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29 Sep 11 High Court upholds validity of SGC Acts - Roy Morgan

The High Court (French CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel and Bell JJ) has dismissed the taxpayer's appeal from the decision of the Full Federal Court in Roy Morgan Research Pty Ltd v FCT [2010] FCAFC 52 and upheld the validity of the Superannuation Guarantee (Administration) Act 1992 and the Superannuation Guarantee Charge Act 1992.

The High Court dismissed the taxpayer's arguments that the only available head of power to support the legislation was s 51(ii) of the Constitution (the taxation power), and that the superannuation guarantee charge provided for in the legislation was not a tax because it is not imposed for "public purposes", but confers upon employees a "private and direct benefit".

Heydon J said of this argument, at para 67, as follows:

"There is one other difficulty in the [taxpayer's] submissions. They postulate a distinction between characterising legislation as having 'public purposes' and characterising legislation as conferring 'private and direct benefits', as though an instance falling within the second branch of the distinction necessarily prevented it from also falling within the first. That does not follow. In this case the legislative conferral of what the [taxpayer] called 'private and direct benefits' vindicates public purposes."

Roy Morgan Research Pty Ltd v FCT [2011] HCA 35 (High Court; French CJ, Gummow, Hayne, Heydon, Crennan, Kiefel and Bell JJ; 28 September 2011).

In media release No 2011/136, issued 28 September 2011, the Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation, Bill Shorten, commented on the High Court's decision.

 


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