considered the position of the original holders of land. Who is going to estimate the amount which was paid to the Crown for land?

Senator Walker - You can propose an amendment to leave out the word ' ' estimate."

Senator GUTHRIE - I am taking the amendment as it is. The Leader of the Opposition has stated that the Wakefield system of land settlement was a philanthropic one, and the remark was cheered by Senator Vardon.

Senator St Ledger - But the biggest mistakes on earth have been made by philanthropists.

Senator GUTHRIE - Exactly. What was the position under the operation of the Wakefield system? In South Australia, not only had the land to be sold, but it had to be sold in parcels of not less than 20,000 acres each.

Senator Vardon - I shall vote for any amendment, no matter what it is, which willwreck this Bill.

Senator GUTHRIE - That is a fair admission. We are now asked to exempt from this tax the amount which was paid to the Crown for the land, and I take it that my honorable colleague intends to vote for the amendment, for the purpose of wrecking the Bill.

Senator Vardon - The honorable senator can take what he likes.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel SirAlbert Gould. - We are going to vote for the amendment as a matter of justice to the owner of the land.

Senator GUTHRIE - I want to show the injustice of it. Under the Wakefield system in South Australia, the land was sold in large parcels, so that poor men could not get any.

Senator Vardon - In large parcels?

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes, £20,000 worth.

Senator Vardon - In 80-acre sections.

Senator GUTHRIE - No land was sold there except in 20,000 acre parcels.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - But there were small areas sold.

Senator GUTHRIE - The land, I repeat, was sold in parcels of 20,000 acres. If the honorable senator looks up the articles of association of the South Australia Company, which was formed in London, he will find that the land had to be paid for in cash, but a third of the money had to be spent in bringing out immigrants from England for the purpose of working the land, a third in making roads and bridges, and a third to the Government. The whole of the money which was received for the land was ultimately placed in the hands of the land-holders. Is Senator Walker prepared to exempt the South Australian Company, and other large landholders in South Australia, the amount which they paid to the State, and which was returned to them in the way I have mentioned ?

Senator Millen - The Wakefield Association did not carry out its bargain.

Senator GUTHRIE - It did, so far as South Australia is concerned. I am not prepared to say that the bargain was carried out in New Zealand, because Sir George Grey came across the company's track and spragged its wheels. I ask Senator Walker to withdraw his amendment in justice to the people of Australia. The South Australian Company, whose headquarters are in London, is drawing thousands of pounds a year as rent from South Australia. Indeed, in the case of many properties, it is drawing rack-rents. Yet it is the rack-renter whom honorable senators opposite want to exempt from this tax.

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