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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3045

Senator MICHAEL BAUME(4.36) —I want to deal very briefly with the principle of substantiation of certain expenses contained in clause 14. This clause inserts new subdivision F in Division 3 of Part III of the principal Act to introduce rules requiring substantiation of employment related expenses of employees and car and travel expenses claims by employees and self-employed persons. The Committee is well aware of the impact that changes in the rules relating to motor vehicle use will have on the motor vehicle industry. Of course, the voters in South Australia are very aware of the economic consequences for that State of changes in the tax arrangements for motor vehicles. I simply want to make the point fairly briefly that the Government is seeking to introduce a system of substantiation to solve what it considers to be abuses of the tax system such as rip-offs or whatever other emotive word the Minister chooses to use at the time.

The fact is that this problem is to be resolved by effective substantiation requirements. The Government would not be introducing substantiation requirements if they were not effective. Therefore, it seems reasonable to make the assumption that the Government believes the substantiation requirements in this legislation are sufficiently effective, no matter what their consequences on various industries may be. If it is reasonable to introduce substantiation requirments to solve a problem or to raise more money in this instance, how can the Government claim that substantiation arrangements are inappropriate in respect of entertainment expenses? Here we have a case of simple incompetence, in logical terms, by the Government. It is okay, acceptable and reasonable to have substantiation requirements as set out in clause 14 when they relate to belting the South Australian motor vehicle industry, but it is not reasonable to have them when the Government would much prefer to belt even harder the entertainment industry. I think it would be inappropriate, despite the pressures of time, to allow this clause to be put to a vote without at least making a criticism and a complaint about the lack of logic and the unfair and discriminatory nature of the Government's measures.