The Senate has just voted in favour of a Greens motion to launch an inquiry into corporate tax evasion, in the lead-up to the G20 summit.
"On the same day that Labor has facilitated some of Joe Hockey's cruel budget cuts, the Greens have launched an inquiry to end the age of entitlement for the big end of town," said Greens Leader Christine Milne.
"Instead of pulling safety nets out from under people in our community who most need support, the Abbott government should look for ways to raise revenue from those who can afford to pay.
"The Greens will not soften our opposition to Tony Abbott's cruel budget, but we will find ways to fund a caring Australia.
"The Abbott government could afford to look after families, the elderly, the sick and the unemployed, if they weren't so busy protecting their mates at the big end of town," said Senator Milne.
The inquiry was opposed by the Abbott government.
The terms of reference are as follows:
Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Milne): I move-That the following matter be referred to the Economics References Committee for inquiry and report by the first sitting day of June 2015:
Tax avoidance and aggressive minimisation by corporations registered in Australia and multinational corporations operating in Australia, with specific reference to:
(a) the adequacy of Australia‘s current laws;
(b) any need for greater transparency to deter tax avoidance and provide assurance that all companies are complying fully with Australia‘s tax laws;
(c) The broader economic impacts of this behaviour, beyond the direct effect on government revenue;
(d) the opportunities to collaborate internationally and/or act unilaterally to address the problem;
(e) the performance and capability of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to investigate and launch litigation, in the wake of drastic budget cuts to staffing numbers;
(f) the role and performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in working with corporations and supporting the ATO to protect public revenue;
(g) any relevant recommendations or issues arising from the Government‘s White Paper process on the ‘Reform of Australia‘s Tax System‘; and
(h) any other related matters.