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Wednesday, 11 October 1972
Page: 1476

Senator JESSOP (South Australia) - I am happy to support these measures, particularly the one related to the assessment of duties upon the estates of deceased persons. I believe that this is a form of taxation which borders on the iniquitous. I have mentioned this on several occasions since I have been in this place. Senator Guilfoyle reminded me earlier that the provisions of the Bill increasing the exemption from $20,000 to $40,000 are realistic because $40,000 would cover the matrimonial home, the car, and the usual assets amassed in a workingman's home during his lifetime. The Australian Labor Party, of course, sees this only as a tax to deprive the family of a deceased person of its rightful assets - Labor Party members are always talking about redistribution of wealth - but we see this Bill as a means of protecting the assets of the family unit. I have been in the position on numerous occasions of having to make representations to the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) in the imposition of this duty on rural estates. I recall that some years ago when I was in another place that I had to make representations on behalf of a family that was asked to pay an amount of $250,000 on a rural property estate in South Australia. The nearest I could get to what 1 considered to be a reasonable attitude was the granting to these people by the Government of time to pay this amount. More recently since I came into the Senate a family in South Australia was faced with a bill of $175,000 with respect to an estate in a South Australian rural area. This presented the family with the problem of having to sell a property in order to pay this amount.

The Government's recognition of the problem is evident in the Bill before the Senate at this time and the Bill goes some way towards meeting this problem. I was happy that the Treasurer announced that the whole taxation structure in Australia was to be reviewed and that he had appointed a committee to look into it. Death duties are an item which would come under that committee's terms of reference. I am convinced - and here I agree with previous speakers - that this form of taxation ought to be abolished in its entirity I support the proposals of the Democratic Labor Party but suggest that this is not entirely the prerogative of the DLP although it introduced that-

Senator Gair - It was the first time it was moved.

Senator JESSOP - That is quite correct but this has always been in the minds of many honourable senators on this side of the House. I support the motion which has been moved by the DLP. I call that Senator Davidson on 7th October 1971 referred this particular matter to the Senate Standing Committee on finance and Government Operations. That was an indication of how this side of the House has supported the concept behind the DLP's amendment. 1 appreciate the interjections from the DLP senators. I am trying to demonstrate how much we on this side of the chamber agree with what has been proposed by the DLP tonight. I find it quite unusual for the Australian Labor Party to be supporting the Government on this measure because after all the Labor Party was responsible for introducing this form of taxation to the Australian people. I well know why it brought in this particular measure. It was directing this venomous tax at the 6 per cent of Australian taxpayers who have since been paying 40 per cent of the revenue from it. I refer to those people in the rural areas of this country. This measure is a step in the right direction arid. I wholeheartedly support it. I put my full support behind the DLP's amendment arid commend this Bill to the Senate. '

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