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Tuesday, 22 April 1980
Page: 1677

Senator MASON (New South Wales) - The Senate is debating the Income (International Agreements) Amendment Bill 1 980. This Bill provides for new double taxation agreements with the Philippines and Switzerland and for a protocol to amend the double taxation agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom. The Australian Democrats approve the inception of such new double taxation agreements with appropriate nations. Double tax reduces incentives and hence productivity on a world basis, especially at the higher rates of taxation we now have. In the view of the Australian Democrats the rates are much too high in Australia. However, it could be said that these higher rates also apply now in most parts of the world which is a testimony to the long suffering nature of modern man. Hence, from a global point of view, double tax agreements are useful and constructive. We do not oppose the Bill.

I wish to raise a matter of long standing anomaly in the area of double taxation that in fact, has been known to the Government for some time. I wish to make an appeal to the Government to reconsider this matter which has been causing difficulties for many thousands of Australians for some years- in fact, virtually since the end of the Second World War. I hoped that this Bill would have included an amendment to remedy this anomaly which I understand has been taken up with various people, including Government senators and members of the House of Representatives. It represents a serious injustice. In speaking to that matter I would like to raise in particular the case of a constituent of mine, Mr Nicholas Melkman. He is a former citizen of the Netherlands who lives in Vaucluse, Sydney. During World War II Mr Melkman suffered terribly from the atrocities perpetrated in that country on people of his race and religion. His wife and his family were killed. His property was destroyed completely. He was left with nothing. I do not think I have met a person in this country who I feel more deserves the tranquillity and the best that his new country can offer. If I met other people in the same category in which he unfortunately falls, I would probably find them equally deserving of the respect, care and compassion of the society. Mr Melkman, as it happens, has as his next door neighbour one of his ex-enemies, in fact an ex-German soldier. One of the nice things about this is that these two people get on extremely well.

Debate interrupted.

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