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Tuesday, 16 November 1976
Page: 2715

Mr CALDER (Northern Territory) - I shall mention a few of the remarks made by the Opposition concerning the Pay-roll Tax (Territories) Assessment Amendment Bill. Although the Opposition supports the Bill- and so it should- we heard the honourable member for Fraser (Mr Fry), who represents the people on one side of the lake, speaking about the battering that business has taken at the hands of this Government. For heaven's sake, business took the greatest battering of all times at the hands of the Australian Labor Party Government. For honourable members opposite to get up, as did the honourable member for Adelaide (Mr Hurford), and say the same sort of thing is complete nonsense. I ask: Who organised the high unemployment? Who organised inflation and high interest rates? It was the Australian Labor Party. Supporters of that party are talking as fast as they can to try to convince the people of Australia that this Government is responsible whereas, in actual fact, the Labor Government was utterly responsible for battering business, causing unemployment and high interest rates and generally running the economy on the rocks.

Honourable members opposite get up again and again to try to convince the people of Australia that this Government is responsible. But this Government is bringing the economy back on the rails again. It is a hard row to hoe because the Labor Government had run the economy down to such an extent. I ask the honourable member for Adelaide, who sanctimoniously told us what should be done, what he would do, as shadow Treasurer, in an endeavour to get the economy of Australia back on a sound basis when the Labor Government had run it down. The Labor Government ran up the borrowing rate and wrecked the country. What would the honourable member do now? I think he is very fortunate that he is in Opposition. He can snipe at anything this Government is trying to do in order to get the finance of the country back into a workable order.

I recall that the honourable member for Adelaide mentioned the hiring industries spectacular display out on the Parliament House lawns this afternoon. I would agree with him except that I do not believe that the lawns of Parliament House should be used for demonstrations of any type. I commend these men just the same, for the slickness with which they appeared, the efficiency with which they erected their marquee or circus tent or whatever it happened to be and for the way in which they took it down leaving none of the mess which can clutter up such a beautiful place which it is the right of all Australians to enjoy. I commend them for the way in which they handled their demonstration. I only hope they made an impression on the people they were attending.

In relation to this Pay-roll Tax (Territories) Assessment Amendment Bill, I commend the Government's action in raising the level of exemption in the first place from $20,800 to $41,600. That is of substantial assistance to small business. I hope that it will bring as much assistance in this Territory as it does in mine. Looking at the second reading speech of the Treasurer (Mr Lynch) I notice that he complimented his Canberra colleagues for the strong representations they made concerning the increase in the exemption level. I would like him to realise that my colleagues in the Northern Territory such as the executive members and members of the Legislative Assembly, members of the Chamber of Industries, not to mention my Senate colleagues and myself, made equally strong representations during the time that the Government was considering raising the exemption from $20,000-odd to $41,000. 1 appreciate that the amount has been increased to $48,000. The people in the Northern Territory and especially my colleagues in the Legislative Assembly will be gratified to realise that the Government has taken note of their representations and of the strong representations from the honourable members and honourable senators from Canberra. I support the Bill and commend the Government.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

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