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Tuesday, 7 August 2001
Page: 29302

Mr EMERSON (3:40 PM) —Mr Speaker, I seek your guidance on a matter of privilege. In October last year the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Workplace Relations, of which I am a member, tabled its report on employee share ownership entitled Shared endeavours. During the inquiry process the committee heard evidence from officers of the Taxation Office. On 11 May 2000 the officers stated in evidence to the committee that every year the tax office would issue `over 3,000' private binding rulings. During the winter recess the Auditor-General issued a report entitled The Australian Taxation Office's administration of taxation rulings. On page 99 of that report it is stated:

For the calendar year 2000 the ATO issued 89,779 PBRs ...

That is, private binding rulings. That is quite a lot more than the 3,000 the Taxation Office had earlier suggested. It therefore appears that the ATO has given misleading evidence to the committee on the question of the number of private binding rulings issued by the tax office. I ask if you would consider and report back to the House as to whether this matter raises a breach of privilege.

Mr SPEAKER —I will of course follow up the matter raised by the member for Rankin to see what, if any, discrepancy has occurred and why.