While tax avoidance by large multi national companies remains a high priority for the Australian Tax Office, one Queensland Senate candidate says there is a far bigger tax avoider living in every suburb and small town in Queensland and that taxpayers want something done about it.
Robin Bristow, the Australian Sex Party lead Senate candidate for Queensland says Queensland’s religious organisations avoid paying taxes on the spurious grounds that they ‘promote religion’.
‘The ATO should change the rules to get rid of this silly caveat, he said. ‘The attention given to corporate tax avoiders is a clever smokescreen which the church hides behind, when in reality the church and church-based businesses avoid millions, if not billions of dollars worth of tax every year’.
Mr Bristow pointed out the fact that not for profit charities have to get their accounts audited every year to show that their money is spent responsibly.
‘The churches don’t have to pay a cent for rates and taxes’, he said. ‘They have been free to buy and sell land, trade shares, own poker machines, wineries, insurance companies, hotels, breakfast cereal companies etc and still pay zero tax all under the meaningless clause in the tax Act that says they ‘promote religion’.
Mr Bristow took aim at Treasurer, Scott Morrison, who is regular worshipper at the Pentecostal Hillsong Church. Hillsong has recently been embroiled in child sex abuse allegations along with many other Australian religious creeds. ‘Hillsong, the Seventh Day Adventists and the Roman Catholics are all allowed to compete on an unlevel playing field with their business empires just because the Treasurer and the government of the day supports the notion that anyone who ‘promotes religion’ is entitled not to pay tax. It’s an incredible rort that 64% of Australians do not support’. *
‘If the Church wants to stick its head up and interfere in secular government the way it does, then it also needs to do what is expected of the rest of us who have this right and pay their taxes!’
Robin Bristow is an award winning architect living in Noosa Qld. He has been involved in LGBTI activism on the Sunshine Coast organising the Noosa Love Parade that protested the visit of PM Tony Abbott and also successfully lobbied Noosa Council to raise the rainbow flag over the Town Hall.