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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 14976

Dr Emerson asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 6 February 2003:

(1) Did the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) apply a 50% penalty tax to the GST transactions of the Queensland Division of the Liberal Party as a result of its audit announced by the Prime Minister in August 2001.

(2) Is he aware that the ATO has told a Senate Estimates committee that a penalty tax is applied when the taxpayer has been reckless as to the operation of the tax law or has been engaged in a tax avoidance scheme.

(3) In the light of the imposition of a penalty tax, does he stand by his statement of 24 August 2001 that this was only an error or a mistake, or does he now concede the Liberal Party has been caught in a tax avoidance scheme.

Mr Costello (Treasurer) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (3) I refer the member to the 23 November 2001 press release from the Federal Secretariat of the Liberal Party of Australia.