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Wednesday, 23 October 2002
Page: 5734


Senator LUDWIG (3:37 PM) —I move the following amendment to the motion that the Selection of Bills Committee report be adopted:

At the end of the motion, add “and, in respect of the Inspector-General of Taxation Bill 2002, the bill be referred to the Economics Legislation Committee for inquiry and report by 3 December 2002”.

I do not wish to take up much time of the Senate—I know that we have a packed program—but it is worth while stating the reasons for referral. Earlier today we denied leave for this legislation to be exempt from the cut-off to allow this bill to go to the relevant committee for inquiry and report. The bill should not be passed in the Senate until such time as the committee has had the opportunity to consider the wider governance issues relating to the Australian Taxation Office and tax policy involving the ATO, Treasury, the Board of Taxation, the Tax Ombudsman, the Auditor-General and the proposed Inspector-General of Taxation. Labor wishes to save taxpayers' money and to ensure that the unnecessary duplication of Commonwealth administration in this tax area is dealt with. Those are the reasons for the referral, which will allow the Senate Economics Legislation Committee to have sufficient time to inquire into and report on the bill.

It is also worth while adding that, procedurally, the Selection of Bills Committee sought to defer a recommendation that the matter go to the Economics Legislation Committee. However, five minutes or so after the committee had concluded we received a reference request. As we will not be sitting again for another two weeks, it was worth while ensuring that the Economics Legislation Committee had that reference so that it could inquire into that piece of legislation. That is the reason that we now propose to amend the report to allow the reference to the Economics Legislation Committee. It can now undertake that inquiry, get the appropriate processes under way and ensure that the bill receives proper scrutiny by the committee. The Selection of Bills Committee will not meet again until the next sitting week of the Senate—on the Tuesday at 4 p.m. Referral will allow the process to get under way now and it will allow proper scrutiny of the bill by the Senate committee in the terms that I have proposed.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The question is that the amendment moved by Senator Ludwig be agreed to.

Question agreed to.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —The question is that the amended motion be agreed to.

Question agreed to.