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Friday, 4 October 1918
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Mr TUDOR (Yarra) .- The proposal is that a licence-fee of £500 must be -paid by a firm which manufactures over 500,000 lbs. and under 1,000,000 lbs. of tobacco, cigarettes, or cigars, and a fee of £100 for- each additional 1,000,000 lbs. manufactured. The manufacturer who makes 5,000,000 lbs. of tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars will be called upon to pay a licence-fee of £900. Thus he will be able to manufacture ten times the quantity that a small man may manufacture, and yet he will not be called upon to pay by way of licence-fee more than £400 more than the other will be expected to pay. The discrepancy is too great. The fee should be at least £500 for each additional 1,000,000 lbs. weight of tobacco, cigarettes, or cigars manufactured by any firm. In our other taxation the graduation becomes steeper in the higher grades of income, but the proposition of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Jensen) is tol et the graduation apply the other way. I admit that the proposal is an improvement on what has hitherto been the practice, where the licence-fee demanded has been £250. Honorable members may say that 1 brought about no reform when I was Minister for Trade and Customs, but it is well known that many Statutes have been awaiting the opportunity for amendment. Here is the opportunity fur amending the matter in a proper way. We ought not to give the big manufacturers any advantage over firms which turn out not more than 500,000 lbs, of tobacco, cigarettes, or cigars in a year. It would be better if the Minister would give further reflection to the matter, and postpone the consideration of the complete schedule until Thursday next, when there will be ample time for sending it on to the Senate.

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