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Tuesday, 6 December 1983
Page: 3328

Mr HURFORD (Minister for Housing and Construction and Minister Assisting the Treasurer)(9.55) —I move:

That the amendments recommended by His Excellency the Governor-General be agreed to.

The message received from His Excellency the Governor-General, which was, of course, sent to the House on the advice of the Government, invokes a procedure under section 58 of the Constitution that has not been used often. That section provides, among other things, that, when a proposed law passed by both Houses of the Parliament is presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent, he may return the proposed law to the House in which it originated and may transmit therewith any amendment that he may recommend, and the Houses may deal with the recommendation. This procedure affords a method of making changes that may be considered desirable in a Bill after it has been passed by both Houses and before it has been assented to.

The Governor-General's message on this occasion deals with two changes that are quite minor in nature and which the Government, out of an abundance of caution, considers it desirable to make in the Taxation Administration Amendment Bill 1983 to ensure that a possible unintended construction is not given to the proposed new provisions. The changes consist of the insertion of the word ' prescribed' before the word 'offence' in proposed new sections 11 and 13, which are included in clause 3 of the Bill, and will make it clear that the requirement to notify conviction and to comply with certain procedures before a fine can be enforced will be applicable only where a summons for a tax offence has been served by post in accordance with the proposed new Commonwealth system. The changes will also ensure that the right to apply for a re-hearing will likewise only be available where the new service of summons procedure has been used for tax offences.

In summary, it is out of an abundance of caution that the Government decided to recommend to His Excellency the Governor-General to return this Bill to the House before it was given royal assent. The fact is that there may have been in some minds some doubt that the proposed new sections might apply to all taxation offences, whether punishable by imprisonment or a fine and whether or not the summons had been served by post in accordance with section 10, rather than applying to persons convicted of taxation offences for which the only penalty was a fine and where a person was served with a summons by post in accordance with section 10, which was the intended construction. I repeat: Out of that abundance of caution the Governor-General, on the Government's recommendation, decided to bring this matter into the House. I trust that the House will agree. I recommend the amendments to the House.