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Wednesday, 6 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) - - I move -

That this Bill be now read a second time.

Everything was done to make the Land Tax Assessment Bill of last session as clear as possible; but as .we live in a fallible world, the Government and their supporters do not possess all the knowledge, and of course it is not the duty of the Opposition to come to their assistance and put them right, as they ought to do when omissions and mistakes are sometimes made. Therefore it has been found necessary, for the proper administration of the Act, and also in the interests of joint owners, trustees, agents, and other persons of that description, that certain amendments should be made. When the Government found in the administration of the Act that there were provisions which were not perfectly clear, and that in some instances the High Court placed on the Act an interpretation which they did not consider was exactly what was meant by Parliament, they realized that it was necessary to amend the law. I am not saying that any fault rests with the High Court, because the Judges must administer the laws as they find them. It was probably the fault of the Government, in the first instance, and then of Parliament in not making the measure more perfect. This short amending Bill contains thirteen clauses. Some of them, of course, are of a very technical character ; in fact, without taking up very much more time than I desire to occupy in presenting the measure, I could not go into all the technicalities. I shall leave that to honorable senators, who have a copy of the Bill in their hands, and can see where amendments are proposed to Le made in the Act. I hope that the Bill will be speedily passed. The rapid way in which we are proceeding shows that there is an inclination on the part of honorable senators to finish the work as expeditiously as possible. At the same time, I believe that they are giving every consideration to the provisions of the different measures. I have much pleasure in submitting the motion.

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