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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3004

Senator MESSNER(12.34) —Mr Temporary Chairman--

Senator Chipp —Haven't you had a fair go?

Senator MESSNER —I think Senator Chipp and I had better go outside for a while. The Minister for Finance (Senator Walsh) is about to respond to this point. I did not think he was going to respond, but if there is a reasonable chance of getting this legislation through by lunch time I am prepared to give way to him to hear his reply.

I just want to make one point about Senator Bolkus and his remarks. It is pretty clear that he has absolutely misread proposed new section 51AE as contained in the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill (No. 4). There is no reference in that to deduction of expenses which are directly attributable to the production of income. That is not in that section at all. The point of this amendment is to provide for deduction of entertainment expenses. That is the fundamental misunderstanding which Senator Bolkus has. One has to appreciate that Senator Bolkus is capable of misunderstanding a lot of things, as he misunderstands laws about telephones from time to time, as I understand it. That is likely to lead, I would think, to quite definite problems in the Committee if people can be misled in the way he has put his argument.

I repeat that the Opposition's position is simple. We do not stand for the abuse of entertainment expenses at all. The purpose of our amendment is to provide that only properly incurred and legitimate expenses can be deducted against the production of assessable income. That is the purpose of this amendment. It is not the purpose of this Opposition to drive a cart and horse through the proposed legislation, but rather to provide the legislative framework for the Commissioner of Taxation to administer the entertainment expense deduction in a reasonable and proper manner so that legitimate expenses can be allowed against assessable income.