How Tony Abbott voted compared to someone who believes that the federal government should make it harder for individuals and corporations to avoid or aggressively minimise their Australian tax obligations and take part in international efforts to keep track of these individuals and corporations by sharing income and asset information

Division Tony Abbott Supporters vote Division outcome

14th Sep 2015, 6:08 PM – Representatives Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Better Targeting the Income Tax Transparency Laws) Bill 2015 - Second Reading - Agree with the bill's main idea

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The majority agreed with the bill's main idea (in parliamentary jargon, they voted in favour of giving the bill a second reading). This means that the House can now discuss the bill in more detail.

However, in this case, there wasn't any further discussion and the bill was immediately passed in the House (that is, given a third reading). This means it will now be sent to the Senate for them to decide whether to pass it or not.

Bill's main idea

The purpose of the bill is to stop certain tax information of Australian-owned private companies from being made public by the Commissioner of Taxation. In other words, the bill makes sure that the tax information of those companies stays private.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews MP, argued that this bill "will ensure that there is greater public transparency of the tax affairs of companies but without risking the privacy, personal security and market environments of Australian owned private companies" (see her full speech).

What 'tax information' is currently made public?

Right now, the Commissioner of Taxation publishes some tax information of companies whose total annual income equals or exceeds $100 million. The information published includes the company’s:

  • ABN and name;
  • total annual income;
  • annual taxable income or net income (if any); and
  • annual income tax payable (if any).

See the bills digest for further information.

Background to the bill

The previous Labor Government introduced the requirement to publish this tax information in 2013. The then Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury MP, announced that it would "encourage enterprises to pay their fair share of tax and discourage aggressive tax minimisation practices" (see his media release).

absent No Passed by a small majority

14th Sep 2015, 6:00 PM – Representatives Tax and Superannuation Laws Amendment (Better Targeting the Income Tax Transparency Laws) Bill 2015 - Second Reading - Against the bill

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The majority voted against an amendment, which asked the House to reject the main idea of the bill. In parliamentary jargon, the amendment asked the House to not give the bill a second reading. If the amendment had succeeded, then the bill would have failed.

Bill's main idea

The purpose of the bill is to stop certain tax information of Australian-owned private companies from being made public by the Commissioner of Taxation. In other words, the bill makes sure that the tax information of those companies stays private.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science, Karen Andrews MP, argued that this bill "will ensure that there is greater public transparency of the tax affairs of companies but without risking the privacy, personal security and market environments of Australian owned private companies" (see her full speech).

What 'tax information' is currently made public?

Right now, the Commissioner of Taxation publishes some tax information of companies whose total annual income equals or exceeds $100 million. The information published includes the company’s:

  • ABN and name;
  • total annual income;
  • annual taxable income or net income (if any); and
  • annual income tax payable (if any).

See the bills digest for further information.

Background to the bill

The previous Labor Government introduced the requirement to publish this tax information in 2013. The then Assistant Treasurer, David Bradbury MP, announced that it would "encourage enterprises to pay their fair share of tax and discourage aggressive tax minimisation practices" (see his media release).

absent Yes Not passed by a small majority

6th Jun 2013, 11:46 AM – Representatives Tax Laws Amendment (2013 Measures No. 2) Bill 2013 - Consideration in Detail - Reject transparency provisions

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The majority voted against an amendment that would have deleted the transparency provisions from the bill. This means that the amendment failed.

People who supported the transparency provisions voted "no" and people who wanted to get rid of the provisions voted "yes".

What are the transparency provisions?

The bill requires the Commissioner of Taxation to publish certain tax information of corporations that have a total annual income of $100 million or more. That tax information includes the corporation's:

  • name and ABN;
  • total income;
  • taxable income; and
  • tax payable.

The bill also gives the Commissioner a separate duty to publish the final amount of the corporation's annual payable Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) or Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) (if any).

See Chapter 3 of the explanatory memorandum for more information.

absent No Not passed by a small majority

How "never voted" is worked out

Normally a person's votes count towards a score which is used to work out a simple phrase to summarise their position on a policy. However in this case Tony Abbott was absent during all divisions for this policy. So, it's impossible to say anything concrete other than that they have "never voted" on this policy.