Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Wednesday 10 June 2009 3146 not, not for one second. I am suggesting that if it is so easy to prove, take it to an independent arbitrator, such as a court. You say it only costs $10 to appeal to the tribunal. The hell it does! It costs $10 to lodge the matter, but no one goes to the tribunal until they have sought legal advice. This could be so easy, if we allowed this to be separated out, taken back to be talked about in another environment, and try to find some level playing field because, at the moment, we have this outrageous situation where I will be asked one question: whether I support the First Home Owners Grant, or the enabling legislation for the federal expenditure on the First Home Owners Grant, and thereby, whether I support a new taxation power. It is one question. That is an outrageous situation to put this House in. Should the Country Liberals form government at some point in the future - and I make no presumptions and should I be fortunate enough to become a minister, I will make it clear to people that where legislation can be dealt with separately, it will be dealt with separately. I will not hide behind first homeowners to try to shove through new taxation powers. Ms LAWRIE: Madam Chair, I have explained this to the member for Port Darwin, and I will explain it again. Stamp Duty and First Home Owners Grant are administered in tandem; they are linked. Also, they are all part of the revenue measures that the government has made in policy decisions in Budget 2009-10. They are linked. That is why they are cognate bills, joined together before the House, when they are linked measures. It is standard practice. He is running this line that, somehow, we are masking our range of revenue measures, which I announced in my budget speech Mr Elferink: No, you are masking a power. Ms LAWRIE: and we are masking them behind the First Home Owner Grant, which is before the House today. What kind of masking is it, when you go out on the front foot and talk about it in your budget speech and in your budget presentations? Then Treasury puts out its revenue circular and talks about it in detail as well. The revenue circular is distributed far and wide and I will table that. Then it is debated, discussed, and specifically pointed out in the second reading debate before this Chamber. Further, we are debating it in the committee stage. Therefore, to say that, somehow, we are trying to mask the range of revenue measures - in particular, the issue of the avoidance scheme behind the First Home Owners Grant - is patently absurd. If I had not talked about it in the budget speech or to the industry, if Treasury had not put it out in a revenue circular, if we had not been discussing and debating it in the second reading debate and, if we were not in the committee stage right now discussing it, I guess you could say we were trying to mask it. However, we did all those things. We have been up-front - absolutely clear - about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we are doing it. Further, regarding the remedy which the member for Port Darwin suggested to meet his concerns about taking the matter to an independent arbitrator of a court, I said that any determination on the gross avoidance measure by the Commissioner for Taxation can be appealed. It triggers an internal review system in the first place. But, ultimately, an appeal can go to either the court or the Taxation and Royalty Appeals Tribunal. It costs $10 to lodge a matter with the tribunal it is not a large fee. The member for Port Darwin says that no one would go there without legal representation. That is not true. Treasury has advised that a case has gone there without legal advice. Okay? This is the absurdity of the argument the member for Port Darwin is running. The gross avoidance scheme anti-avoidance measures contained in this bill somehow provide for too much determination powers in order to satisfy the Commissioner of Taxation it is not a gross avoidance scheme. You are not happy with that. You are still not happy with the internal review, which is triggered once someone objects; that an objection can go to the court or the tribunal and the tribunal cost is $10. Your remedy is - off to court you go, where it will cost people more. Member for Port Darwin, we have not been hiding or masking this; we have articulated, a couple of times now, why we have brought these measures in tandem before the House, and why we are debating them in tandem before the House, in both the second reading and committee stage. Mr ELFERINK: She and I can continue batting this back and forward all night. She knows - and you can tell by the very careful language - about the issues I raised, particularly in relation to this stunt of marrying up these two utterly independent pieces of legislation. They are utterly independent, they do not relate to each other, except by saying: It is all part of our revenue. The Financial Management Act and the Pay-roll Tax Act are too, but we have dealt with them separately. This is just a vehicle to get a power through, which she knows, despite her own assertions to the contrary, the industry is not happy with ... Ms Lawrie: One person.

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