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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I am very pleased that the Minister has pointed out how illogical I am.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was not necessary; but I did it.

Senator GARDINER - I realized that I could scarcely look for assistance from supporters of the Government if I tried to delete the item. I have, therefore, directed special attention to things which many people in Australia believe could very well be dispensed with, and I am prepared to take a test vote on the request' I have moved. I admit that I should have included malt, as well ,as spirituous, liquors.

Senator de Largie - If the honorable senator will move to include in the item articles required by honorable senators I shall support him.

Senator GARDINER - If articles required by the Governor-General in his official capacity are to be admitted free of duty, how much more necessary is it that articles required by honor able senators should be admitted free of duty. Consider what an advantage that would be at election time. I adhere to my request, illogical though it may be, and to make ray position right, if I fail to carry it, I will call for a division on the item. I submit the request purely with a desire to assert the principle that there should be equality in the application of our laws. Why should we set the example of singling out the King's representative as the only person who shall not pay taxes? There is no question of protecting local manufactures involved in this matter, but the Government must get revenue in these hard times, when income tax and other taxes are complained of so severely, and there is no reason why taxable goods consumed by the Governor-General and his guests should not contribute to the revenue in the same way as similar goods consumed' by other persons in the Commonwealth. I think that it would be rather a good example to set if we decided that the highest in the land must pay taxation in the same way as the most humble, particularly on things that are not necessities. We all know that wines and spirits have largely gone out of use. At one time they were considered essential, but with the advance of science, knowledge, and intellectual development, they have been shown to be unessential.

Request negatived.

Item agreed to.

Senator Gardiner - Can I not call for a vote on the whole item ? I moved my request in order to test the feeling of the Committee, and announced my intention, if it were not agreed to, to vote against the whole item.

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