26 March 1991 David C. Keenan
116 Bowman Pde
Bardon QLD 4065
Ph: (07) 366 2660
Deputy Commissioner of Taxation
GPO Box 9825
Brisbane QLD 4001
Re: Tax File Number 484 547 746
I acknowledge receipt of my income tax assessment notice (after PTV) dated 4 March 1991 showing an amount payable of $4149.24.
Please find enclosed a cheque for $879.20 payable to the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation and a photocopy of a cheque for $97.69 payable to the Peace and Development Foundation Incorporated. I do not consider that I owe the remaining amount of $3172.35 since this consists of $3000.00 which was paid last year to The Peace and Development Foundation Inc., and $172.35 of spurious interest.
As explained in my letter of 31 March 1990 I have a long and deeply held conscientious objection to war and the preparation for war. As was clearly shown in the recent Gulf War, war today relies more on machines than men for its death and destruction. These machines are paid for by taxpayer's money, so it is not enough for a conscientious objector today to refuse the use of his or her body, but a conscientious objector must also refuse the use of his or her money in war and the preparation for war.
Every year, as you are no doubt aware, approximately 10% of the Australian government's budget is allocated for military purposes (It has also been argued that a much higher proportion is spent indirectly for military purposes). Therefore the payments to the Peace & Development Foundation Inc. represent that part of my total tax which would otherwise have been spent against the dictates of my conscience.
It can no longer even be argued that this money pays only for the defence of Australia, since Australian military men and machines took part in the recent Gulf War. Even if this were the case, I would insist that my money be spent only on research into nonviolent defence. This is one of the aims of the Peace & Development Foundation Inc.
I have always had a conscientious objection to paying tax for military purposes. However 1990 was the first opportunity I had to redirect my tax since I began paying tax, since it was previously outside my control due to P.A.Y.E deductions. In 1990 I estimated my total tax assessments since I began paying tax (which I believe was 1976) to be approximately $30,000. I also asked that the tax office provide me with an official statement of my total tax assessments. I have not received such a statement, so I must continue to base my calculations on the above estimate. I hereby repeat my request for an official statement of my total tax assessments.
The government is aware of the position of people such as myself since Senator Norm Sanders presented a petition to the Senate on 25 March 1987, containing more than three thousand signatures calling on the Australian Government to introduce a Peace Tax Fund. On 15 July 1989, Senator Jo Vallentine presented a Peace Trust Fund Bill to the Senate.
I wish to emphasise that I am willing to pay my tax assessment in full to the Australian Taxation Office when I am assured that my taxes will not be used for military purposes. In the meantime, I will continue to redirect 10% of my taxes to the Peace and Development Foundation Inc. or other such body whenever possible.
I wish to express my understanding and concern for your position and your duty to administer tax law. I am sorry if I make your life more difficult but we are all forced to make moral decisions sooner or later. The Nuremburg trials established that your duties as an officer of the state do not absolve you from moral choices.
You may not agree with my beliefs that it is always wrong to take human life and therefore it is wrong to pay for the preparation for such killing, but I hope that you at least recognise my right (a) to hold such beliefs and (b) not to be forced to act contrary to those beliefs.
I would be happy to discuss the above issues with any tax officer either officially or personally. I may be contacted on the above number.
David C. Keenan