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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - It is all very well for honorable senators on the other side to get warm, and to accuse us on this side of desiring to exempt the rack-renter.

Senator Gardiner - That is what you are doing.

Senator MILLEN - Let me say that what honorable senators on the other side are trying to do is to drive the last nail in the coffin of men who have struggled as the honorable senator has never had to struggle. He may draw a picture of what has happened to some of the big land-holders, but let us look at the other side of the question. Are there no people in the Western Division of New South Wales who were compelled, under its land laws, to pay 25s. and 30s. an acre for land which was never worth 5s., in order to protect their improvements?

Senator Rae - How many acres of such land are there?

Senator MILLEN - If the honorable senator wants it, I can offer to-day a solid block of 10,000 acres at 7s. 6d. per acre, for which 27s. 6d. was paid, in the Western Division.

Senator Rae - It is up to the State to rectify its own blunders.

Senator MILLEN - All that Senator Gardiner has been talking about has been the blunders of the State; but honorable senators on the other side are not leaving it to the State to rectify them. On the contrary, they say that because the blunders of the State have led to private profit, that is a justification for levying this tax on the lands. Let us look at the class of men whom Senator Gardiner is out to ruin, if he can, whom a vindictive class hatred is pursuing, who are struggling today, and have been reduced to such a condition that special legislation has had to be passed to induce them to remain on the land. The men of whom I am speaking are those whose land was never worth the amount which they paid to the Crown, nor is it likely to be in the lifetime of myself or any honorable senator here.

Senator Gardiner - The men who can afford to give you a fee of ^1,000 to get land from the State unfairly.

Senator Lt Colonel Sir Albert Gould - Is that in order, sir?

The CHAIRMAN - Order! I ask the honorable senator to withdraw the remark.

Senator MILLEN - I do not wish him to withdraw it.

Senator Chataway - I rise to a point of order.

Senator MILLEN - Let him alone.

Senator Chataway - Is Senator Gardiner in order in suggesting that the Leader of the Opposition has received a fee of ^1,000 to get land for people unfairly?

Senator MILLEN - I thank my honorable friend, but I am quite able to look after myself in this matter. Let me tell Senator Gardiner-

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I think it is 1 who have to settle a point of order.

Senator MILLEN - It is one of the cowardly things which he is capable of doing - a most contemptible thing.

The CHAIRMAN - I ask Senator Gardiner to withdraw the remark.

Senator MILLEN - I do not want him to do so.

The CHAIRMAN - I ask him to withdraw the remark.

Senator MILLEN - I do not.

Senator Gardiner - I "withdraw the remark at your request, sir.

Senator Chataway - Without qualification.

Senator Gardiner - It was evoked by the remark of Senator Millen that I was here for the purpose of trying to ruin somebody. When such remarks are allowed to go without comment, I think I am justified in hitting back, and hitting where it hurts.

Senator MILLEN - Let me assure Senator Gardiner that nothing which he says in reference to that matter can hurt me. The Senate knows and the country knows that the matter to which he and others like to attach my name was inquired into by a Judge, who gave me what no Judge will ever give him, a clean sheet. That is a thing which he never will get if he should ever appear before a Judge.

The CHAIRMAN - Order.

Senator MILLEN - And since then the people of New South Wales have sent me back to the Senate.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! I ask the honorable senator to withdraw the remark that Senator Gardiner will never get a clean sheet if he should ever appear before a Judge.

Senator MILLEN - In this Chamber, of course, I have to obey the behests which come from the Chair, and therefore withdraw the remark. But let me express the hope that if Senator Gardiner ever should appear before a Judge he will be able to come off as well as I did on that occasion.

Senator Rae - I rise to a point of order. I submit that by innuendo the honorable senator is saying exactly what you asked him to withdraw when it was stated directly.

Senator MILLEN - If it will please Senator Rae I withdraw at his request the hope I expressed.

The CHAIRMAN - I do not consider that there is anything in the remark of Senator Millen to cause me to ask him to withdraw it.

Senator MILLEN - I was pointing out that whilst honorable senators here were content to rely for arguments and illustrations on cases where there had been an enormous amount of community-created increment, which, I admit, is a fit subject for taxation, they were shutting out those cases where not only was there no increment created, but where the land was not worth as much as the Crown was paid. In those cases there was no attempt on the part of persons to build up big estates. They did not desire to do it because they knew that, so far as land value was concerned, there was not an acre of land in the Western Division of New South Wales for which they could afford to pay £1 on a grazing basis.

Senator Rae - Are there not big leaseholds attached to all these big places?

Senator MILLEN - Do you propose to tax leaseholds?

Senator Rae - They are not exclusively freeholds.

Senator MILLEN - The honorable senator knows very well that when you get down to the region of 13 inches of rainfall, that is beyond Balranald, there are enormous freeholds with practically no leaseholds attached to them. I refer to the land which was the subject of the Western Division inquiry, and which would not fetch to-morrow in the open market 6s. 8d. per acre, although j£i was paid for it.

Sitting suspended, from 6.30 to 8 p.m.

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