Agreements with Marshall Islands and with Mauritius


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (18:58): I am drawn to enter this debate having been encouraged by the very fine words of my colleague Senator Cormann but also having been encouraged by the interjections from senators opposite. I have actually been to both the Marshall Islands and Mauritius. I have to say they are both great countries. The Marshall Islands has a very big shipping register but it is a developing country. It does not have the techniques, the public service and the technology that the Australian government has. It seems incredible to me that some information, which must be clearly at the Treasurer's fingertips, cannot be provided in answer to questions on notice from Senator Cormann after more than 150 days. What if it took 150 days to supply the sort of tax information that is required by these two treaties to the governments of the Marshall Islands and Mauritius Surely it would be available in Australia, with all of its public servants, with all of its technology and with all of its information systems. There are thousands and thousands of public servants in this town who are there to record this sort of information. I am sure that if the Treasurer had one ounce of intelligence and abilityand I will give him credit for having one ounce, perhaps not much morethat information would be available. If the government of Mauritius or the government of the Marshall Islands were asking for it, it would be readily available; but when the opposition asks for it, suddenly it becomes all too hard. For a government that pays lip service to accountability and openness, this is an absolute disgrace. But what would you expect from a government led by a leader who solemnly promised not to introduce a carbon tax in her government She did that one year ago today. When you cannot believe the Leader of the Labor Party, who is currently our Prime Minister, on that basic promise, how can you believe her on her promise of openness and accountability, which is required in relation to the explanation of taxes

If these developing countries, the Marshall Islands and Mauritius, with their limited resources can exchange their tax information with Australia's tax information, why on earth can't the Treasurer of our nation supply what must be very basic information that he would have at his fingertips One can only assume that, yet again, this government is demonstrating not only its incompetence but its dishonesty. It is demonstrating its inability not only to properly manage the country but also to comply with any of the promises it made in relation to (a) 'no carbon taxes in the government I lead' and (b) the openness and accountability that was supposed to be part of the new paradigm, which is this awful, dysfunctional government that we have 'not running' Australia at the present time.

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