Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009
Parliamentary Record 6
Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 10 June 2009 3137 Schedule 1 agreed to. Schedule 2: Ms LAWRIE: Madam Chair, I move amendment 14.2. Amendment agreed to. Schedule 2, as amended, agreed to. Remainder of the bill taken as a whole and agreed to. Bill reported with amendments; report adopted. Ms LAWRIE (Treasurer): Madam Speaker, I move that the bill be now read a third time. Motion agreed to; bill read a third time. REVENUE LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (Serial 43) PENALTY UNITS BILL (Serial 44) Continued from 6 May 2009. Mr ELFERINK (Port Darwin): Madam Speaker, in responding to this bill, it is an occasion that I have cause to express my ongoing irritation at a practice in this House which has been continued in relation to this bill. The practice I refer to is that of omnibusing bills to change different parts of legislation, when those items of legislation which are being proposed to be amended have very little bearing on each other. This is one of those examples. I am always a little cautious when I see these omnibus-type bills come in because they contain an inherent political trap. I was still receiving advice when I gave notice yesterday of a motion which I will be moving shortly, or at the completion of the second reading debate. It is an ongoing thing - it has been a moving feast for me - gaining advice on this. I have received Treasury briefings in relation to the bill, as well as briefings from outside Treasury by people in the industry who have to work with these legislative amendments. That is why I gave notice yesterday that I may be moving a motion. I can now indicate that I shall be moving the motion. The motion seeks to separate one of the legislative instruments which is incorporated in this bill. This bill effectively changes three items of legislation, in relation to penalties: the Taxation Administration Act, the Stamp Duty Act, and the First Home Owner Grant Act. One could be forgiven for thinking, on first blush, it would be appropriate to change those three elements of legislation in the same bill because they would relate to each other - buy a house, pay stamp duty, some taxation implications flow from it. However, there is very little that is similar between what is sought to be passed by the First Home Owner Grant Act and what is sought to be changed in the Stamp Duty Act. I appreciate and understand that the First Home Owner Grant Act is to be amended to enable the Commonwealths First Home Owner Grants to operate in the Northern Territory. I definitely have no objection to those. I have some concerns that I have expressed that in the past, but I am not interested in challenging these particular amendments before the House in relation to the First Home Owner Grant Act. My concern flows from amendments to the Stamp Duty Act. I am now stuck in the precarious situation - and this is the political problem I was referring to - of wanting to pass one part of this legislation, and wanting to challenge or question another part of the legislative instrument. But, because it is a single legislative instrument changing three bills, I am stuck with this horrible situation where I either have to vote for something I do not agree with, or vote against something I do agree with. That is the annoying problem that comes up when we omnibus bills. Whilst I accept that, from time to time, this process is necessary; it is necessary in those environments where the change to one legislative instrument automatically and completely has an effect on another legislative instrument, and they have to be bound together because they are almost indistinguishable. You have situations when, for example, you change the law of de facto relationships, which would affect 40 or 50 different pieces of legislation, and you roll them all up into one and pass it as a single package. However, in this instance, the Stamp Duty Act is trying to deal with a tax avoidance scheme which has nothing to do with First Home Owner Grants. I am now stuck with a situation where I am challenged by a problem I have with the Stamp Duty Act, whilst I want to pass the first homeowner amendments. I will now draw the members attention to the concerns that I have in relation to the Stamp Duty Act. Never come between a tax man and the people they are trying to tax, because governments have to fund themselves. I have used the phrase before: governments are addicted to taxation income - and that is entirely true. Governments will seek to raise revenue by all manner of taxations, levies, and goodness knows what else, and I do not have a major
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