Northern Territory

Apr 18, 2018

The NT and the ‘bottom of the harbour’ scheme

In the early 1980s, pressure was building against the Northern Territory as a tax haven and those protecting it.

Bob Gosford — Editor of The Northern Myth

Bob Gosford

Editor of The Northern Myth

In part one of this series we saw that by late 1982 then Western Australian opposition leader Brian Burke proposed to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly that a special task force be established to investigate tax avoidance schemes in Western Australia.

Burke detailed the role that the Darwin Shuffle played in West Australian tax avoidance practices. Noting that 700 Western Australian companies that had been sent to the bottom of the harbour to avoid or evade tax and that prominent Liberal Party members had played a key role in such schemes, Burke referred to “another rort that directly deprived the State of Western Australia of legitimate income to which it was entitled,” noting that the Darwin Shuffle, when “married … to a bottom-of-the-harbour scheme, is part of an operation that is costing Western Australian millions of dollars.”

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