COALITION DRAGGED TO ACTION ON DODGY PHOENIX ACTIVITY
More than a year after promising action, the Government has been dragged kicking and screaming to provide a timeline for legislation to tackle dodgy phoenix activity.
Phoenixing is an urgent problem – it has effects that reach out across the community, ruining innocent people’s lives and livelihoods.
Director identification numbers have been cited as the single most effective measure to crack down on illegal phoenix activity with our current system so full of holes that the Australian Taxation Commissioner even warned one Senator:
“I could appoint you as a company director without you even knowing and me then controlling the company.”
Another expert warned that:
“… you can, almost literally, register your dog as a company director.”
It has been 16 months since Labor first called for the introduction of director identification numbers, with support from:
- Australian Institute of Company Directors
- Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman
- Productivity Commission
- Tax Justice Network
- Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Master Builders Australia
- Australian Council of Trade Unions
- Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association
- Phoenix Project, comprising experts from Melbourne University Law School and Monash University Business School
- Australian Institute of Credit Management
It has been 12 months since the Coalition said they would follow Labor’s lead and take action on phoenix activity.
Finally - after failing to rule out the use of biometrics, after multiple court reports of dodgy directors burning innocent people and after billions of dollars drained from the tax system – the Coalition has finally decided to do something.
This should not have taken so long, especially as the Government was briefed on the issue three years ago.
According to research commissioned by the government, phoenixing costs the economy up to $5.1 billion dollars a year. This means that almost $7 billion may have been lost to illegal phoenix activity in the 16 months that have elapsed since Labor announced our phoenix policy.
Director identification numbers help prevent wrongdoing. How many people have had multiple identities listed online with the corporate watchdog? How many innocent people have lost their jobs, their benefits and their reputation as a result of Government inaction allowing dodgy directors to continue unabated?
Even a Coalition MP described the measure as “so simple” – so why has it taken more than a year to see any action?
Labor urges the Coalition to adopt the director identification number system with a 100 point check to ensure that no more dodgy directors get away with ruining the lives of hard working Australians.
THURSDAY, 27 SEPTEMBER 2018
Authorised by Noah Carroll, ALP, Canberra.