Summary

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The majority voted in favour of not insisting on amendment (3), which the House of Representatives had disagreed with.

What does this mean?

While considering the bill, the Senate proposed amendments, including amendment (3). However, the House of Represenatives disagreed with amendment (3) and so it was now up to the Senate to decide on whether to insist on the amendment (in which case, the bill would fail) or to accept the House's opinion.

What was amendment (3) and why did the House disagree with it?

The House of Representative's Reasons for Disagreeing to the Senate Amendments explained that:

[Amendments (1) and (3)] ... provide the Australian Taxation Office with a discretion to prevent the disclosure of the tax information of large Australian-owned private companies if it considers that the release of such information would be prejudicial to that entity’s commercial negotiations.

The intention of this Bill is similar to the intent of the House of Representatives in passing the Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Better Targeting the Income Tax Transparency Laws) Act 2015. That is, to balance the need for greater public transparency in the tax affairs of large companies while not jeopardising the privacy and competitiveness of Australian owned private companies.

However, requiring the Commissioner of Taxation to assess whether the release of tax information may be prejudicial to an entity’s commercial negotiations is inappropriate. The Tax Office is not equipped with the expertise to assess the commercial sensitivities of company negotiations. The Senate amendment would require the ATO to divert resources away from its core activities, which is not in the public interest.

What does the bill do?

The bill strengthens the laws against tax avoidance for certain companies. For example, it introduces anti-avoidance measures to deal with multinational companies with an annual global income of more than $A1 billion that use schemes to avoid having to pay tax in Australia or at least reduce that tax to a minimum.

To learn more about the bill, see the bills digest.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (90% turnout) 9 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Scott Ludlam WA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Lee Rhiannon NSW Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Robert Simms SA Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Absent
Australian Labor Party (71% turnout) 0 Yes 17 No
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania No
Carol Brown Tasmania No
Doug Cameron NSW No
Jacinta Collins Victoria No
Stephen Conroy Victoria No
Sam Dastyari NSW No
Katy Gallagher ACT No
Sue Lines WA No
Joe Ludwig Queensland No
Jenny McAllister NSW No
Anne McEwen SA No
Claire Moore Queensland No
Nova Peris NT No
Helen Polley Tasmania No
Lisa Singh Tasmania No
Anne Urquhart Tasmania No
Penny Wong SA No
Joe Bullock WA Absent
Kim Carr Victoria Absent
Alex Gallacher SA Absent
Chris Ketter Queensland Absent
Jan McLucas Queensland Absent
Deborah O'Neill NSW Absent
Glenn Sterle WA Absent
Ricky Muir Victoria Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party No
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party Yes
Gavin Marshall Victoria Deputy President No
Bob Day SA Family First Party Absent
Jacqui Lambie Tasmania Independent No
Glenn Lazarus Queensland Independent No
John Madigan Victoria Independent No
Nick Xenophon SA Independent No
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland Yes
James McGrath Queensland Yes
Liberal Party (80% turnout) 20 Yes 0 No
Christopher Back WA Yes
Cory Bernardi SA Yes
Simon Birmingham SA Yes
David Bushby Tasmania Yes
Michaelia Cash WA Yes
Richard Colbeck Tasmania Yes
Mathias Cormann WA Yes
Sean Edwards SA Yes
David Fawcett SA Yes
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW Yes
Mitch Fifield Victoria Yes
Bill Heffernan NSW Yes
David Johnston WA Yes
Jo Lindgren Queensland Yes
Ian Macdonald Queensland Yes
Linda Reynolds WA Yes
Michael Ronaldson Victoria Yes
Anne Ruston SA Yes
Scott Ryan Victoria Yes
Dean Smith WA Yes
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
George Brandis Queensland Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Zed Seselja ACT Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (75% turnout) 3 Yes 0 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria Yes
Fiona Nash NSW Yes
John Williams NSW Yes
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland Absent
Dio Wang WA Palmer United Party No
Stephen Parry Tasmania President Yes
Totals (80% turnout) 36 Yes – 25 No