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Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Page: 3758


Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (18:36): I rise to speak ever so briefly—I alert those opposite—to the International Tax Agreements Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2011. This bill has two schedules, dealing with separate issues. It amends the International Tax Agreements Act 1953 to modify and streamline the structure of that act. The act will, as a consequence of this bill, be shortened. It will omit almost all of the schedules to the act and instead incorporate treaties by reference to other accessible resources, principally the Australian Treaty Series online database of treaties. This was outlined with great clarity by the Assistant Treasurer in his second reading speech on 23 March 2007, and I am quite happy to point that out. It was outlined by the Assistant Treasurer with great clarity, and we recognise him for that on the basis that it happens ever so rarely.

This schedule will substantially reduce the size of the act and is a sensible housekeeping measure. Schedule 2 of the bill amends the same act to give force of law in Australia to new taxation arrangements with Aruba, Chile, the Cook Islands, Guernsey, Malaysia, Samoa and Turkey. It does so in those cases to cover the allocation of taxing rights and transfer pricing adjustments. With respect to Chile, Malaysia and Turkey, the agreements deal with different issues; they will cover the avoidance of double taxation and tax evasion.

Legislation in this area is a regular feature. Australia is participating in these types of agreements all the time for the betterment of the tax system. This legislation like so many others is representative of Australia's commitment to international agreements to avoid double taxation, to codify tax allocations and to combat international tax avoidance. It has the support of the coalition.