Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Statements by Senators

Audit and Assurance Industry

1:44 pm

Photo of Deborah O'NeillDeborah O'Neill (NSW, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I seek to draw the attention of the chamber today to a matter of national importance, and that's the integrity of the audit and assurance sector. In recent days it's become very clear PwC, PricewaterhouseCoopers, used secret government information that belongs to the Australian people to advise clients how to sidestep new tax laws that were under construction by the previous government in 2015 to 2016. A now-ex PwC tax partner by the name of Mr Peter Collins signed confidentiality agreements and was supposed to be helping the Treasury department and the Australian Taxation Office to make sure that multinationals paid their tax but nonetheless took that information back to PwC and monetised that for PwC's profit.

These institutions, PwC and the other assurance companies, are vital to the proper functioning of the markets of this country. Every single one of us with money in superannuation rely on decisions that are made based on the truth that these companies are supposed to tell. Instead, we've had a massive betrayal.

I show to you here, in this chamber: this is the compiled 144 pages of the email trail that reveals it was not only Mr Collins but the CEO, Mr Tom Seymour, who resigned yesterday evening, who was involved with the deception of the Australian parliament and the Australian people and with a betrayal of ethical and professional standards that they should be upholding. This is a major cancer on the way that information that is vital to the national interest is being undertaken by those at PwC. We have had a resignation from Mr Seymour overnight as the CEO. He remains a partner. There are many more questions than answers arising from these pages. I will not let this go, in the interests of the nation. (Time expired)


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