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Wednesday, 6 August 1930

Senator DALY (South Australia) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - This is one of the most extraordinary amendments that has been sub mitted. If it is insisted on, I shall advise the Senate to reject the bill altogether.

Senator Reid - It is not so serious as that.

Senator DALY - It is serious. Do honorable senators realize that it will involve the Government in an additional £50,000 in issuing assessments and receipts? The Deputy Commissioner of Taxation has informed me that if this proposal is carried, it will increase the expenditure of the department by at least £50,000. There is another, and more serious, objection to it. The Government has budgeted to meet certain commitments. Those commitments are based on the collection of income tax within a certain time. As taxpayers are treated by the Commissioner with the utmost leniency, at no time is there need to legislate in the manner suggested. But to attempt to do so now is to act unreasonably. The Government is facing a financial crisis.

SenatorE. B. Johnston. - So are the taxpayers.

Senator DALY - Senator J ohnston seems to have only one purpose in this Senate, and that is to harass the Government as much as possible. Should we not consider the nation before the taxpayers?

Senator Payne - Do not the taxpayers make the nation?

Senator DALY - Of course they do; and their interests must be considered. I know that a majority of honorable senators can defeat the Government on this amendment ; but, if the amendment is carried, the bill might as well be thrown out. No government could carry on in such circumstances. How could it budget under this time-payment system? I ask honorable senators to give to this Government that consideration which they would give to another government in normal times. The Government cannot accept the amendment, and it is too late to postpone the consideration of the clause. If the amendment is insisted on, then the Government will have to tell the people that it cannot find the. money. I have just received a further note from the Commissioner of Taxation, in which he states that if the amendment is carried only one half of the revenue from income taxation will be collected this year. The Government can put up with an amendment providing for appeals to the High Court, but it cannot submit to treatment of this kind. I say that in no threatening spirit. The Senate knows ihat the Government cannot afford to pay1d. extra for the collection of taxes. The Commissioner of Taxation tells methat £50,000 is a conservative estimate.

Senator McLachlan - Does that amount include interest losses?

Senator DALY - No. Administration costs will be increased by £50,000 if this amendment is agreed to. I say, sincerely, that, if the amendment is carried, the bill might just as well be rejected altogether.

Senator SirWILLIAM GLASGOW (Queensland) [11.26].- I point out that the total estimated expenditure of the department for the current financial year, including land tax, is £443,000. Does the Minister seriously say that it will cost one-eighth of the total expenditure of the department to give the taxpayers a chance to pay their taxes in two instalments?

Senator Daly - Acting under instructions from the Bruce-Page Government, the Commissioner of Taxation prepared an estimate of the cost of doing what the amendment proposes. His estimate was £73,000.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW.It is absurd to say that the amendment will involve such heavy expenditure. If I had thought that the cost would be so great, I should not have moved the amendment. I should like to know how the amount is made up. The Government will not get out of its difficulties by makingconditions hard for the taxpayers.

Senator Daly - And the taxpayers will not get out of their difficulties by making it harder for the Government.

Senator Rae - This will not be an extra burden on the Government.

Senator Sir WILLIAMGLASGOW.The taxpayers have already had additional burdens placed on them. At a time when incomes are smaller, taxation has been increased. Would the Minister consider granting two instalments with an interval of three months?

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