Responding to the revelations of the Panama Papers today Oxfam Australia Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said:
“The Panama Papers lay bare the murky underside of a system that allows big business and the super rich to hide billions that they should be paying in tax.
“Australians and people around the world should not have to depend on leaks like this to reveal a secret world of tax evasion and tax avoidance.
“Shockingly, it has taken the work of 300 journalists trawling through millions of leaked records to reveal this information today. Australia and other governments must act right now to make tax information public, instead of allowing tax havens and those that use them to continue operating in secrecy. All it takes is the political will.
“Globally, well over US $100 billion is ripped out of poor countries due to tax avoidance and evasion every single year. This is shameful when 400 million of the poorest people don’t even have access to basic healthcare.
“At home, we know that 3 out of 5 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange were found to have subsidiaries in tax havens in 2014. Since then, new data from the ATO has revealed large-scale tax minimisation by some of the same companies.
“Tax avoidance is a local problem, as well as a global one – and the Australian Government must act now.
“While ordinary Australians are being told as a nation we must “live within our means”, tax avoidance by multinationals and the super rich is drastically reducing these means, shrinking the pool of money that should be spent on essential services like health and education.
“In this election year, we’re calling on all parties to adopt a policy on tax transparency to stop the use of tax havens and ensure that companies disclose their profits and taxes publicly, for every country in which they operate.”
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