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Wednesday, 9 October 1985
Page: 897


Senator DURACK —My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer, also refers to the Minister's responsibilities in his own right. Does the Minister agree with the statement in the taxation White Paper with reference to the tax status of gold mining? I quote from the White Paper:

There is little justification for continuation of the exemption.

Does the Minister further agree that, since the Government has now abolished or modified other so-called tax shelters identified in the White Paper, it is only a matter of time before this Government taxes gold as well? Why does the Government not come clean and admit that the inquiry into gold tax is nothing more than a charade-a device aimed at preventing the inevitable taxing of gold from becoming an issue at the next Western Australian election?


Senator WALSH —I am glad that Senator Durack put that last line in because that saves me the trouble of identifying the reason that he asked this question. Senator Durack is trying to rescue his hopeless mates in the Western Australian Branch of the Liberal Party, particularly the hopeless Western Australian Leader of the Liberal Party, from the debacle which is looming up for them at the next State election. The people who run the Liberal Party in Western Australia are the people who were up to their eyeballs in tax evasion and tax avoidance, with the agreement of the Fraser Government, for a number of years. Senator Durack personally facilitated this when he decided to put that tax dodger file in the bottom drawer and leave it there for five years. Whether that had anything to do with him preserving his preselection in the Western Australian Branch of the Liberal Party I do not know or whether he is asking this question in order to preserve--


Senator Crichton-Browne —Does Gael work for Brian Burke?


Senator WALSH —Go and sell some more Poseidon shares.


The PRESIDENT —Order! I ask the Minister to ignore interjections.


Senator WALSH —The honourable senator's wife, who worked in Burrill and Jones, made some very judicious purchases of Poseidon shares.


The PRESIDENT —Order! I have asked the Minister to ignore interjections. If he does not do so I will ask him to resume his seat.


Senator WALSH —The fact, as Senator Durack knows very well, is that the Government has set up a study regarding the taxing of gold or the future taxation status of gold mining.


Senator DURACK —I ask a supplementary question. Senator Walsh did not answer my first and most important question: Does the Minister agree with the statement in the tax White Paper referring to the tax exempt status of gold? It states:

There is little justification for continuation of the exemption.


Senator WALSH —Whether I agree or disagree is a matter of no consequence. The fact is that the Government has decided to establish the study.