Thursday, 3 December 2015
Tax Laws Amendment (Combating Multinational Tax Avoidance) Bill 2015; In Committee
I thank the minister for clarifying that. I think there is going to be a series of different amendments. I believe a lot of this confusion would have been avoided if these were amendments that we had not received on the day and we had had an opportunity to properly examine at an earlier point time.
My understanding is that this is the amendment that initially had been added to the legislation. It was proposed by Senator Xenophon when this bill first came to the Senate. The government has now taken the drafting of the Senate clerks and replaced it with wording that had been written by Treasury. There is a serious concern that those of us on this side of the chamber have that this is a watered down version of what was initially moved by Senator Xenophon. Unfortunately, getting to the bottom of the significance of the changes that have been proposed has not been an opportunity afforded to us, because this dirty deal was done last night and these are amendments that were shown to the House only a few hours ago. Because of that, the Labor Party cannot and does not have confidence. While some of the language may only have minor impacts, the concern is that some of it—particularly things relating to corporate tax entities being Australian residents or having Australian permanent establishments in order to file a general purpose financial statement—means that this amendment may not be able to capture firms like Google, Apple, Microsoft and major technology companies. These are big issues. These are big concerns. Frankly, we are concerned that, in the rush of drafting this amendment, we do not have confidence it has got it right.
I hope the Greens do realise that it actually puts off the reporting by almost three years because of the 2016 start date. It puts it off by almost three years because of the late period in which companies can start to report. But, I have to say, I have more faith in Senator Xenophon than I do in some of the government's and the ministerial drafting. I trust Senator Xenophon more, and, as such, the Labor Party will be voting to insist on the initial amendment as drafted by Senator Xenophon.