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Thursday, 27 March 2003
Page: 13877

Mr MURPHY (10:32 PM) —I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for his consultation privately with me during the member for Kingston's speech. I will make only one more contribution on this bill, because I understand he wants to wind up the debate. I appreciate having the opportunity to further go through unanswered questions that I have on the Notice Paper, including: from 12 February, question Nos 1460, 1461, 1462, 1463, 1464, 1465 and 1466; from 13 February, question Nos 1501 and 1502; and, from 5 March, question Nos 1545, 1546, 1547 and 1548.

I will say something about question No. 1548 because it is a very important question, and I am pleased the member for Bradfield has come into the chamber. Have a look at the annual report of the taxation commissioner of 2000-01. There is a segment here called `the legal profession project'. This is a very valuable group in the tax office, which seems to have disappeared. In the current annual report of the tax commissioner, there is no reference to the work of the legal profession project. I want to know about the activities of this group; it appears it has been wound up. I would like to know who in the tax office is doing the work of the legal profession project group.

Question No. 1549 was put on the Notice Paper on 3 March, as were question Nos 1550, 1551 and 1552. That last question relates to another scandalous case; I should talk about that. It is the case of Mr Clarrie Stevens, another QC. He did not pay any income tax for 15 years. He practised for 28 years, was a senior counsel for 11 years and specialised in tax advice for much of his career. That is a shocking case. It is not as bad as Stephen Archer, but it is a shocker. On 5 March, I placed on notice question Nos 1571 and 1572, again with regard to Mr Clarrie Stevens—and that raises very serious issues too. I believe that Mr Stevens has acted for the taxation commissioner. I would like to know what the taxation commission does to check barristers and lawyers—indeed any people that are hired by the tax commissioner—before it retains their services. How does it ascertain whether they are of good fame and character? This bloke is a scoundrel.

Going to the Notice Paper of 6 March, I refer to question Nos 1587, 1588, 1589, 1590 and 1591. Mr Bill Davidson, senior counsel, is another shocker. He has been made bankrupt twice, he has paid no tax for four years and he has approximately $2 million in unpaid taxes; yet still his wife owns a million-dollar home and they both drive Mercedes Benzes. It is little wonder that people are haemorrhaging with these cases. Question No. 1592 deals with Mr Timothy Wardell. He apparently has no assets, earns $350,000 a year, drives a BMW and lives near the waterfront. Question No. 1593 relates to Mr Wayne Baffsky, a barrister practising in criminal law. He owes the tax office $442,000 and still drives a $70,000 red Mustang car. Also on that Notice Paper are question Nos 1594, 1596, 1597, 1598, 1599, 1600, 1601 and 1602; on 18 March, question Nos. 1618, 1619 and 1620 through to 1641; on 19 March, question Nos 1651, 1652, 1653 right through to 1671; on 20 March, question No. 1714; and, on 26 March, question Nos 1761, 1762 to 1766. On today's Notice Paper there are some scorching questions: Nos 1782, 1783, 1784 and 1785. (Time expired)

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Lindsay)—The member for Lowe's time is up. The member for Lowe will resume his seat.

Mr Murphy —Could I just ask, while the parliamentary secretary is here, if he could follow those questions up with the Treasurer and the Attorney-General.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER —With the indulgence of the chair, I accept the member for Lowe's request.