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Thursday, 3 December 2015
Page: 9891

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (18:19): I want to speak very briefly to Senator Muir's amendments. In relation to the grandfathering clause amendment I do support that amendment. It is interesting to note that in the context of this debate the information about those so-called grandfathered companies that are able to have their information kept secret from the Australian public was only disclosed after the debate, and I think that it is appropriate that it became a live issue after that and that this is an appropriate bill in which to deal with this amendment.

I note that despite what the minister says there have been a number of views within the Public Service, as I understand, in the tax office and the Treasury. I will be corrected as to who actually said this, but my understanding is that there were concerns that the grandfathering arrangement was outdated and needed to be reformed, so I will support Senator Muir in relation to that amendment.

On reflection I will support Senator Muir in relation to his other amendment for small, private companies, because this applies to what are defined as not large proprietary companies. If a company fulfils two out of the three criteria—either less than $25 million in turnover, assets of less than $12½ million or fewer than 50 employees—I do not think it is unreasonable that they be exempt from that provision. The minister is right. We are doing things not in the most satisfactory of circumstances and doing things on the run, but I think that it is a worthy amendment, so I will be supporting both the amendments from Senator Muir.