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Thursday, 24 October 1974
Page: 2013

Senator MURPHY (New South WalesLeader of the Government in the Senate) - I wish to turn to another subject. Today the Melbourne 'Sun News-Pictorial' published on its front page a story by one Laurie Oakes. It was headed: "Tax Plan May Hit Schools, Charities'. The article stated:

The Federal Government is considering a plan to scrap tax deductions for gifts to school building funds . . . Government sources said last night Cabinet would consider soon a submission to abolish the deductions from the end of this financial year.

There was other material of this kind. I then turned to another portion of the report which reads:

Sources said last night that the head of the Sydney University School of Physics Professor Harry Messel had been lobbying for abolition of the school building deductions.

The report continues on the next page in these terms:

Professor Messel is employed as a consultant to the Attorney-General, Senator Murphy. Some Government members said last night that in trie Government's present electorally-perilous position, abolition of the deductions would be political folly.

I want to say that there is no truth whatever in this statement made on the front page of that newspaper that Professor Messel had been lobbying for the abolition of the school building deductions. There is no truth whatever in the suggestion that as Professor Messel was a consultant of mine I was in any way concerned with lobbying for the abolition of school building deductions. Furthermore, from the information which was given to me I believe that Mr Oakes knew that what is contained in the article was untrue before the article appeared in the newspaper.

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