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Thursday, 27 May 1993
Page: 1503


Senator LEES (Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats) (4.11 p.m.) —The Australian Democrats are determined to exhaust all the parliamentary processes available to us. As Senator Patterson has outlined, this issue has been running since December last year. The Democrats have been, and continue to be, opposed to what we see as a most unfair measure. It impacts not only on pensioners but also on the share market, the value of Australian shares and whether Australians will be encouraged to own shares. I will not re-run that issue, but simply explain where we are now. We are not prepared to let it die.

  Effectively, in supporting Senator Patterson's amendment, we have temporarily taken it off a vehicle that is passing us and we are more than prepared to put it on the next vehicle that comes our way. We do believe it needs to be looked at very closely. I realise there has already been some discussion in committee on this matter, but not to these specific points. By referring this matter to a committee, we will give pensioners a specific place to direct their letters, comments and experiences rather than risk the whole lot of mail ending up in a bin somewhere.

  The groups that have been coming to us and writing to us—the hundreds of people from Tasmania alone who have written to Senator Bell—will now be able to address their anger and make comments and formal representation to the Senate committee on this issue. The issue is very much alive, and we are not prepared to walk away from it. There is still a lot to be done in the use of the parliamentary process to make sure that the Government really is made accountable. One hidden issue is exactly how far we will go on this principle that the Government has decided upon. Will taxpayers who hold shares end up paying more tax if those shares go up in value? This will certainly not be the last time that we deal with this issue in this place. I look forward to the committee hearings as we proceed towards August.