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Tuesday, 2 December 1986
Page: 3213

(Question No. 986)


Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 18 March 1986:

(1) Was it alleged in a report in the National Times of 22 November 1985 that the Reserve Bank has refused to hand over information to the Australian Taxation Office relating to speculative profits made at the time of the 1983 devaluation of the Australian dollar, and that such refusal was based on non-existing secrecy powers.

(2) Are the allegations made in the article correct.

(3) Was this refusal made, despite the bank's understanding that the information would have helped identify tax avoiding speculators.

(4) What action is the Government taking to ensure that this kind of irresponsible action is rectified.

(5) Will the information be now made available.


Senator Walsh —The Treasurer has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes.

(2) No. The allegation was based essentially on an internal diary note obtained, with other material, by Mr Brian Toohey from the Reserve Bank of Australia under the Freedom of Information Act. It represents Mr Toohey's interpretation of the material made available to him. The Governor of the Reserve Bank, in response to a question from Mr Toohey, informed him in writing that he had drawn an incorrect conclusion. The information available to the Bank did not provide any factual basis for asserting that currency speculation had taken place. The Governor further informed Mr Toohey that the Bank had always co-operated with the taxation authorities.

(3) to (5) Refer to (2) above.