In a classic ‘do as I say, not as I do’ moment, the Deputy Commissioner of Taxation has been summonsed to court for allegedly abusing his position in relation to a massive… wait for it… tax evasion scheme.
Michael Cranston, the deputy commissioner of the Australia Taxation office, has been charged with abusing his position as a public official.
It comes after… Cranston’s son, Adam, was charged over his alleged role in a fraud syndicate that police claim stole more than $165 million — one of the biggest white-collar crimes in Australia’s history.
It’s important to note from the outset that the crimes from all parties (the deputy commissioner, his son, and anyone else implicated) are only alleged at this time and the presumption of innocence must apply equally to all, even the lowest of social scum like ATO employees.
And whilst I consider taxation to be theft, and tax collectors to be stand-over-men for a government run protection racket, I’ll still be watching how these charges proceed with interest and I’ll be hoping the ATO win. (There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write)
There’s conflicting reports over what Michael Cranston did or didn’t know about what was going on, but there does seem to be a consistent theme; that he misused his position to help his son, even if he didn’t know what his son was up to:
The AFP does not believe he [Dep Commissioner Michael Cranston] had any knowledge of the alleged fraud…
…The AFP will allege that
In any case there’s a few things we can already learn from these alleged crimes:
- We’re told that we need government because people can’t be trusted to have full power over their own lives. But government IS people, so government ALSO cannot be trusted, and we certainly can’t trust people to have power over the lives of others.
We are also told that government has checks and balances, and indeed this would seem to be a case of one part of the government (AFP) holding another part (ATO) accountable. This is a valid point in this case, however if there are corrupt people at the top of the ATO, whose to say there aren’t corrupt people at the top of our ‘justice’ department, political parties, and all the other ‘checks and balances’ we’re supposed to rely on to keep us safe from government abuse?
I would argue that action is being taken in this case because the ‘crime’ is against the government itself, and that’s something they won’t stand for. If the crime is against ordinary people, there’s a much better chance they’ll get away with it and the ‘checks and balances’ will take a ‘see no evil’ attitude. (QLD police force which keeps bashing people up, and the court system which keeps acquitting abusive QLD police officers charged with serious crimes committed on camera, I’m looking at you…)
- Nothing is quite so scary as a selfish man with a badge and power. Being given a government job, whether that’s for the police, Centrelink, or the ATO, does nothing to change a persons nature, and in fact is likely to only fuel whatever flaws they may have. If your neighbor is already an ass, imagine what a complete and total jerk-off he’d become if he had power? Why do we assume it will be any different just because the power is government-delegated?
- Treasurer Scott Morrison intended to sound intimidating when he threatened tax evaders with his statement: “We’ll find you, we’ll track you down and we’ll make sure you’re brought to justice.” With just a few small word-changes, this sounds like the kind of thing you’d expect from Don Corleone himself: “We’ll find you, we’ll track you down and we’ll make sure you [pay].”
They’re even using the rhetoric of the mob.
Isn’t it comforting to know the government is looking after you?