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Wednesday, 26 November 1941

Mr FALSTEIN (Watson) .- According to the estimate of the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley), receipts from estate duty during the balance of this financial year will total nearly £500,000. For a complete year the tax which the bill imposes would raise approximately £650,000. The honorable member for Warringah (Mr. Spender), when Treasurer, introduced in May, 1940, an amending bill which would have increased the proceeds from this tax to £850,000 a year. At that period, honorable members opposite sat on this side of the chamber and according to their story they were satisfied with the amendment.

Mr Holt - The amendment was not debated in this chamber.

Mr FALSTEIN - At that period, the Government of the day was satisfied to introduce that legislation. It must have weighed all of the considerations which honorable members opposite now advance for the information of the Minister assisting the Treasurer (Mr. Lazzarini). The very amendments which the Opposition now suggests to the Minister were either disregarded or rejected by them, even though the war had entered its second year. To me, their protests are merely comical.

In my opinion, the bill will effect substantial progress in the implementation of the policy of the Labour party. Expressed briefly, that policy is, " Maximum production with the most equi.table distribution ". The increase of estate duty, such as is proposed in this bill, is one method of establishing a more equitable distribution of the national wealth among all who, by virtue of their citizenships, are entitled to participate in it. My only regret is that the measure does not provide for a steeper increase of the rates of estate duty. Few, if any, honorable members on this side of the chamber, or their constituents, will he affected by the bill, but that cannot be said of honorable members opposite. For example, the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Duncan-Hughes) and the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony) are said to possess substantial estates. 'Consequently, it is not surprising that they should protest against the bill.

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