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Friday, 9 June 1989
Page: 3773

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE(11.11) —I have no ambition to spend more time on this Bill.

Senator Walsh —Mr Chairman, I rise on a point of order. Mr Chairman you put the question. I do not think you called it.

The CHAIRMAN —Senator Crichton-Browne rose before I had a chance to make a decision on the question.

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —I have no wish to prolong this debate or to hold up this legislation past that necessary in the process of reasonable discussion. However, I find it remarkable that we have a Bill before us and that of all the voluntary organisations that make application, as Senator Walsh has said they come to him and to all of us, seeking a tax deduction status, the Australian Ireland Fund pops up. It is not explained in the memorandum. It is not explained by the Minister for Finance and it is not able to be explained by the bureaucrats. I find it remarkable that we are being asked, on the judgment of the Government without explanation, to support this particular fund as being one more deserving than any other. I would not purport to make a value judgment as to whether it is more important than others. But I would have thought that before the Parliament passes legislation giving a priority the Government ought to be offering some sort of justification for that priority. I am sure a case can be made out by all of us. As Senator Walsh says, we could find on our files those other funds, organisations, associations and bodies which have made representations to us and asked that we make representations to the Treasurer that they have a tax deduction status. We are presented here with the Australian-Ireland Fund without any justification and explanation whatsoever and clearly without the Minister knowing why it is in the Bill in the first place except his recollection that he has some vague knowledge of some distant Cabinet meeting.