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Wednesday, 26 October 1910


Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I think we had better reject the amendment now proposed, and recommit the clause, with a view to striking out all the societies proposed to be exempted from the operation of this Bill. I remind honorable senators that it will only operate in cases where the unimproved value of the land held is above £5,000. I see no reason why we should go out of our way to exempt from the operation of this Bill, for instance, the property held by the Trades Hall in Sydney. I venture to say that the people who are represented in the Trades Hall, and who believe in this method of taxing others, have no desire to be exempt from taxation themselves. The moment we refuse to pay our own share of taxation under this measure we give away the whole case for the taxation of other people. The authorities of the Trades Hall iri Sydney occupy land, the unimproved value of which must be over £5,000 and they should be just as liable to this taxation as any other owners of property of that value. I can see no reason for exempting the Masonic body from this taxation. If we have made a mistake in agreeing to some provision to which we ought not to have agreed, the mistake should be corrected. I would put the Trades Hall, the Masonic Society, and every organization of a similar character on the same footing. If they occupy land of the unimproved value of over £5,000 they should pay this taxation. Take the instance of a club like the Com~mercial Travellers' Club, whose building in Castlereagh-street, Sydney, occupies a most valuable block of land. It may be said that it is not used for purposes of profit, but the use of it relieves the members of the club from the necessity of living in premises that are used for profit.


Senator Pearce - They have to pay at the club as they would have to pay at an hotel.


Senator GARDINER - But they will be exempt from taxation under this Bill. We should remember that the number of clubs will greatly increase in this country.


Senator McGregor - They represent a form of Socialism which the honorable senator ought to support.


Senator GARDINER - I recognise that, and I say that they deserve every credit for their co-operation, but I do not think the Legislature has any right to go out of its way to be benevolent to certain sections of the community. There may be other sections in the community who, because they may be without a representative who has the ear of the Government, will be neglected and forgotten. I object to the special exemption of any section of the community from taxation under a Bill applying to people holding land over a certain value.







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