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Thursday, 6 October 1983
Page: 1488

Mr TUCKEY —by leave-We have just heard some words; we did not hear many facts. We heard a statement from the Minister for Finance (Mr Dawkins) that certain activities were perfectly proper and perfectly transparent. He said that he had a role in a company over a short period. Yet last night I drew the House' s attention to the fact that the Minister to whom I referred joined the company in, I think, 1973 and had reason to declare himself as having an interest in that company in 1983. If that is a short period in his life-I think he is under 40-I would like to know what is a long period. Furthermore, he was listed all that time on company returns as a director. Now he tells us that he did not have anything to do with it. He was only a director; his signature only appears on a declaration of solvency. He tells us that he did not know what was going on; it was all due to his father and his accountant. He paid a fortune to that accountant to ensure that he did not pay tax on the private activities of his business.

I went to great pains last night not to take a leaf out of the Minister's book, either when he was in opposition or since he became a Minister. In this House he has poured shocking accusations over people who do not have the privilege that he used today to defend himself in this Parliament. He has done it time and time again. His morals have changed. If being in government has such an effect on one , everybody should have a go. It is nice to know that people's morals and ideals of what is rotten and disgraceful can change in this fashion. Many of us here remember--

Mr Scott —Yours have not changed. You are still a grub.

Mr TUCKEY —Many of us here-the honourable member, too-remember the diatribe that came from this Minister. I heard his speech in silence. The Minister came to this place time and again prepared to destroy the reputation of anybody who might at some time have had the misfortune to have even talked to somebody in the Liberal and National parties. It did not matter at all-and he talks about guts!

Mr Hurford —You don't have any guts.

Mr TUCKEY —The Minister talks about guts.

Mr Hurford —You are absolutely gutless.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The Minister for Finance was heard in silence.

Mr TUCKEY —I am standing here now, and I have guts. Quite clearly, last night I went straight to the point and made it clear that it was not my--

Mr Hurford —When are you going to make some accusations?

Mr TUCKEY —I am coming to that. If you are worried about what I am saying--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I invite the honourable member to get on with his statement and not answer interjections.

Mr TUCKEY —Last night in my speech I referred to the figures. I gave certain facts, and although we have been told that they are inaccurate, they have not been refuted, and I think that they will be found to be inaccurate in minor details, not major details. The Minister had as long as he liked to refute them, but he seemed to be more interested in threatening me with some future problem such as prosecution under the Local Government Act. He has been doing that for two and a half years. I thought the purpose of his statement was to improve the confidence of Australians in his stewardship of one of the senior ministers in the Cabinet. When I raised the issue, I wanted the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) to satisfy himself confidentially that there was no reason to doubt the capacity of this person to look after the people of Australia, which he is now charged to do . Let us face it: He was elected to represent an electorate. The people of Australia did not vote him into the Cabinet. As I said, the style of these activities and others with respect to possible State charges and taxes would normally-I repeat normally-be the work of someone committed to massive tax evasion. It is reasonable to say that anyone who went to all that trouble with the normal and proper returns which were lodged with State company authorities would be committed to massive tax evasion. However, there is no way that this can be assessed from the information published in the statement tabled the other day by the Prime Minister.

In my speech last night I made it very clear that only the Commissioner of Taxation and the Minister concerned could resolve the concerns I felt about the stewardship of this Minister, whom I failed to name and whom I was prepared to leave in confidence so that he could, through his Prime Minister, give the House a statement, from an independent person, to guarantee the situation. But I have been asked for some accusations.

Mr Hurford —You got the statements from the independent people; they have been tabled.

Mr TUCKEY —They were from his paid office johnny-the man that he and his family paid over 20 years to organise and minimise his tax. We are talking about morality. I thought that maybe the Minister would give the House a certificate from Mr O'Reilly. I thought he might have brought one from the State taxation commissioner and, in particular, a statement that the types of activities undertaken by his company met the spirit of taxation law and did not set out to defraud State and Federal authorities and government revenue. Government members tell us day after day that the collection of revenue is the paramount virtue. It should be spent on creating jobs. Why did the Minister not have the decency to see that government revenue received its fair share by way of probate of $1.6m? He did not have to do what he did. He could have paid the money. I should not have to ask the question.

The facts are-as I said, they will be incorrect only in minor detail-that the company referred to, Coomel Pty Ltd, was incorporated on 4 June 1964. It was a good risk-type company. It had five A class shares of $2 each. I wonder what could be done with such resources and what sort of business the Minister expected to get into with that sort of money. Then, of course, the company issued 200 B class shares of $2 each to five of the Dawkins children. I wonder whether they even paid for those at the time and whether they paid for them with their own money. In addition to the $1,000 plus $10, some other funds must have been injected because it appears that $2,020 was the sole amount of money in this fine company that was going out into the wilderness to trade. I bet it was going to trade! The Minister has asked me not to criticise his good father. We might congratulate him for protecting his children. If they could not do better than the Minister did in his speech tonight, they would certainly need his help. No doubt that is why he put money away for them. He probably had some doubts about this Minister's academic ability. As they were a family of academics, he thought that he might starve if he did not save his estate from probate.

Dr Alec and Mrs Dawkins were the original directors and they were appointed on 26 June. John Dawkins was appointed a director of the company on 26 August 1973. The balance sheet as at 30 June 1974, 10 months after John Dawkins--

Mr SPEAKER —Order! It being 6.30 p.m., the honourable member's speech is interrupted in accordance with sessional order 106A. The honourable member may continue his speech at a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.