Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14979


Mr Murphy asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 12 February 2003:

(1) Did he issue a joint news release with the Assistant Treasurer on 9 March 2001 titled “Bankruptcy and Taxation Obligations” stating that procedures would be introduced to ensure that Commonwealth Departments and agencies do not engage barristers who use bankruptcy as a means of avoiding tax.

(2) What procedures have been introduced over the past 23 months to ensure that Commonwealth Departments and agencies do not engage barristers who use bankruptcy as a means of avoiding tax.


Mr Williams (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Yes.

(2) On 21 March 2001 I wrote to each of my Cabinet colleagues to advise that Commonwealth Departments and agencies should take steps not to brief counsel who have become insolvent to avoid their taxation obligations, and that agencies should contact the Office of Legal Services Coordination (OLSC) in the Attorney-General's Department if they have any questions about the issue.

Since that date agencies have been required to take steps to ensure that they do not brief counsel in those circumstances. OLSC advises Departments and agencies to conduct a search of the National Personal Insolvency Index (NPII) in cases where they are briefing counsel and are uncertain if counsel is or has been insolvent. OLSC also advises Departments and agencies on the further inquiries that should be made in the event that an NPII search produces an apparently positive result. More generally, the initiatives that the Government has undertaken to deal with this issue are mentioned in QoN 1416 and 1461.