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Wednesday, 11 November 2015
Page: 8251

Senator WHISH-WILSON (Tasmania) (12:23): In the budget this year the government was looking at bringing in a voluntary corporate disclosure code. You may remember, Senator Cash, that the previous Treasurer, Mr Joe Hockey, said:

The voluntary code will highlight companies that are paying their fair share of tax. It will also discourage companies from engaging in aggressive tax avoidance.

…   …   …

The Board of Taxation will provide a business and broader community perspective to the development of a voluntary corporate disclosure code.

The Government would like more companies, particularly large multinationals operating in Australia, to publicly disclose their tax affairs. In developing the code they will need to consider what information is disclosed and how it is disclosed.

This was said in May this year. The point being that the government was looking at a voluntary code.

You are bringing in a mandatory code for multinationals over $1 billion. When the Treasurer said 'the government would like more companies, particularly large multinationals,' why did you make the cut-off $1 billion, and what is wrong with applying standards of disclosure to companies of $100 million, because that is what we are trying to do in the Greens amendment. We are trying to provide a mandatory code for Australian and offshore companies over $100 million, and you have brought in a mandatory code for $1 billion. So, my questions are as follows. What is wrong with doing it for $100 million versus $1 billion? How did you determine that cut-off? Clearly you believe disclosure is important, otherwise you would not have made these comments. Also, what is the public good argument for not supporting disclosure for companies over $100 million.