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Thursday, 13 February 2003
Page: 11935


Mr Murphy asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 5 December 2002:

(1) Did the Minister issue a News Release on 30 August 2002 titled “Strengthening Laws To Prevent Tax Abuse”.

(2) Did the News Release state that both the Minister and the Attorney-General had initiated a number of changes to bankruptcy, tax and family law following consideration of a joint taskforce's report on the issue; if so, what are the changes.

(3) Did the News Release also indicate that the taskforce involved the Attorney-General's Department, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia and the Treasury and that it had been set up in light of reports in 2001 that some barristers were misusing the law to avoid paying tax.

(4) Did the News Release further state that, in relation to taxation laws, the taskforce noted that secrecy provisions can restrict the ATO's provision of information to a trustee in bankruptcy and to professional associations and that the Minister was giving further consideration to these issues.

(5) What is the outcome of that consideration.

(6) Did the taskforce make any recommendations in relation to section 16 of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936; if so, what were (a) those recommendations and (b) the reasons for the taskforce making such recommendations.

(7) Will the Minister introduce legislation to amend section 16 of the Income Tax Assessment Act to allow the Commissioner of Taxation to provide information which is in the public interest; if so, when; if not, why not.

(8) When will the taskforce's report be made available to the public.


Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (4) Refer to the joint news release issued by the Attorney-General and the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer on 30 August 2002.

(5) to (8) The Government is giving further consideration to these issues.