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Wednesday, 9 February 2005
Page: 34

Senator LUDWIG (12:00 PM) —I move opposition amendment (2) on sheet 4505:

(2)    Schedule 2, page 23 (after line 13), after item 2, insert:

2A  At the end of section 139A


         (2)    Without limiting the applications or orders which may be made in accordance with subsection (1), a trustee may apply to the court and the court may order that a person who is bankrupt is not released from a tax debt which the person owes.

Note:   tax debt has the same meaning as in section 8AAZA of the Taxation Administration Act 1953.

This amendment is designed to ensure bankrupts cannot use bankruptcy to avoid outstanding tax debt. It will extend the liability beyond the period of bankruptcy. This is another measure Labor propose to crack down on high-flyers using bankruptcy laws to avoid tax obligations. We make the point that the high-flyers must know that bankruptcy is not a way out. Labor are acting where we think in this instance the government is not. I will not go through the debate of my last speech but it equally applies. We are not confident that the government will address this in a serious way in a short period. We accept that there are requirements to continue with the process and we understand the government has given that commitment. Perhaps my comments were a bit negative in respect of the overall process; however, I do encourage the government to continue, but it should continue in an open and transparent way. In the interim, some action is better than no action.

Senator Murray —And a short time frame.

Senator LUDWIG —And a short time frame. Thank you, Senator Murray.