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Wednesday, 16 May 1973
Page: 2246

Mr CREAN (Melbourne Ports) (Treasurer) - I rise to reply briefly to what was said by the honourable member for Hunter (Mr James) who quoted quite accurately from the annual reports of the Commissioner of Taxation details concerning certain people whose income had been undisclosed. The honourable member selected, according to his knowledge, particular examples and indicated the sources from which the income that had not been recorded had been received. The point I want to make is that taxing income is simply taxing what comes in, and the Commissioner of Taxation does not have to be concerned about the morality or immorality of the sources of income. I have the greatest commendation for the zeal of my Department in finding out those people in the community who do not reveal all the income that they actually receive.

I come now to something that ought to be noted by honourable members, particularly those who, a few days ago, voted according to their consciences on a Bill relating to abortion. I must say that I received on this subject the greatest spate of letters that I have ever had in the 22 years that I have been a member of this Parliament. The purport of a lot of those letters was that abortion was child murder. I do not agree with that extreme description, but the honourable member for Hunter indicated tonight that there has been a lot of child murder going on for a great number of years. I would hope that those who voted with their consciences in their pockets the other evening might realise some of the practicalities of what is going on and that if it is income the Commissioner of Taxation will reveal it. But if some honourable members think they can conceal this matter by making pious declarations they are flying in the face of what is a very serious social problem. The honourable member for Hunter has indicated in his own way - and he is not always the subtlest in revealing some of the fundamental truths - that if one person concealed income of about $250,000, we can realise the magnitude of something that some honourable members thought they had brushed away last week.

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