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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2637

Senator LITTLE (Victoria) -The Australian Democratic Labor Party is prepared to support this Bill. It is contrary to the policies and the principles that our Party has always supported insofar as we have never believed in sales tax. We think that sales tax is a bad and wrong method of tax collection and that it is totally unfair. This Bill relates to an industry that previously enjoyed exemption from sales tax. It would appear that the Government made a deliberate decision that children's soft drinks must attract sales tax the same as the hard liquors drunk by adults. Shortly after the Government was elected it exempted contraceptives from sales tax. Now, by the implementation of this Bill sales tax is to be applied to the soft drinks of children. It is Government policy and the Government is proceeding with its policy.

We were greatly concerned that the industry had become dependent to some extent upon this exemption from sales tax and had expanded under those conditions. The fruit juice extraction industry was expanding quite considerably because of the advantage that it had in this area. A sudden cessation of the exemption created tremendous embarrassment in the industry and made redundant a lot of plant, some of which had not even been used but had been installed with the idea of promoting the sales of extracted fruit juice for use in carbonated beverages. This proposition was made attractive by the fact that manufacturers of carbonated beverages were advantaged by using fruit juices exempted from sales tax. However, as I said, this Bill represents Government policy. The Government after pressure was applied, promised assistance to the extent that it is now offering some compensation to people in the industry. We are prepared to allow the Bill to pass.

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