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Wednesday, 16 December 1914

The PRESIDENT - I ask the honorable senator not to discuss that phase of the question at length, as we may have the same discussion over again on a later Bill.

Senator MILLEN - That would be a disaster. I submit, however, that the amount of the duty provided for in this Bill has some bearing upon the frequency with, which the tax is likely to be collected. If this tax had only to be paid once in a century it would not be so heavy as if an estate were called upon to bear the tax every twelve months.

Senator McDougall - It would disappear altogether.

Senator MILLEN - It would. I have a case in mind that occurred not long ago in New South Wales, where a very large estate fell in twice within the same twelve months. That may happen again, and, having mentioned the point, I pass from it. Whilst probate and succession duties are a legitimate source of revenue, the fact that the States have also levied them must bring home to all of us who care to look a little ahead., that sooner or later, as the Commonwealth's demands increase, and Ave double the taxation imposed by the States, we shall bring the Stale finances into a condition of bankruptcy. I suggest, for the consideration of this Senate - because the matter is rather too remote - that sooner or later the public men of Australia will have to consider whether it is not advisable, in the interests of the Commonwealth as well as of the States, that some understanding should be arrived at to leave certain fields of taxation exclusively to each of these taxing authorities.

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