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Wednesday, 1 December 1965

Mr BOWEN (Parramatta) .- I oppose the amendment, which seeks to add the word " newspapers I oppose it on the ground that newspapers have already been held to be " goods ".I recall that in 1927 an argument was advanced to the High Court that newspapers were mainly valuable because of the information and knowledge which they conveyed to the public and, therefore, that they fell into the real of communications rather than of goods. The High Court rejected that argument and held that newspapers were goods. The result of the decision was that a tax of one halfpenny per paper - a very convenient tax to collect - which the New South Wales Government had sought to impose upon newspapers was held to be a tax upon goods and, therefore, a form of excise, which it was beyond the power of the New South Wales Parliament to impose. In view of the decision in "John Fairfax and Sons Ltd. versus the State of New South Wales ", reported in 39 Commonwealth Law Reports at page 139, it would seem to be unnecessary to add this word to the definition.

Mr Whitlam - Would the honorable gentleman say that newspapers are no more informative now than they were in 1927?

Mr BOWEN - No. I leave that kind of political remark to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

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