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Thursday, 7 August 1930

Senator DALY (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) (11:40 AM) . - Senator Colebatch entirely misunderstood the proposition that I advanced. This sales tax is introduced to enable the Government to collect revenue on the sale of goods. The Government felt that it should, as far as possible exempt our struggling primary industries from the operation of the tax.

Senator Sir Hal Colebatch - Is not mining a primary industry, struggling harder than any of the others ?

Senator DALY - Senator Johnstonis asking for the exemption of copper sulphate, which is used to sprinkle fruit trees.

Senator E B Johnston - No. It is also used as a re-agent for flotation purposes in the mining industry, and for pickling wheat.

Senator DALY - The list of exemptions is practically confined to the primary industries and commodities, to items already covered by a special revenue tariff, or items technically sold by governments or public bodies. I put it to honorable senators that the Government has gone as far as possible in exempting primary products from the operation of the sales tax.

Senator E B Johnston - What relief has the mining industry received?

Senator DALY - There is a suggestion of an existing anomaly with regard to oregon used in mines. I admit that that is a special case worthy of special consideration by the Government.

Senator SirGEORGE PEARCE (Western Australia) [11.43 a.m.]. - I am prepared to accept Senator Daly's challenge. I shall support him if he will move to delete from the exemption list the items cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco. The honorable senator has claimed that they cannot be omitted because they are already subject to heavy taxation. I quoted an instance where a vessel valued at £50,000 in England has to pay £20,000 in customs duty, and which will in addition be subject to the sales tax. I venture to suggest that an examination of the list would reveal any number of items that are subject to both customs duty and the sales tax. Cigarettes, cigars, and tobacco are luxuries, whereas copper sulphate is a necessity.

Senator Daly - I am afraid that Senator Johnston would not support the right honorable senator's proposal.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - I am not sure about that. I submit that it is an extremely rational one, and would provide a quid pro quo to the Government.

Senator McLachlan - I suggest that Senator Johnston be invited to unlimber his whole battery and give us the full list of goods which he desires to hare exempted. We may then be able to come together in a spirit of sweet reasonableness, and, perhaps, reach finality.

Senator Sir GEORGE PEARCE - I am prepared to move to lift cigars and cigarettes from the list of exempted goods in order to have inserted some of the goods which Senator Johnston wishes to have exempted.

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