MESSAGE FROM OUR CEO – 13 April 2018

FEATURE: ‘Mongrel Bunch of Bastards’: It is indeed a long road that has no turning. But the odyssey by Ken Phillips, CEO Small Employers Australia, journalist Robert Gottliebsen, dedicated lawyers, et. al., the Four Corners program has been a turning and major victory for small business, that we trust will not at the end of the day end up a pyrrhic victory. However, in the words of Ken Phillips: “Lots of work to get this far.  More more to be done.”

It is somewhat disappointing that Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia, “believes this happens to a relatively small number of businesses.” For our part, we would disagree with Peter, anecdotal evidence strongly suggests that many more than “a relatively small number of businesses” have been viciously attacked by the ATO. In our judgment, it is typical of small businesses not to telegraph their personal affairs, in particular matters of money, in particular those that concern the ATO, they feel is very embarrassing for them.

That turning has motivated The Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer into immediate action, she “has launched an urgent investigation into the Australian Tax Office . . . Ms O’Dwyer has told the ABC she is deeply concerned by the allegations raised in the investigation.

“I have requested a thorough investigation of all allegations raised and the Government will be responding once it has had the opportunity to consider that investigation in detail,” Ms O’Dwyer said. She told the ABC she wants the investigation to be completed as quickly as possible

Ken Phillips is absolutely correct, there is “More more to be done.” This could prove to be the David and Goliath stoush of the century. Bring it on! The investigation ordered by O’Dwyer will indeed confirm that the ATO is indeed a ‘Mongrel Bunch of Bastards’.

So much so after the inquiries produce, hopefully productive recommendations to fix the bastardy and get off the back of small businesses – the soft target, we trust that will not be a false hope, given that the ATO is the Government’s money collection authority with targets in order to meet the Government’s budget requirement. We can but wonder how much significance Minister O’Dwyer will place on her “urgent investigation

At the end of the day after the dust has settled will anything change and for the ‘Mongrel Bunch of Bastards’ will it be business as usual, screwing small businesses? We trust not.