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The Labor Government, when it introduced land tax to bring us into line with other parts of Australia - it had been an exception here - very consciously provided the ability for an exemption, the ability for an appeal, for people who were posted out of Canberra. How extraordinary it is that the leader of this Liberal Government, the person who made an artform of whingeing about rates and taxes, the smiling face of “not one more cent”, has consciously decided to remove from our defence personnel and from our foreign affairs, trade and immigration personnel who are posted overseas a tax exemption that had been provided by the Labor Government. There should be no mistake in any of those sectors of the community that Mrs Carnell, once in office, has consciously and deliberately removed an exemption which had been placed in the legislation in their interest.

We are seeking to restore the situation for people who are such an important part of this community - public servants on ordinary public service salaries. That is what is so often forgotten in the public perception of diplomats. It is assumed that a diplomat is on a huge packet and enjoys generous allowances and conditions. The fact is that most of the people in the Australian diplomatic service are in comparatively junior positions. It is notoriously a fact of life that promotion in the foreign service is much slower than in other agencies. People who serve in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade may, after a distinguished 10-, 12- or 15-year career, probably having entered with quite glittering academic qualifications, expect to still be in comparatively junior ranks of the service. Promotion to senior officer and beyond is much slower in that department. People who take their families overseas in this country's interest have now been hit by the deliberate removal of a tax concession that the Labor Government placed to benefit our diplomats, our trade service, our immigration service and our armed forces.

If you are looking at a group in the community who work hard for this country for comparatively low remuneration, you could find no better example than the defence services. People in the defence services, whether they be serving men and women or officers, are, compared to others in the community, not tremendously remunerated; yet they bring up families and they base themselves in Canberra in many cases, accepting that a part of their duty is to be posted away. We provided a tax concession in their interest. This Liberal Government is seeking to remove that tax concession. Labor is trying to put it back. We would hope that we would get support from other members of this Assembly.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (5.17): Mr Connolly and Ms Follett would know perfectly well that the basis of this new approach to land tax is that the principles upon which it was put together are different. Under Ms Follett the principle was that land tax was levied on properties that were not the principal place of residence of the particular person. In our case land tax is levied on income producing properties. It is that simple. If a property is producing income, land tax will be levied; but it will be done on a quarterly basis. There no longer will be a situation where somebody is liable for land tax for a week, two weeks, a month or whatever and ends up paying 12 months’ worth of land tax. It will be on a quarterly basis. If somebody is overseas on a posting for only the first couple of months of a year, they will no longer pay 12 months’ land tax. They will pay only three months’ land tax, which is appropriate.

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