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Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Page: 8236


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate, Minister for Communications, Minister for the Arts and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Government) (09:38): As has already been canvassed in relation to the Greens proposed amendment, colleagues would be aware that on 15 October the parliament passed a bill to amend the legislation that directs the Commissioner of Taxation to publish confidential taxation information of Australian controlled private companies. The government introduced the amendment because publication of the taxation information of these companies would have effectively disclosed the owners' financial affairs and posed a risk to their position in the market by making key economic information available to their competitors and suppliers.

It is important to note that the amending legislation has no impact on the comprehensive powers of the Commission of Taxation to require companies to produce any information that is relevant to making an assessment of their tax liability. The public disclosure of tax information at law will continue to apply to multinational enterprises operating in Australia and to Australian public companies. The government has made clear that every company, indeed every taxpayer, must pay the right amount of tax and, to that end, has tightened the thin capitalisation laws applicable to the amount of interest that may be deducted. It has introduced new legislation to tackle tax avoidance by large multinationals.

The government is focused on ensuring that the Commissioner of Taxation has all the powers he needs to ensure multinational companies pay taxes on profits earned in Australia. As has been made clear, the government will not be supporting the Greens amendment.