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Tuesday, 11 April 1961

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) .- I refer to clause 2 which reads -

This Act shall be deemed to have come into operation on the twenty-second day of February, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one. and move -

Omit " twenty-second day of February, One thousand nine hundred and sixty-one ", insert " sixteenth day of November, One thousand nine hundred and sixty ".

As the Opposition indicated during the second-reading debate, the purpose of this amendment is to make this amending legislation effective as from 16th November, 1960, the date on which the sales tax on motor cars was raised from 30 to 40 per cent. That was the date on which the Government introduced these emergency measures, as it called them.

In introducing this bill, the Government, in effect, is admitting that it made a colossal mistake by increasing the sales tax. We believe that, as a matter of morality and justice, now that the mistake is being corrected, those unfortunate people who bought motor cars between the 17th November, 1960, and the 22nd February, 1961, should be reimbursed the amount of the additional sales tax. 1 think that there were between 50,000 and 60,000 people who paid the increased tax. The bill of course, reduces the tax from 40 per cent to 30 per cent., but the purpose of the Opposition's motion is that the bill shall not operate merely from 22nd February, but will date back to the time in November, 1960, when the Government increased the tax.

The CHAIRMAN (Mr. Lucock).Order! I point out that this bill does not deal with the sales tax on motor cars. This is the measure which deals with the sales tax on motor cycles and motor scooters.

Mr CREAN - There are two amendments which the Opposition wishes to move. The first amendment is on this bill - the Sales Tax (Exemptions and Classifications) Bill.

Mr Harold Holt - The Opposition's purpose is to require the Government to refund the extra sales tax collected?

Mr CREAN - Yes. Between 16th November. 1960. and 22nd February, 1961, some 50,000 or 60,000 people bought motor cars and paid 40 per cent sales tax on them. They paid anything from £80 to £100 more for a motor car than they would pay for the corresponding model after 22nd February, 1961. We suggest that the increase in sales tax was a mistake on the part of the Government and we believe that, as a matter of justice the people who have been penalized by that mistake should receive a refund of the excess sales tax paid. Legally, the additional amount paid was not " excess " because the law provided that 40 per cent sales tax should be paid from 16th November 1960, to 22nd February, 1961. The Opposition asks that this legislation be made retrospective to 16th November, 1960, so that those people who paid the additional sales tax will be legally entitled to have it refunded to them.

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