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Tuesday, 29 September 1942

Mr SPOONER (Robertson) .- Under this clause, members of the fighting forces are granted complete exemption from income tax on their military pay provided the amount does not exceed £250. On incomes exceeding that figure, the exemption diminishes gradually until it disappears at £350. So long as the matter remained one of government policy, the Special Taxation Committee could not serve any good purpose by considering it. If the Treasurer (Mr. Chifley) is impressed with the case that has been submitted for an extension of the exemption, the Government should not attempt to deal with the matter this evening. The Treasurer uttered words of wisdom when he said that any one who tries to make amendments "on the run" to an income tax bill is seeking trouble and will most assuredly find it. But if the Treasurer is impressed with the case - I hope that he is, because I think that it is just - for an extension of the exemption of £250, the Government might well refer the matter to the special committee to-morrow, so that the subject may be considered before the Senate receives the bill. First, the Government must determine whether it will agree to reconsider the scope of the exemption. When that has been settled, the points which have been raised this evening must be carefully analysed. The whole matter bristles with anomalies, which operate not only within Australia but also as between servicemen now in Australia and those abroad. The problem must be handled with the utmost care. I hope that the Government will adopt the suggestion for a flat exemption of £250 a year, and ask the special committee to consider the matter.

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