Senate debates

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Matters of Public Importance


4:35 pm

Photo of David LeyonhjelmDavid Leyonhjelm (NSW, Liberal Democratic Party) Share this | Hansard source

Today's debate is on the importance of tax transparency. Let me be clear: tax transparency is not important. Government should be transparent about what it does with our tax dollars. Government should not be transparent about the affairs of people who pay that tax. Taxpayers are required to provide private information to the tax commissioner so that he can check whether the taxpayer has paid enough tax. Taxpayers face fines and imprisonment if they do not provide this private information. Such coercion is a necessary evil of government. Traditionally governments have softened this imposition by promising not to share the private information they extract. But we have rejected this tradition. As it stands, the law requires the Tax Commissioner to publish the tax affairs of foreign companies with high turnover. This is an abuse of trust and a violation of privacy, and it adds insult to the injury of taxation.

This parliament is full of politicians who want to change the law so that the tax affairs of more and more taxpayers are published. These politicians who want to publish the private information of taxpayers are either meddlesome, unbalanced or conniving. The meddlesome ones love to pry into other people's business. It is a great shame that these snooping busybodies, who just have to find out other people's business, have found their way into the federal parliament.

The unbalanced politicians are driven by a visceral hate of those with more money than they have, a hate that veils a seething jealousy. Again, it is a great shame that our parliament contains so many people who believe that the wealth of rich people must be ill gotten, rather than the result of hard work, ingenuity or luck.

And the conniving politicians are just pandering to antirich prejudices felt by others in the electorate. We will never get rid of conniving politicians, but we should quell, rather than stir up, the antirich prejudices on which they prey.


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