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Thursday, 31 August 1972
Page: 1089

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) - I am sorry that the Income Tax Bill should have been delayed so long. It is a Bill that determines the rates of income tax that shall apply on individuals for the period ended June 1973. The other Bill, the Income Tax Assessment Bill (No. 4), covers adjustments made to the principle of assessment. In aggregate, the tax that will be imposed under this measure, according to the Budget estimate, is $4, 208m. 1 understand that, after an elevating debate of nearly 2 hours on 2 very minor matters, we will now be restricted in this debate to not much more than 2 hours. In the course of the Budget debate there has been a lot of discussion about the so-called tax reductions that are to be included in this measure. I want to give some figures showing broadly what the increase in taxation has been in Australia since the time of the last election, a period of nearly 3 years. I quote from Statement no. 7 attached to the Budget Speech, Table 1 - Summary of Commonwealth Expenditure and Receipts, 1962-63 to 1971-72 and 1972-73 (Estimate).

The period I want to look at is the period ended June 1969 to the period ended June 1972. That table shows that for the financial year ended just before the last election - the last election was held in November 1969 - the total collections by the Commonwealth from all sources of taxation amounted to $5,466,303. For the year ended 30th June 1972 - the last completed year - the aggregate tax collections amounted to $7,843,927. In other words, in the life of this Parliament the aggregate increase in Commonwealth taxation has been about $2, 378m, an increase of 45 per cent on the total collections at 30th June 1969. That increase is more than can be accounted for by the increased number of people to be serviced. The Australian population rises by about 24 per cent per annum. Something like 8 per cent to 9 per cent more people had to be serviced at the end of June 1972. In that period prices have increased by an aggregate of about 14 per cent. The total tax collections have increased by 45 per cent.

We have heard a lot of nonsense this afternoon in the Budget debate and in earlier debates about the so-called tax reductions of this Budget in particular. Bad and all as the aggregate collections are, 1 want to draw particular attention to the income tax itself. When the last election was being fought, the aggregate collected in income tax for the period ended 30th June1969 was about $2. 379m. For the year ended 30th June 1972 - 3 years later - the total tax collections for income tax on individuals had increased from about $2, 379m to about$3,768m, an increase of about $1,3 89m or 60 per cent. I repeat that over that period the number of people to be serviced increased by something like 8 per cent and prices increased by something like 14 per cent while the total increase in taxation collections was 60 per cent. Even after the so-called tax reductions of this

The income tax ought to be the crown of the tax pattern of a democratic system of government. The income tax structure, in regard to both the rate and the concession deduction, is rotten with inequity. I want to state categorically and 1 want to have this matter evaluated properly in the so-called intelligent atmosphere of the House of Representatives. I had to make a personal explanation here this afternoon. 1 gave an example which simply indicates the reality of the tax pattern in Australia. I gave the example merely to highlight the inequities in the system. Certain unscrupulous people on the Government side - I described them this afternoon as the lie factory of. the Liberal Party - have formed a sort of secretariat and are circulating excerpts from speeches made by the shadow Minister for Health, the shadow Minister for Trade and by me. They are taken out of context and are used to indicate the terrible fate that will overtake this country if there is a change of government. We will be inflicted, we are told, with excessive taxation. I simply say again - to repeat the 2 examples - that in the life of this Parliament aggregate taxation has increased by 45 per cent and income tax by 60 per cent. If the reductions which we are contemplating in taxation rates set out in these Bills had not been made, the aggregate increase in one year alone on income tax would have been 25 per cent. 1 do not believe that after 23 years of Liberal government we have the right pattern of taxation in Australia, that every body is just paying precisely what they should be paying, that everything that is being taxed is taxed at the appropriate rate and that even some sources of income which should be subject to tax are not being taxed at all. Surely that is what the argument on tax reform is all about. I refer to the example which I gave in Sydney. The figures are now one more year up to date because of the document tabled in. this House with the Budget entitled 'Commonwealth Income Tax Statistics'. I sought leave earlier from the Minister in charge of this Bill to incorporate in Hansard 2 tables and he acceded to my request.

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