It's official: government's top tax priority is gutting transparency - Media Release


The Abbott Government has today shown that its top priority on tax is helping big companies keep secret how much they really pay. 

In the very same week a major Senate report has called for better tax transparency, the Abbott Government has introduced legislation to gut Australia’s existing tax transparency laws.

This morning, Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will table a bill that will roll back Labor’s transparency rules, introduced in 2013.

These laws require the Australian Tax Office to publish information about the income and tax paid by companies earning over $100 million a year.

Joe Hockey was spruiking these very rules on ABC Radio just three days ago when arguing against the need for better transparency.

The laws currently apply to about 2,000 of Australia’s biggest firms. The legislation introduced today would gut them by carving out private firms, which make up almost half of the companies affected. 

The Government is going ahead with this change despite admitting through Freedom of Information  that it had received precisely zero submissions urging a rollback of the current laws. It also continues to push the idea that the laws somehow represent a security risk, despite the AFP, Attorney-General’s Department, Australian Tax Office and Treasury all queuing up to say they’ve given no such advice.  

The contrast could not be clearer.

Labor believes in holding big companies to account and ensuring they pay their fair share of tax. The Abbott Government believes in hiding them from scrutiny so that Australians never know how much tax these firms really pay.

It is very telling that this is the first major piece of tax legislation the Government has introduced this year. Despite his big talk, Treasurer Joe Hockey’s bill to tackle multinational tax avoidance is still nowhere to be seen.

By going ahead with their plan to gut Labor’s tax transparency laws, the Abbott Government has proven yet again it does not care about ensuring big companies pay their fair share.

Labor will fight this bill. We call on the Senate crossbench to stand with us on the side of transparency and put the community’s interests ahead of a handful of special interests.



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