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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 9885

Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (17:51): I rise to express a personal view in which I support the pursuit of multinationals who are avoiding the Australian taxation system, but I also flag with the Senate that I am unable to support this legislation if it is successful in having an amendment about the disclosure of tax affairs of private companies published on the ATO website. I want to explain why I have come to this position. About 18 months ago, I was made aware of a circumstance where private companies' tax affairs were going to be disclosed on the ATO's website. It was Labor Party policy. I raised that with some ministers in my own party. They undertook to examine repealing it and that happened a few weeks ago. The work done by Josh Frydenberg and others in that respect was valued. That decision went to our party room and the party room unanimously endorsed it and hence it was shepherded through both houses of parliament.

That policy decision has never been revisited in our party room. It has never been discussed at any level that I am aware of and I first became aware of it this morning when I asked what the price of the deal was with the Greens party for the passage of this amendment.

Senator Dastyari: What's the price?

Senator BERNARDI: The price was, indeed, this overturning of a party room decision, something that I feel very strongly about. So why I not be supporting the amendment to disclose the tax affairs of private companies. If it is successful, I will not be supporting the passage of this bill. I regret that it has come to this, but the circumstances are the party room have undertaken a position.

I commend the minister who was responsible for it and for shepherding it through this place—Josh Frydenberg worked very hard. To have this sprung on us at the last minute, I think, is not in the best interests of my party and the procedures and policies we work with. I regret very much it has come to this and I also regret the Labor Party will make merry hay over this. It is not about that; it is really about the principles and the processes that need to be endorsed.