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Thursday, 10 November 1921

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - I think all honorable senators are endeavouring to do away with the duplication of services, particularly in regard to the collection of taxes. Some people seem pleased that the Taxation Office in Western Australia has been abolished, and thatin future the Federal Government will collect both the State and Federal taxes there. After I had spoken on the Budget the other day, the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) paid me the compliment of replying to one or two of my statements, but he omitted to take notice of what I regarded as the most important one. I quoted a statement made by the Premier of South Australia (Mr. Barwell) some time ago, giving a comparison between the State Taxation Office in South Australia and the Federal Office there. Mr. Barwell said thatin the Federal Office there were more than twice as many officers, and the cost of the Department was considerably more than twice that of the South Australian office. I noticed astatement reported in the Adelaide Advertiser some days ago by the Treasurer (Mr. Ritchie),, who amplified what Mr. Barwell had said. Mr. Ritchie stated that in the Federal Taxation Office in Adelaide there were 156 officers, and they collected something like £639,211, while in the State Taxation Office there were only 40 officers, and they collected £662,324. That means that- there are practically four times as many officers in the Commonwealth. Taxation Office in Adelaide as there are in the State office.

Senator Wilson - Either the Federal office has four times as much work to do as the State office, or- there are four times as many men as are required to do the work1.

Senator VARDON - Exactly.

Senator Russell - I am getting those figures analyzed. I know of lads in the Taxation Office to-day who are getting wages that are a disgrace to us.

Senator Wilson - But this is a case of over-manning.

Senator Russell - Those are ex parte statements.

Senator VARDON - They are statements made by responsible men, including both the Premier and the Treasurer of South Australia. Notwithstanding that the Federal officers in the Taxation Department of that State are nearly four times greater in number than the officers in the State Taxation Department, they have to deal with a considerably less number of taxpayers. I hope the Minister will note what I have said, and vouchsafe some explanation.

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