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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 8112


Senator LUDWIG (5:43 AM) —I indicate that the opposition supports amendments (1) to (8) and (12). In relation to amendment (1), Labor supports the requirement that the Auditor-General investigate and certify that the objects of the act can be met by the appropriation provided prior to the commencement of the act. In relation to amendment (2), Labor supports the revised objects clause as it, in our view, better reflects the purpose of the role the inspector-general, and clearly that is the Democrats' view as well.

In relation to amendment (3), Labor supports the extension of the inspector-general's functions to include reviewing any laws to the extent that they deal with systemic issues with tax administration. In relation to amendment (4), Labor supports the removal of clause 8, subclause (2), on the basis that this clause gives the minister the power to direct the inspector-general to conduct the review. Amendment (5) is a consequential amendment to clause 8(2). In respect of amendment (6), Labor supports this new clause as it provides a formal mechanism for the inspector-general to consult with a variety of relevant parties, including tax professionals and groups representing taxpayers' interests.

In respect of amendment (7), Labor supports the requirement that the inspector-general's report is provided to the Auditor-General and that the Auditor-General may act on matters arising from the report. Amendment (8) to clause 11 is of fundamental importance to the bill and Labor supports the requirement that the inspector-general's reports be made publicly available. Finally, where we can find support, Labor supports amendment (12), which requires review of the operation, effectiveness and budget of the inspector-general after five years.