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Australian tax office must apologise for misleading conduct



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MEDIA RELEASE

PETER COSTELLO, M.P. SHADOW ATTORNEY GENERAL AND SHADOW MINISTER FOR JUSTICE

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AUSTRALIAN TAX OFFICE MUST APOLOGISE FO R MISLEADING CONDUCT

'T he ruling by the Advertising Standards Council ('ASC) to force the Australian Taxation Office to withdraw advertising for the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Bill confirms that the Tax Office has engaged in a false and misleading advertising campaign", the Shadow Attorney General, Mr Peter Costello

said today.

"The Advertising Standards Council ordered that the Australian Taxation Office withdraw its advertising".

"In July the Australian Taxation Office advertised that Employers were liable to pay superannuation under the Superannuation Guarantee from 1 July 1992. That was false".

'T here was no legislation requiring such payment at the time of the advertising".

"The Tax Office advertised that the scheme had commenced. It expended public money on false advertising. It has now been found to have breached the Advertising Code of Ethics requiring that 'Advertisements shall be truthful and shall not be misleading or deceptive'".

"When a complaint was lodged the ATO gave a two line justification of its conduct. Now that it has been found to have breached the Code it should apologise for its conduct".

"The Tax Office should lead by example when it comes to observing high standards of conduct. It has not".

'T he Government should disclose how much money was spent on the false advertising, who authorised the campaign, and what steps will be taken to ensure the ATO will not repeat such conduct".

'T he public is entitled to expect that the ATO like other government agencies will be held accountable by the Government and that they will observe the standards of behaviour expected from private enterprise when it comes to honest dealing with the public". ___________ ___

COMMONWEALTH

PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY

End Release: 21 August 1992 MICAH

Contact: Anthony Smith (03) 822 4422 ““

or AH (018) 324 009