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It’s chaotic in Canberra, but ….

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Yes, well it’s pretty obvious that the political system is in chaos. But despite the turmoil we thought we’d give you some updates on a few more sane things (from our perspective) that are coming through.

Free legal advice in ATO disputes
The Labor opposition is talking of funding free legal advice on tax matters to low-income taxpayers if they win government. It’s further recognition by Labor of the unequal power relationship between small business people and the ATO.

The Labor policy is a damn good thing. It would presumably have helped the low-income transcribers who had their ABNs withdrawn by the ATO late last year. The way the transcribers were treated by the ATO was, and continues to be, appalling. That’s right: the case is STILL not closed. The ATO continues with its threats.

The Labor policy has been talked of around ATO circles for some years, based on a scheme in the USA. So a little caution! The USA scheme is for extremely low-income earners. Would the Labor policy be available to most small business people? We don’t know.

Model Litigant Bill
The Model Litigant Bill put up by Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm has resulted in some excellent evidence before Senate Committee hearings. There’s been clear interest from all political parties and no sign of cheap political point scoring. It’s been parliamentary democracy at its best.

Here’s a video clip of the ATO trying to explain its behaviour.  But Michael Shord was the standout, explaining how he was treated by the ATO. Watch this video clip.

We understand that the Senate Committee will be delivering its report soon.

Big Business to Pay on Time
And it’s very pleasing to see the Morrison government pushing large businesses to pay small business people on time. The policy is, at long last, something with a bit of teeth to it. It’s still just a name-and-shame situation, but it’s moving in the right direction. And the government is putting its own foot forward by saying that it will pay small business within 20 days.

So in the midst of Canberra’s chaos some sense is coming through. Whew!!

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