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Wednesday, 30 August 1972
Page: 906

Mr HAMER (Isaacs) - This Budget has thrown the Opposition into complete disarray. Honourable members opposite have been searching desperately to find something to criticise in the Budget. They have solved their problems by talking about practically anything but the 1972 Budget. We have just had a very good example of that technique demonstrated to us by the harangue of the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James). This avoidance of the issue of the debate is scarcely surprising. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) had to dredge the bottom of the barrel to find anything to criticise in tax reforms which totally exempted 600,000 taxpayers from income tax, and decreased the tax payable by the remainder by amounts varying from 14 per cent at the bottom of the income scale to 6i per cent at the top. In addition to this, deductions for dependents are increased, and expenses for self -education are deductible for the first time.

It is worth noting that the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition does not mention tax, despite all his talk about 'a rich man's budget'. This is obviously because his lavish expenditure promises in every direction could be met only by a great increase in taxation. The measures for new expenditures in this Budget are socially desirable and economically responsible. We will have the opportunity to debate them in detail in the Estimates debates. The decision to abolish the means test obviously threw the Leader of the Opposition into a panic, and he is now arguing, with considerable sophistry and nimble footwork, that when he said 6 years, he really meant 3 years. This is alarming arithmetic from one who claims to be the alternative Prime Minister.

Mr Cope - Where is the money coming from?

Mr HAMER - As I said, the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition makes no mention of where the money is coming from.

Mr Cope - Where is the money coming from?

Mr HAMER - I am talking about where the money is coming from. The amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition made no mention of taxation for the very obvious reason that all the promises he makes can be redeemed only by greatly increased taxation, as some of the members of his own Party are honest enough to admit.

What we must get over to members of the community, as, I think, many of them already realise, is the fact that increased productivity is the key to all the things the community is striving for - improved education, better social services, a more pleasant environment and so on. For too many the concept of a fair days work for a fair days pay is a thing of the past. They think they should be paid more for working less, forgetting that the inevitable effect of this will be either higher prices, or a sharp drop in profits, resulting in a lowering of capital investment and a decline in the rise of productivity. In either case the community as a whole is worse off. The idea that we can have more by working less is absurd. Equally absurd is the attitude of people such as the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) on the 35-hour week. He claims that the Australian Labor Party would pick only on the wealthy industries although he knows that the shorter week would immediately flow on to similar industries, whether they could afford to pay or not.

The pattern is obvious. Pick on the capital intensive industries which cannot afford to be struck, and the rest will follow. Mobilise suspicion of foreigners by picking on industries with a high level of foreign ownership such as the oil industry, ignoring deliberately the fact that the oil industry is one of the few industries which has price control for its products, and that this price is set by the Prices Commissioner of the Labor State of South Australia.

Mr Les Johnson (HUGHES, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Mr Deputy Speaker, I call your attention to the state of the House.

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