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Notice given 31 October 2012

2447  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs on 5 November 2012 )—Did the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service make any representations to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, or any other department or agency, in relation to the appointment of the current Sri Lankan High Commissioner, Admiral Thisara Samarasinghe; if so: (a) what was the nature of the representations; and (b) on what date(s) were those representations made.

2448  Senator Cormann: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—With reference to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2011/D5, ‘Income Tax: School or College Building Funds’ and Taxation Ruling  TR 96/8 ‘Income Tax: School and College Building Funds’:

(1) Given that Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2011/D5 states that the 50 per cent rule is no longer considered correct, what is the reason for departing from the 50 per cent use test; for example, has there been an important court judgment on the subject.

(2) Has the ATO simply changed its mind about the issue.

(3) What is the ATO’s intended service standard for the finalisation of public rulings.

(4) Given that Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2011/D5 was notified on 6 April 2010, and was issued on 5 December 2011, why has the ruling not yet been finalised.

(5) Is it sound administrative practice to withdraw a ruling such as Taxation Ruling TR 96/8 without first finalising a replacement public ruling, such as Draft Taxation Ruling TR 2011/D5.

2449  Senator Cormann: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—With reference to the Tax Studies Institute announced in October 2011 as an outcome of the Tax Forum, and for which $3 million of funding over 3 years from 2012-13 was announced in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2011-2012:

(1) Given the reference made in the 2012-13 Budget document Tax Reform Road Map of the intention to establish a Tax Studies Institute in 2012, is the Government still committed to the Tax Studies Institute.

(2) What reasons are there to explain the delay in establishing the Tax Studies Institute.

(3) What is the current plan to establish the institute, including: timing, the nature of the resources to be made available to the institute, and its governance.

(4) Has the department held discussions with academics, professional services firms or other bodies with a view to resourcing the Tax Studies Institute; if so, can details regarding the nature of the discussions and the outcomes be provided.