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Tuesday, 2 December 2003
Page: 23528

Mr Murphy asked the Treasurer, upon notice, on 6 March 2003:

(1) Is he aware of reports that Mr Timothy Wardell, a barrister, went bankrupt in 2000 owing $1 million to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO); if not, why not.

(2) Has he been advised that Mr Wardell told the Federal Court that he had no assets even though court documents proved that he had an income of $350,000 per annum, drove a BMW motor vehicle and lived in Sydney near the waterfront; if not, why not.

(3) What has the Taxation Commissioner done to ensure that Mr Wardell pays his debts to the ATO.

(4) Have Mr Wardell's services ever been retained by the Commonwealth; if so, on how many occasions, for what periods of time and for what purposes.

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

(1) to (3) The independent Commissioner of Taxation has responsibility for administering the taxation laws and collecting the revenue. He assures me that the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is doing all it can to recover unpaid tax from Mr Wardell in the course of bankruptcy proceedings.

(4) The Commissioner further advised me that neither the ATO nor the Australian Government Solicitor has any record of retaining Mr Wardell's services.