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Wednesday, 26 October 1910


Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - I have listened with interest to what has been said by Senator Rae and Senator McGregor. I hope that the VicePresident of the Executive Council will see his way not to make any discrimination such as is proposed by the amendment. The proposed new sub- paragraph especially mentions " a building occupied by a Masonic Society." Would it not be possible to amend the clause so as to make no discrimination or differentiation? Could we not say, " occupied by a society," without specifying any society?


Senator Findley - That would open the door very widely.


Senator KEATING - I should like to ask why. I do not think it is right that we should insert in any Bill a provision of this character. A number of my most intimate friends are very prominent members of the order referred to, but I do not think we should in any Commonwealth Statute discriminate between the members of that order and anybody else. I hope we shall respect the spirit of the Constitution, and at no time translate into legislative effect any provision which will discriminate in the way proposed between the members of our community.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [10.35].- I remind Senator Keating that, under this Bill, it is proposed that friendly societies shall be exempt from taxation. There is only one society of the class that I am aware of that is not registered as a friendly society, and that is the Masonic body.


Senator Guthrie - What about the Orangemen ?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD .- - They are registered as a friendly society.


Senator Guthrie - What about the Protestant Alliance?


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - The members of friendly societies are given certain benefits in the way of medical assistance, or assistance to their families at the time of their death. The Masonic body does not offer its members such benefits, but in every other respect it stands on exactly the same footing as the Oddfellows, the Druids, the Protestant Alliance, the Hibernians, and other recognised friendly societies. It would, in my opinion, be most unfair to discriminate between the members of the Masonic body and the members of the friendly societies I have referred to.


Senator Guthrie - We should not exempt any of these societies.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Or we should exempt them all.


Senator Pearce - The Committee has already passed the provision exempting friendly societies.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - Then I say it would be very unfair to attempt to draw a distinction between members of the Masonic body and members of the friendly societies I have mentioned. They should all be placed on the same footing, because none is established for the pecuniary benefit of its members.


Senator Keating - If the word is struck out, they will still be covered.


Senator Lt Colonel Sir ALBERT GOULD - No; because they are not registered as a friendly society. To attempt to discriminate between the members of the Masonic body and the members of other friendly societies would be to act unfairly to a large section of the community.







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