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Wednesday, 2 November 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) - - I thank the Vice-President of the Executive Council for having so fully demonstrated the soundness of the view which I have endeavoured to impress on the Committee. I argued that the clause offers no inducement to a defaulting taxpayer to make good his default in payment. The honorable gentleman himself has admitted that. He has said that the Government propose to levy the same penalty upon a land-owner who is one week in arrear with his payment, as they intend to exact from the land-owner who is nine months in arrear. Such a course of procedure is not only bad business, but it is absolutely unfair. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has conclusively demonstrated the fairness of my view that the penalty should accumulate as time goes on. He drew a picture of the taxpayer who was three months in arrear, another of the land-owner who was six months in arrear, and still another of the defaulter who was nine months in arrear. As the object of the clause is to insure the prompt payment of the tax, it can only achieve its object by making the penalty a cumulative one. In its present form it will defeat the object which it has in view. Any taxpayer who has incurred a fine of io per cent, because he is in default one day, will scarcely hurry round to the Treasury to make his payment the next day.

Senator McGregor - He will come with his hat in his hand pleading to the Commissioner to let him off for that one day, and the Commissioner will do so.

Senator MILLEN - I have abandoned all hope of securing in this Bill any amendment, the wisdom of which has been proved by experience.

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