Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fed: Labor wants probe on alleged tax avoidance linked to Coonan

Fed: Labor wants probe on alleged tax avoidance linked to Coonan

CANBERRA, Dec 3 AAP - Labor today refused to apologise for alleging Assistant TreasurerHelen Coonan breached ministerial guidelines over her husband's waterfront weekender.

Opposition Leader Simon Crean demanded Prime Minister John Howard investigate the matterand make a full report to parliament.

Mr Howard yesterday promised to look into Senator Coonan's property holdings afterLabor questioned the tax liability on a waterfront property owned by her husband, a formerNSW Supreme Court judge.

Labor said Andrew Rogers claimed the property as his principal residence after itsvalue rose sharply in 2001, potentially avoiding a hefty land tax and capital gains taxbill.

Mr Rogers issued a statement last night calling for an apology, which Labor today refusedto give.

Mr Crean said Senator Coonan's statement to the Senate about the matter was totallyunsatisfactory.

"It does not answer key allegations," he told reporters.

"The prime minister now has a responsibility to demand a full statement from SenatorCoonan, and for the prime minister himself to report to the House of Representatives thathe is satisfied that nothing wrong has been done.

"She's the minister for taxation and there are allegations involving tax avoidancewithin family arrangements.

"There are also serious allegations about whether she has witnessed an enrolment formthat may be false."

Mr Crean said he would demand that full answers be given to parliament.

"She's the minister for collecting revenue, she's the one out there saying that peopleshouldn't be avoiding tax, she's the one overseeing arrangements to increase taxationand yet the allegation is that there's involvement in tax avoidance arrangements," hesaid.

AAP sm/tnf/bwl


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