17-Dec-98 116 Bowman Parade
Bardon QLD 4065
Ph: (07) 366 2660
Email: Dave Keenan [Address removed]
Web: http://users.bigpond.net.au/d.keenan/CO [URL updated]
Your reference: 4/SBI DBCOL
Contact Officer: Ms E. Webb
Mr Jack Wheeler
Regional Commissioner of Taxation
140 Creek Street
GPO Box 9990
Brisbane QLD 4001
Dear Mr Wheeler,
Thankyou for your (undated) letter, which I received on 17-Dec-98, enclosing a copy of your (undated) letter to the Department of Finance and Administration regarding my request for a waiver of debt. Even small courtesies such as this are greatly appreciated since this is a very stressful matter for me and my family.
I wish to respectfully suggest that it was not necessary for you to preempt the Minister for Finance regarding the possible grounds on which he might grant a waiver. Certainly section 70C subsection (2)(a)(i) of the Audit Act 1901 does not limit the grounds on which the Minister may grant a waiver. The question, from his department, seems to me to be what reasons you, as Regional Commissioner of Taxation might have for supporting (or not supporting) the waiver.
I can think of two reasons why you might support the waiver:
(a) because recovery would be in violation of my right to freedom of conscience under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which forms Schedule 2 of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986. Although this does not form part of domestic law, it ought to be considered in cases like this where domestic law allows discretion. See Mabo v. Queensland (No. 2) (1992) 175 CLR at 42; Dietrich v. R (1992) 177 CLR 292 at 321 (Brennan J). I understand that you have received a letter from the Hon. Arch Bevis MP, in which he vouches for the genuineness of my conscientious objection.
(b) because recovery proceedings are likely to cost several times the amount of the debt and are likely be ultimately unsuccessful, as they were in Robert Burrowes' case.
If you agree that either or both of these are reasons to support a waiver, I ask that you please inform the Department of Finance and Administration of this. If, in the end, the Minister decides that these are not suitable reasons, nothing has been lost. If you do not agree that these are reasons to support a waiver I would be greatly interested in your arguments.
David C Keenan