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Thursday, 2 December 2004
Page: 156

Senator Brown asked the Minister representing the Treasurer, upon notice, on 18 November 2004:

With reference to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the non-payment of superannuation contributions by small businesses: Given that it is reasonable for an employee to fear that an employer may not look kindly on the act of informing to the ATO, why are employees who `blow the whistle' given no form of reassurance, written or oral, that their names will not be revealed to the employers in relation to whom they are reporting.

Senator Coonan (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —As the question deals with matters administered by the Australian Taxation Office, I have asked the Commissioner of Taxation for advice. The advice to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

The Commissioner of Taxation advises me that the scripting used by the ATO Contact Centre operators asks the employee if they give permission for the ATO to use their name. If the employee advises that they do not wish for their name to be disclosed, then the ATO does not reveal the identity of the complainant when dealing with the employer. In these instances, the ATO assures the employee that this will not occur.