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Does the ATO demonstrate its 'Mongrel Bastards' status? You decide!

Monday, October 29, 2018

It was an interesting week last week when witnessing the contrasting faces of the Australian Taxation Office displayed before various Parliamentary Committees.

On Wednesday (24 October) the ATO appeared before Senate Estimates.  The Tax Commissioner said this:

“…it is very disappointing that there continues to be public commentary about our relationship with small business…I want to draw a line in the sand so we can move forward …”
We say that that would be great!

But then, on Friday 26 October, some small business individuals and the ATO gave evidence in another Senate hearing considering the requirement that the Commonwealth bureaucracy complies with model litigant laws.

Michael Shord gave evidence. He is an ordinary bloke who’s been attacked by the ATO since 1998. He’s not wealthy, but for some reason the ATO has persistently attacked him. He has won solidly in court. His case is the one where a judge questioned whether the ATO could have perverted the course of justice. See here. But still the ATO attacks him.

In his Senate evidence, 68-year-old Michael tells his story simply and with modest, raw truth. If you have the time, watch his evidence—which we find compelling. Scroll forward to time 11:29:00 on this parliamentary video link.

Then, after Michael appeared, top ATO officials in charge of ATO litigation appeared. Goodness!!! The Bill being considered by Parliament would require the ATO to act reasonably in its dealings with all taxpayers, including self-employed small business people. The ATO opposes the Bill. Watch the ATO argue against the Bill. Scroll to time 13:07:20 on this parliamentary video link. In our view, the ATO twists and turns!

But then watch the discussion/debate between Senator David Leyonhjelm and the ATO officers. Scroll to time 13:28:00 on the same parliamentary video link. Senator Leyonhjelm quietly, patiently but forensically pulled the ATO’s objections to pieces. The ATO twisted and turned even more.

In our view, in this hearing the ATO gave a stunning demonstration of just how they behave. Not pretty in our view!

If this is the ATO’s ‘drawing a line in the sand’, it’s a line drawn in quicksand.

We’re not prepared to risk being ‘sucked in’ by such a line. That’s why we’ve launched a major campaign to reform the ATO.

You can add your voice to the reform campaign. Go here and you can:
  • Sign our petition
  • Contact your local MP
  • Register Your Support
Together we can make a difference. We MUST make a difference.


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