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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 2996

Senator WALSH (Minister for Finance)(11.40) —On that last point, given that the Federal Treasurer of the Liberal Party of Australia, wearing his hat as Chairman of Carlton and United Breweries, is getting around lobbying for a heavier tax on wine, that is a question which the Liberal Party had better sort out internally. Senator Walters raised a question about sub-contractors at the Hydro-Electric Commission. This applies not only to the Hydro-Electric Commission but also to others. If the employees of such sub-contractors were to eat in the prime contractor's or the principal's canteen, the principal or prime contractor would have the option of charging the employees for that meal. Providing that charge fully covered the cost of providing the meal, the effect of that would be tax neutral. If there was a subsidy in it, to the extent that there was a subsidy, that would be disallowed through not completely allowing the cost of providing the meal as a deduction under section 51.

Senator Watson asked-I presume this was a smart-Alick question-how the Government is going to police who goes into the canteen and how often. The Government is not going to police who goes into canteens. It draws attention to the fact-this is a fair enough point to make-that some of these provisions will not be easy to administer. What the Opposition would have us do is apply it right across the board to magnify a thousandfold the administrative difficulties because it argues that the legitimate business lunch should be allowed as a deduction and the rort should not be. It is precisely for the reason that battalions of bureaucrats would be required in the Australian Taxation Office to enforce the policy that the Opposition advocates that the Government has adopted the policy that it has.