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Wednesday, 18 July 1906

Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) . - I am quite certain that the return which Senator Pearce asks for, will, when prepared, be of a very misleading character.

Senator Pearce - Misleading !

Senator Mulcahy - -Say unreliable.

Senator PULSFORD - State by State the .returns may be fairly accurate, but from a Commonwealth point of view, we desire to know what are the individual ownings throughout Australia. A large number of people in the Commonwealth own property in two, three, or more States, and the return asked for would only show the estates owned in each State, and would not give, an accurate idea of the number of aggregate estates held bv persons throughout the Commonwealth.- To that extent, the return may be misleading, and it is aswell that fact should be known. Of course, we all know why the return is asked for. A certain number of people are quite prepared to transgress the command " Thou, shalt not steal " ; and this motion is one of the steps taken to help them on in what they deem to be a desirable scheme.

Senator MILLEN(New South Wales> [9.20]. - The last speaker has pointed out that the information which it may be possible to collect, should the motion be adopted, will be unreliable in many details. It is impossible to deny that that anticipation is likely to be borne out but at the same time, in view of the fact that one of the matters to be submitted to the electors at the forthcoming electionis a proposed1 land tax, it seems highly desirable that not only for ourselves', but for the electors, there should be made available the utmost information it is possible to obtain. Both those who support the proposal for a land tax, and those who, like myself. are utterly opposed to it, ought, first, to be in possession of all the facts. For that reason, while supporting the motion, I shall propose an amendment in order te make it a little wider. It seems to me insufficient to have a return showing only the unimproved value of the privately-owned lands dealt with in the motion ; we ought also to have a knowledge of the number of separate holdings and their areas. It would be much more useful to know whether a particular holding worth 1^5,000 is an allotment in George-street, Sydney, or 5,000 acres in the western plains of New South Wales.

Senator Playford - The return will be troublesome to collect.

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