Is the Palaszczuk* Labor Government facing defeat at the next election due on 24 October 2024?

The tax reformer cartoon for december

Opinions suggest so and have done so for some time: see “Recent polling suggests Premier Palaszczuk is ‘on the nose’ among voters” and “Palaszczuk goes stale with voters, deputy hits back against ‘gossip’”

But will a new government effect the wide range of reforms detailed in previous editions of The Monthly Report?

As 2023 comes to an end and the New Year is just around the corner, The Tax Reformer (TTR) sees only small signs of the QRO embracing a new stance. That stance requires a grip of the Rule of Law tightly and implement its tenets. “QRO, its called ‘democracy’. To ignore it makes it easier for you to administer the various tax lines but at the expense of due process and proper government. Taxpayers feel ambushed and let down.”

So, where can the revenue offices start the reform process? How about setting up a Standing Committee of the States and Territories Revenue Offices with a wide public call for submissions?

Yet, as TTR said in the May 2023 Issue: “When you wish upon a [reform from the revenue offices, you’re likely to be disappointed].”

“Castle Siege” has been well and truly rebuilt and in place!

So, what would The Tax Reformer wish for? It’s easy to set out a long list as was done in the May Issue. Just a few then can be referred to:

  • The Rule of Law requires wide and proper consultation. Secrecy is not all important!! It can rarely be justified. And the QRO shot itself in the foot with the proposed amendments of the Land Tax Act. See the April 2023 Issue of the Monthly Report.
  • Evidence that adherence to the Rule of Law is paramount as required by section 4 (4) (c) of the Legislative Standards Act 1992;
  • Root and branch review of the operations of each State and Territories revenue office compared with the structure and operations of the ATO;
  • Root and branch review of the operations of the State and Territories revenue office within a federal system and the extent that that has on costs of commerce and business;
  • Adopt the ATO protocol for the introduction of new legislation to achieve more accountability in the revenue offices around the jurisdictions;
  • Install an equivalent of the ATO Inspector General of Tax in all jurisdictions;
  • Make the revenue offices accountable to the equivalent of a Board of Directors;
  • Redraft sections of Acts which are simply low grade (see, for example, s. 12 of the Duties Act 2001 (Q):
  • Get the matrimonial exceptions updated and properly interrelated with the Family Law Act exemptions;
  • Define what a partner’s interest is, especially in the context of Chapter 10, Part 1, taking notice of the High Court case of Commissioner of State Revenue v Rojoda Pty Ltd [2020] HCA 7
  • Advise taxpayers what stance the revenue offices will take as a result of the High Court decision in Vanderstock v Victoria [2023] HCA 30 (18 October 2023
  • Undertake a complete review of the Public Rulings, many of which are wrong and others unclear or out of date;
  • Redraft s. 70 to take away the contortions of language in section 70 (1) (c) for What is a widely held unit trust;
  • Establish an “Ex-gratia Register” and an “Administrative Arrangements Register” (and publish those Registers on the QRO website) so all taxpayers can get the benefit of any exemptions or concessions granted to others; this practice is contrary to the Rule of Law;
  • Publish the legislation program;
  • Publish the Public Rulings program;

… and on and on …

What a joy it would be to see the revenue offices to put these points to a new Standing Committee!

*Palaszczuk resigned on 10 December after this page was written. The new Premier is Steven Miles. But the question remains: will the Miles Labor Government survive the next election? See Queensland has a new premier in Steven Miles, but is it enough to change Labor’s fortunes before the state election?