Summary

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The majority voted in favour of a motion introduced by a Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick (SA), which means it succeeded.

Motion text

(1) That the Senate notes that—

(a) on 16 October 2018, the Senate ordered the Commissioner of Taxation to provide information (company names to the Economics Legislation Committee related to designated financial entities that have lodged late, or not yet lodged, a corporate income tax return;

(b) on 5 November 2018, the Minister for Finance and the Public Service advanced a public interest immunity claim on the grounds that the disclosure of individual taxpayer information to the committee will harm the public interest by undermining public confidence in taxation laws and taxation administration;

(c) the Minister for Finance and the Public Service also claimed that the disclosure of this information will have a substantial adverse effect on the proper and efficient operations of the Australian Taxation Office;

(d) except in circumstances where the Parliament has explicitly carved out the ability for a House of Parliament to make inquiries, the secrecy provisions of legislation are subservient to the Constitution-derived inquiry powers of Senate;

(e) disclosing the names of financial entities that have not complied with tax laws does not undermine taxation laws and taxation administration, but rather may serve to encourage compliance with taxation laws; and

(f) Australia's tax transparency laws oblige the Commissioner of Taxation to annually publish selected income tax information, including the company name, for certain taxpayers and this has not resulted in the purported harm.

(2) That the Senate affirms that:

(a) there are few circumstances in which a corporation can be of the view they are entitled to anonymity;

(b) the public interest balance lies in favour of the disclosure of companies in breach of taxation law; and

(c) the Senate does not accept the public interest immunity claim advanced by the Minister for Finance and the Public Service.

(3) That the Senate orders the Commissioner of Taxation to comply with the balance of the order agreed to by the Senate on 16 October 2018.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Cory Bernardi SA Australian Conservatives Yes
Australian Greens (89% turnout) 8 Yes 0 No
Richard Di Natale Victoria Yes
Sarah Hanson-Young SA Yes
Nick McKim Tasmania Yes
Janet Rice Victoria Yes
Rachel Siewert WA Yes
Jordon Steele-John WA Yes
Larissa Waters Queensland Yes
Peter Whish-Wilson Tasmania Yes
Mehreen Faruqi NSW Absent
Australian Labor Party (68% turnout) 17 Yes 0 No
Kim Carr Victoria Yes
Anthony Chisholm Queensland Yes
Jacinta Collins Victoria Yes
Alex Gallacher SA Yes
Chris Ketter Queensland Yes
Kimberley Kitching Victoria Yes
Jenny McAllister NSW Yes
Malarndirri McCarthy NT Yes
Claire Moore Queensland Yes
Deborah O'Neill NSW Yes
Helen Polley Tasmania Yes
Louise Pratt WA Yes
Lisa Singh Tasmania Yes
David Smith ACT Yes
Glenn Sterle WA Yes
Anne Urquhart Tasmania Yes
Murray Watt Queensland Yes
Catryna Bilyk Tasmania Absent
Carol Brown Tasmania Absent
Doug Cameron NSW Absent
Patrick Dodson WA Absent
Don Farrell SA Absent
Kristina Keneally NSW Absent
Gavin Marshall Victoria Absent
Penny Wong SA Absent
Centre Alliance (100% turnout) 2 Yes 0 No
Stirling Griff SA Yes
Rex Patrick SA Yes
Nigel Scullion NT Country Liberal Party No
Derryn Hinch Victoria Derryn Hinch's Justice Party Yes
Sue Lines WA Deputy President Absent
Fraser Anning Queensland Independent Yes
Tim Storer SA Independent Yes
Lucy Gichuhi SA Independent No
Steve Martin Tasmania Independent Absent
David Leyonhjelm NSW Liberal Democratic Party No
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Matthew Canavan Queensland No
James McGrath Queensland No
Liberal Party (61% turnout) 0 Yes 14 No
Simon Birmingham SA No
Slade Brockman WA No
David Bushby Tasmania No
Richard Colbeck Tasmania No
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells NSW No
Mitch Fifield Victoria No
Jane Hume Victoria No
Ian Macdonald Queensland No
Jim Molan NSW No
Linda Reynolds WA No
Anne Ruston SA No
Zed Seselja ACT No
Dean Smith WA No
Amanda Stoker Queensland No
Eric Abetz Tasmania Absent
Michaelia Cash WA Absent
Mathias Cormann WA Absent
Jonathon Duniam Tasmania Absent
David Fawcett SA Absent
Lucy Gichuhi SA Absent
James Paterson Victoria Absent
Marise Payne NSW Absent
Arthur Sinodinos NSW Absent
National Party (67% turnout) 0 Yes 2 No
Bridget McKenzie Victoria No
John Williams NSW No
Barry O'Sullivan Queensland Absent
Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party (0.0% turnout) Absent
Peter Georgiou WA Absent
Pauline Hanson Queensland Absent
Scott Ryan Victoria President Absent
Brian Burston NSW United Australia Party Absent
Totals (68% turnout) 31 Yes – 21 No