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Wednesday, 27 November 1974
Page: 2828

Senator WEBSTER (VICTORIA) -My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. I ask the Minister to consider the question as a Minister, if he is unaware of the Treasurer's view. I refer to current news articles which state that the Labor Government intends to ensure that fringe benefits which are applicable to executives are taxed in some way. Does the Government intend that such proposed laws will have universal application or will some people who are in receipt of high incomes and substantial fringe benefits be excluded under Labor's proposition? For instance, will the Minister indicate from his own position what has been the consideration for members of Parliament, particularly Ministers, who have the availability of expensive cars and chauffeurs in every State of the Commonwealth and particularly for a Prime Minister who has the availability of cars such as Mercedes in nearly every State, the use of aircraft and the provision of private housing and other fringe benefits?

Senator WRIEDT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Agriculture) - I am not quite sure of the precise position. This matter obviously is the responsibility ofthe Treasurer himself, but Senator Webster was instancing Ministers and the Prime Minister and the fact that he uses a Mercedes. I would also add to the particulars that the honourable senator enumerated the evidence that was given before a Senate Estimates Committee only two or three weeks ago in which a photostate copy of the cost of providing Sir Robert Menzies with a motor vehicle showed $4,000 for his Bentley in one month. I believe much the same situation obtains with Sir John McEwen, who, I understand, was Prime Minister for 7 days only. The honourable senator nominated certain individuals but it is only fair that the Senate's attention be drawn to other examples as well. I shall draw the attention of the Treasurer to the question and obtain an answer for the honourable senator.

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