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Monday, 16 June 2003
Page: 16562

Mr Murphy asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 6 March 2003:

(1) Is he aware of reports that Mr Timothy Wardell, a barrister, went bankrupt in 2000 owing $1 million to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); if not, why not.

(2) With regard to his News Release of 25 July 2001 titled Getting tough on lawyers who avoid tax, what changes to the law has he initiated to ensure that Mr Wardell cannot again use bankruptcy or family law to avoid paying income tax.

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

(1) No. It is not practical for me to be routinely informed about all operational matters relating to bankruptcy.

(2) The Government is not taking any specific action directed at Mr Wardell. Suggested changes to bankruptcy and family law in respect of the activities of high income professionals are considered in an issues paper released in November 2002 by the Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia and the Attorney-General's Department. The paper was open for comment from the community and professional bodies until 20 February 2003. The comments are being reviewed by ITSA and AGD and will inform the Government's decision on appropriate action to take.