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Tuesday, 11 October 1983
Page: 1580

Mr DAWKINS (Minister for Finance) —Mr Speaker, I seek your indulgence to add to an answer which I gave to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Howard) earlier today.

Mr SPEAKER —The Minister for Finance has that indulgence.

Mr DAWKINS —I said earlier today that I would be happy to find out whether Coomel Pty Ltd, in liquidation, had held shares in Metro Industries Ltd. I have inquired of the liquidator and I will table a statement that I have received from the liquidator, but I will first read it to the House. It states:

You have asked me to advise you of the details of the transactions of Coomel Pty Ltd in shares in Metro Industries Ltd. The company purchased 500 shares in November 1972 at a cost of $815 and received a bonus issue of 100 shares during 1973, bringing the shareholding to 600 shares. The 600 shares were sold in January 1977 for $672 resulting in a loss to the company of $143.

At the present date the company has not received an assessment nor advice that it is responsible to pay any amount under the T.U.C.T. Act. I expect that an assessment or advice will be received in the near future for a small amount that is less than $200. As Liquidator I have funds in hand to pay the assessment.

In my opinion the company did not receive a benefit from the sale of Treamog Pty Ltd by Metro Industries Ltd as the sale of the shares by Coomel Pty Ltd took place one month after Metro Industries Ltd disposed of Treamog Pty Ltd. Any supposed benefit to the Metro shareholders did not accrue to Coomel Pty Ltd.

I add a couple of things to that statement. Whilst the liquidator expects that an assessment may be issued, whether or not any liability exists, which was one of the questions raised by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, will depend, I am advised, on the Commissioner of Taxation's assessment of any benefit to the company which may have arisen. The shares in the first place were purchased from my mother. They were sold to my mother on 1 January 1977. The Commissioner is apparently issuing assessments in respect of those shareholders who held shares in the company at 31 December 1976, that is, we were, if honourable members like , bewitched by midnight.

There are a couple of other things I would like to say about my mother's shareholdings. I am advised, although I have not spoken to her directly, that she sold her shares in Metro Industries within the last few months. I accept my responsibilities as a director at the time-that is, I accept the responsibilities of selling shares in a once reputable and great Western Australian public company. I also accept responsibility for me and my family having the genius always to pick the low point of the market to sell the shares. When the shares were sold by the company they were sold at about their lowest point during that period. Indeed, when my mother subsequently sold them, as I am advised, the shares were back to being at about the lowest point at which they had ever been. I will table this document which indicates the movement in the shares. The important thing, of course, is that the shares, although they were worth $1.12 when they were sold by the company, were worth something like $4 when sold by Mr Horgan. So we, like hundreds--

Mr Howard —Horgan is not on trial.

Mr DAWKINS —In fact, he may be. We, like hundreds of other Western Australians, are victims of the cheating of Denis Horgan. Denis Horgan got away with the money and a lot of Western Australians will pay under the provisions of the legislation moved by the present Deputy Leader of the Opposition last year.

I make one other point: In relation to any charge which has been made subsequent to Question Time that I am in some way exercising double standards, I simply point out that I have been one of the most vociferous and active crusaders against tax dodging. I know the Liberal Party does not like that; but I have. I, unlike several members on the other side, did vote for the former Government's recoupment legislation. Indeed, I also introduced in this House legislation to extend the provisions of that recoupment legislation. If members of the Opposition are anxious to make something of this matter, I suggest that they move a substantive motion now, in which case the Government would accommodate them.

Mr Howard —I seek leave to make a short statement.

Leave not granted.