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Wednesday, 9 February 2005
Page: 26


Senator MURRAY (11:19 AM) —As I would expect, the minister anticipated the next step I was to take. If it is up to parliament—and, of course, I would expect ministers of justice or attorneys-general to initiate such action, because that is their proper role—parliament would need to know the details. The difficulty we have is that, under tax law and tax practice, the individual circumstances that a person has with the tax office are not public and are not made known to parliament. You could have a situation where the tax office might be aware that a judge has been a serial offender, if you like, in this matter—and I would go not just to the criminality of it but also to the practice; if you did not put in a tax return for five years, for example, as opposed to a few months, which I would not think is a hanging offence—but in those circumstances how would parliament ever get to know whether or not a judge had behaved in an utterly improper manner with regard to their tax affairs?