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Wednesday, 26 October 1910

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - Some honorable senators appeared to be a little horrified when I interjected that I would vote for this amendment or any other that would wreck the Bill. I could not make any other statement. I wish to make it quite clear why I take up that attitude.

Senator Pearce - No matter what arguments may be used upon this side of the Chamber?

Senator VARDON - No matter what arguments may be used. My objection to the Bill is fundamental. I maintain that it has no right to be here. Last night I stated that I would oppose every clause of it.

Senator McDougall - The Bill could not come here except by right.

Senator VARDON - It has two objects. The first is to raise revenue, and the second is to burst up large estates.

Senator Henderson - In any case that question was settled upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill.

The CHAIRMAN - I would point out to the honorable senator that the second object to which he has referred was thoroughly discussed during the second-reading debate.

Senator VARDON - I merely wish to justify the interjection which I made. I do not think that this Parliament has any right to resort to direct taxation until the Commonwealth has used every penny of the Customs and Excise revenue at its disposal. It has no right to introduce legislation to take control of the lands of the Commonwealth, since the Constitution left that control entirely in the hands of the States. I have been a consistent supporter of. the policy of taxing the unimproved value of land for over twenty years.

Senator Henderson - As long as the principle could not be put into operation.

Senator VARDON - I have helped to put it into force. I am not opposing the Kill on that account, but because the Commonwealth Parliament has no right to take up the question of land taxation. Neither from a revenue stand-point nor from the stand-point of bursting up the big estates ought this Bill to have been put before us.

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