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Wednesday, 2 November 1910

Senator McGREGOR (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council) . - It is very strange that amendments of such a subtle character should be moved without a true explanation being given of their import. I do not say that Senator Millen or any other honorable senator opposite would submit a proposal with a view to getting at the Land Tax Commissioner. But I wish to point out to the Committee the effect of the amendment which has been suggested. In its present form the clause provides that the taxpayer who is a defaulter shall pay a 10 per cent, fine upon the amount of his tax. Next year he will have to pay another 10 per cent, if his payment be not made within the prescribed period. Further, at any time after that period has elapsed, he can be sued for the amount which is owing. But what would be the position under the suggested amendment? If he did not pay the tax for three months after it was due he would be penalized only to the extent of per cent., if he continued a defaulter for six months he would be penalized to the extent of only 5 per cent., and if he did not pay the tax for nine months, he would be- required to pay only an additional 7 \ per cent. Thus the proposal outlined by the Leader of the Opposition would work entirely in favour of the taxpayers.

Senator Chataway - I thought that the Government wished to treat them fairly ?

Senator McGREGOR - But we also wish to treat the Land Tax Commissioner just as fairly. If Senator Chataway imagines that the Government are going to fall into the trap which has been laid he is barking up the wrong tree.

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