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MEMBER 46 writes:

“Under cover of media darkness (the period between Xmas and New Year), government quietly announced a proposal to collect vast amounts of data about ALL working Australians.

Refer Media Release from Josh Frydenberg, Sunday 28 December 2014.

Even the bland title of this proposal is deliberately misleading: ‘Single Touch Payroll’.

The proposal claims to be a means to ‘reduce red tape’ for employers.

This is clearly untrue, and is further part of the attempted disguise.

The government bureaucracy wants to use existing regulations and have the ATO gather up details of ALL workers each and every payday.

Every payday, full details of employees commencing or leaving. All names, dates of birth, addresses, Tax File Numbers.

Every payday, Names, Tax File Numbers, earnings, tax amount, superannuation amounts.

Every time any worker is paid, the government wants all the data. Instantly.

Intricate details of the proposal can be found here.

BUT, we should ignore the distractions of payroll and taxation to see that the real agenda is for government to gather and retain huge volumes of data about all working Australians.

Do we trust the government or ATO with all this fine grained data? (NOT metadata)?

The implications for (lack of) privacy are frightening. We should all be horrified.

Will the Tax Institute be able to help ask some searching questions about this proposal?

  • Why is it necessary for the government to track all working Australians every day/week/fortnight?
  • Where is the justification for this intrusion into the lives of ordinary Australians?
  • Is this needed to fight terrorism? (The standard excuse.)
  • IF the intention is truly to reduce ‘red tape’ for business, why is the data-gathering compulsory?
  • Why are these mass surveillance measures being introduced using existing regulations, without the opportunity for any scrutiny or debate in parliament?”

TAX COUNSEL THILINI WICKRAMASURIYA COMMENTS: The ATO’s discussion paper in relation to Single Touch Payroll can be found here. Our submission in relation to this discussion paper takes into account the feedback we have received from members on this initiative and can be found here.


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