03 Dec 2020
A plan to ban cash payments of $10,000 or more that threatened to split the Liberal Party has been dumped, with the move now “dead, dead and dead”.
In a motion moved by One Nation, the Senate on Thursday officially dumped debate on the proposal that emerged from the government’s own black economy taskforce in 2017 as a way to crack down on organised criminals and those seeking to avoid tax.
Under the proposal, businesses would face jail terms of up to two years and fines of up to $25,200 per offence if they made or accepted cash payments greater than $10,000.
The laws were supposed to start this year but had been delayed in part due to anger within the general Liberal Party membership at the move.
Despite a series of amendments to the proposals, the government faced the prospect of Liberal senators rejecting the legislation in the Upper House.
Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said the government had recognised the impact of the pandemic on the operations of small businesses and the broader economy.
“As we progress through to the recovery stage, we recognise now is not the time to impose an additional burden on small business,” he said.
“The government is implementing a number of measures to tackle serious organised crime, as well as increasing the resources of the serious and organised crime program – a cross-agency program of work comprising the ATO, Commonwealth, state and territory policing, and other law enforcement agencies working to disrupt serious organised crime in Australia.”
One senior Liberal MP said the laws were now “dead, dead and dead”, with no appetite within the government to re-prosecute their introduction.
The black economy taskforce, which made the original recommendation of a $10,000 cash limit, found the restriction would go a long way to preventing the deliberate avoidance of GST and other taxes.
By Shane Wright, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 December 2020
Read more at The Sydney Morning Herald
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