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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 2992

Senator WATSON(11.18) —I remind the Committee of a statement which was made by the Treasurer (Mr Keating) in his tax reform deliberations that there would be a disallowance across the board for entertainment expenses. Yet we find that the legislation provides for a number of exceptions. Therefore, I think there will be quite a spate of legal challenges. There will be many problems associated with this clause. I think this clause also is a manifestation of the fact that the Government likes to deal with big unions and big business, to the exclusion of small business, because the availability of deductibility for in-house dining and recreational facilities will be available only to those businessess which have the resources to cater adequately for their employees on their own premises. So it appears that the Government is totally unconcerned about small business, those businessess that are unable to provide the resources to give in-house dining facilities to their employees. I believe there is a discrimination between the benefits given to the private sector and the benefits given to the public sector. One has only to see the introduction dates for private sector fringe benefit taxation to see that there is a discrepancy of 9 months. One wonders whether government departments will be subject to fringe benefit taxation on expenses incurred by their employees after 1 July 1986, whereas this legislation, in relation to this clause, applies from 20 September 1985.