Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Government's tax deception

Download PDFDownload PDF

Deputy Leader of the Opposition


* 5


The defeat of the Government’s Tax Bit3 is not a victory

for the tax avoidance industry, it. is a victory for


The tax avoidance industry was already destroyed by the

previous government’s legislation, as was effectively

acknowledged in the Taxation Commissioner’s last annual

report. ’

Labor’s defeated legislation was not really anti tax

avoidance law at all; it sought to introduce a new

retrospective, confiscatory and discriminatory tax

against some sales of companies with reserves, but not

against othersĀ«

There are strong grounds for doubting that Labor ever

really intended this dishonest legislation to be passed.

It is, in reality, part of a pattern of deceptive excuses

Labor is building up to break all of its promises of tax

cuts - and even to impose new taxes.

Its first excuse - the so-called ’huge deficit’ it inherited -

has now been largely demolished by the recently released

forecast of much greater economic growth that Labor tried

to keep secret.

Now its excuse is to be the Senate’s rejection of legislation

that was dishonestly presented as being aimed at catching

tax evaded by bottom-of-the-harbour tax dodgers but which,

in fact, did no such thing.


Pnrfiifment House. CVtdierrn, A.C.’.T. 2 6 0 0

This legislation was a fraud.”*

It was a special extra fbx on the reserves of "something

like It) per cent of all the companies sold in Australia,

but not on the remaining 90 per cent, even though they

had exactly the same sort of accumulated reserves.

The only- reason the reserves of"this 10 per cent or so

of companies were to be taxed wes as an added retrospective

penalty (on top of the requirement to pay the tax due

under our genuine hot tom-of-the.-harbour law) because they

bad been, often innocently, caught up in a bottom-of-ihe-

harbour deal,

The McCarthy-ite tactics of the Minister for Finance,.

Mr Dawkins, in smearing all opponents of his dishonest

legislation as "friends of tax dodgers”, arc despicable.

His major deception tiCVeyer-,. jlTto attempt "to justify^

prospective tax rises as an offset to the alleged ’'revenue

foregone'* through the blocking of this bad legislation.

Revenue is only" foregone if it is properly due and payable;

this tax had never been due and payable and had not been


The principles involved are similar to a situation in which

a car owner is caught for speeding. Our bottom-of-thc-

harbour law introduced last year was similar to the car

ownei- having to pay the speeding fine even if he was not

a c t u a l l y driving the car but had asked someone else to do it


But under the legislation that was rejected yesterday,

Labor was imposing a new extra penalty after the event -

they were in effect saying that they would confiscate

the cars of all people who had over been booked for

speeding - not in the future but in the past. It was

a new penalty that did not exist when people were caught

for speeding - and they would not have been speeding if

they had realised there was such a severe penalty.

That is what this retrospective legislation was all about

and that is why we opposed it.


3 June 1983