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Wednesday, 11 October 1972
Page: 1479

Senator HANNAN (Victoria) - I wish briefly to express my approval of these 3 measures and also to indicate that I propose to support the amendment moved by Senator Byrne. I think it would be true to say that these Bills are merely an expression of the liberalising zeal which is consuming the Government. When one examines these Bills one sees them as a mere reflection of the taxation reduction philosophy which was the hallmark of the recent Budget - a Budget which, if I may say so in passing, has received such strong support, even from the Rt Hon. Arthur Augustus Calwell. Probate duties are a typical socialist manoeuvre whereby the State pursues a man after his death, as Senator Withers pointed out, to the disadvantage of his widow and children. This legislation, particularly the estate duty legislation, is a step in the right direction and ultimately, we trust, will move to a position where these imposts will be a thing of the past. I approve particularly of the increases in the exemption levels so far as rural properties are concerned. The city slicker does not always understand the extent to which the conduct, maintenance and operation of farming properties can be adversely affected by death duties. When a person holding snares in, say, a manufacturing business in a city dies, that does not mean that the business must cease in order that death duties may be paid, In the case of a rural estate, however, it may happen that so much of the farm has to be sold to pay death dutien that the residue of that farm ceases to be viable. In those circumstances it is obvious that this form of taxation imposes an undue and unfair hardship on the farmer. Therefore, it is right and proper that the exemption granted to the rural producer should be over and above that granted to people in cities. A good deal of hardship is caused in any probate application by delay in estate duty assessment. I know from my own experience of cases in which the State authorities accept a certain valuation of a property but the Federal authorities insist upon a different valuation or a revaluation. The Federal authorities are not ad idem with their State brethren in making the valuation.

The great increase in the exemption levels which these Bills provide will reduce the number of cases in which this matter becomes materially significant. I support the 3 Bills, and I think that Senator Byrne and his Party are to be congratulated on what they have done in moving this amendment. Yet I point out to members of the Democratic Labor Party that they have no monopoly of the desire to improve the lot of the taxpayer in regard to these duties. My recollection is that 2 years ago at least 9 members of the Liberal Party and the Country Party voted in support of a similarly worded resolution which, I think, was brought forward by Senator Prowse. T support the 3 Bills and the amendment.

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