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Thursday, 13 April 1972
Page: 1585

Mr HURFORD (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I have a question for the Treasurer about tax reform. Is it not a fact that the taxation inquiry he announced on Tuesday night will take many months to be completed, probably well over a year? Does be realise that such an inquiry has been for some time a part of the Labor Party tax reform policy? In view of the fact that the report will be made to the next government - more than likely a Labor government - will he, in order to save a monumental waste of public funds, seek agreement with the Opposition on the terms of reference and the personnel of this inquiry?

Mr SNEDDEN - The hope that springs eternal in the honourable gentleman's breast will be taken into account. The inquiry will have terms of reference which will make sure that it is a broad inquiry going to the very principles of tax incidence. It will have regard to the equity of tax and to the need that governments must have to raise revenue in order that they can respond to the very reasonable requirements of a community for expenditure in the community on the services it wants. It will advise us in relation to personal income tax, company income tax, and also, of course, indirect tax. We do not contemplate that the inquiry will go into detail unless the inquiry itself chooses to go into detail. Rather, we have in mind that it should be an inquiry of the very highest calibre and that principally it will concern itself with principles, so that the Government can have the full range in front of it. 1 see no reason whatsoever for consultation with the Opposition as to the terms of reference simply because it would not be customary to consult the Opposition, and - a stronger reason - because we will not be holding back at all from the inquiry, in the terms of reference, any measures which it wishes to consider.

As to the personnel to conduct the inquiry there can be no doubt whatever that they must be the best personnel that can be found. Already I am engaged in consideration of the actual terms of reference so that they do reflect what I have said. Already I have had names suggested to me and there is a great number of them. I would expect that by early May 1 will be able to announce the terms of reference and the personnel.

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