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Thursday, 21 March 1985
Page: 613


Senator JESSOP(8.59) —I remind the Committee that the Fraser Government at least took some initiatives with respect to the income tax Act. Between 1978 and 1980 it amended 25 sections of the Act. I suggest that the present Government look-


Senator Harradine —It is not this Act.


Senator JESSOP —I know that. I just want to say something about the negligence of the present Government in coming to grips with the matter of taxation and its failure to recognise the inequity of retrospective taxation. I referred earlier to Special Prosecutor Roger Gyles, who has just submitted his last annual report. I quoted from the Australian Financial Review of today's date. I would like to finish that quote. The article states:

His final report was addressed to the former Attorney-General, Senator Evans.

In relation to his endeavours to launch civil remedies for bottom of the harbour tax cases, Mr Gyles told Senator Evans: 'I am concerned, however, that neither your tabling statement, which contained a lengthy statement emanating from the Australian Taxation Office, nor the annual report of the Commissioner, meet the point of my criticism.

'It was that, given the impossibility of adequately taking and co-ordinating civil remedies with existing resources, the Commissioner was nonetheless not prepared to co-operate with me in seeking to obtain and organise resources sufficient to carry out the task.

'The lack of subsequent response and action would indicate that the Government--

that is, the Labor Government-

has a similar view.

'An increase in staff of the Australian Taxation Office devoted to general audit (investigative) work is simply irrelevant to the particular problem.

'This is, of course, a matter of policy both for the Commissioner of Taxation and for the Government.'

That is a condemnation of the negligence of the present Government with respect to taxation matters. I suggest that the Government would do well to reconsider the report of the Special Prosecutor and take some action with respect to his constructive recommendation.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Peter Rae's amendment) be left out.