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Wednesday, 2 November 1910

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) - - I find that in its wording clause 48 is practically a reproduction of section 54 of the Land and Income Tax Act of Western Australia.

Senator Millen - Therefore it must be right.

Senator NEEDHAM - No. The Leader of the Opposition is sometimes guilty of a feminine failing in that he jumps at conclusions. Tn view of the fact that Western Australia is the most recent State to adopt a tax on unimproved land values, we ought surely to be guided by its experience. Section 54 of the Land and Income Tax Act of that State, which was passed in 1907, reads -

Every person who fails to pay the amount payable by him in respect of land tax or income tax respectively before the expiration of thirty days after the same has become due shall, in addition to the amount of such land or income tax, pay, by way of fine, a sum equal to ten pounds per centum thereof.

My honorable friends opposite have created a fuss because it is proposed to allow the taxpayer a period of only thirty days in which to pay the tax. But I would point out that under the Western Australian Act Gazette notices can be issued from day to day, and in that State such notices have to cover very great distances.

Senator Millen - No part of Western Australia is more remote from Perth than it is from Melbourne, where the Gazette notice will be issued.

Senator NEEDHAM - There are places in Western Australia which are more remote from Perth than Perth is from Melbourne.

Senator Millen - But they are not more remote from Perth than they are from Melbourne.

Senator NEEDHAM - I admit that. In my judgment, thirty days is an ample period of grace to allow to taxpayers. If the Committee accept the suggestion which has been so wittingly put forward by Senator Millen it will fall into a trap. He has told us that if we adopt it we shall impose an additional penalty upon the taxpayer. When I hear honorable senators opposite advocating the imposition of additional penalties upon the taxpayer, I view any suggestion made by them in that connexion with suspicion.

Senator Millen - I did not suggest that.

Senator NEEDHAM - That is the impression which the honorable senator's words conveyed to me. I think we shall be acting wisely if we agree to the clause in its present form. If we follow the example of the State which has most recently imposed the land tax, I am sure that nobody will suffer.

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