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Wednesday, 26 October 1910


Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I must apologize for speaking again, but I should like to summarize the views which I hold regarding Senator Walker's amendment. It is not a little to have obtained such an admission as that with which we have been favoured by Senator Rae, when he said that there was a theoretical fairness associated with the amendment. There is really no conflict as to the facts of the case. Two sides have been presented. The supporters of the Bill have continually dwelt on the fact that a large number of land-owners have succeeded in acquiring what is called the incremental or community-created value of land. On the other side it is urged that there is another class of land-owners who, through circumstances which I need not repeat, have purchased land in connexion with which there has been no added value. Those facts are not in dispute. We do not deny that probably a majority of the land-holders possess land in connexion with which there has been an added value. On the other hand, no one has denied that there are land-owners owning land which is not worth more than, or as much as, the original sum for which it was purchased from the Crown. It is quite clear that neither this Bill nor any Bill which this Parliament could pass could differentiate between those two classes - the men who have secured the unearned increment and those who have not. The supporters of the Bill say, " Because we cannot differentiate, we are going to levy the tax alike on those who have secured the unearned increment, and upon those who have not." We, on the Opposition side, also recognising that it is impossible to differentiate, prefer to make a slight concession to the man who has secured the unearned increment rather than levy a tax on those who have not. That statement marks the difference between the two parties. I wish to make it abundantly clear that if 1 had a choice of levying a tax on those who have secured the unearned increment, and of exempting those who have not, I would adopt that course. But I cannot do so. I prefer, therefore, the course of making a concession to a few wealthy land-owners, in order to do a measure of justice to those who have not been lucky in their investments, rather than to strike at those who have been unfortunate, in order to hit all the wealthy land-owners. I repeat that in order to ease the applicationof this measure to the man who has purchased land that is not now worth what he paid for it, I am prepared to make a concession to those who have greatly profited by their investments.







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