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Wednesday, 10 April 1946

Mr TURNBULL (WIMMERA, VICTORIA) .- This bill is welcome, because I believe it to be the forerunner of more reductions which will prove helpful to the business community, and assist to restore trade and commerce to normal proportions. There must be further reductions of the tax in the future, if we are to return to anything like the conditions of pre-war days. Sales tax exemption item SIa authorizes the exemption of " goods purchased, imported or manufactured by an organization not carried on for the profit of individuals - (i) for donation to, or for the use, comfort or recreation (whether as goods or in some other form) of, members of the defence force of the Commonwealth ". Throughout Australia, many patriotic bodies are buying goods for presentation to ex-servicemen all over the country. These organizations are not carried on for the profit of individuals. If the conditions of item 81a are complied with, the goods may be purchased free of sales tax by the patriotic bodies referred to, but they must give a certificate to the Commissioner of Taxation in these terms -

I hereby certify that the goods purchased by the organization will be donated to members of the naval, military or air forces of the Commonwealth.

I had hoped that by means of an amendment of this bill, or the introduction of another measure, exemption, could be extended so that it would apply to exservice men and women, and not be confined to existing members of the forces. The persons to whom the presentations are to be made may be members of the forces when the goods are purchased, but they may be discharged before becoming the recipients of them. Consequently, the goods cannot be tax-free. That seems to be an anomaly. If a person is entitled to the benefit of the exemption to-day, because lie is a member of one of the forces, why should he not be entitled to it tomorrow, even though he has been discharged ? In all other respects, I approve of the bill wholeheartedly. I believe it to be a step in the right direction, and hope that greater reductions and exemptions will be made in the near future for ihe good of business throughout Australia and of the community generally.

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