Sunday, November 26, 2006

From 1997 until 2005 Graham was the patron of the Australasian Tax Teachers Association. Cynthia Coleman, who invited him to be patron is reported as having said:

“He came to every conference, he gave a fabulous technical talk, and he always said ‘put me up in the cheapest accommodation so I can meet the most people’ - he made himself available to everybody.”

Without any doubt, nearly everyone who heard Justice Hill speak at conferences on issues such as public private infrastructures became interested in tax issues. I first met him in late 1990s at one of the NSW Public Accounts Committee seminars and my interest in taxation was never the same ;-)
His greatest contribution to revenue law was in the area of practising, teaching and deciding revenue issues. Professor Patrick Gallagher had this to say of Graham as an academic:
' In that time, he had created an unannounced reputation as one of Australia's leading tax academics - albeit his academic work was always 'part-time' - in name at least. The quality of his teaching was exceptional and his writings and legal research (which have been fully catalogued recently by Colin Fong), in the form of papers, judgments and public addresses - not to mention the Stamp Duty service he wrote with Bill Cannon and Michael Aitken - were at the cutting edge of practical tax analysis .'

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

WHEN it comes to freedom of speech we are in danger of losing our sense of perspective, as well as our sense of humour. The latest proposal from Attorney-General Philip Ruddock is to ban books that praise terrorism and to censor TV shows like Big Brother. The status quo in Australia is shifting, writes George Williams
THE most depressing aspect of yesterday's landmark High Court decision on the Freedom of Information Act is the virtual how-to guide it includes for ministers of the Crown who want to keep documents secret. In killing off Michael McKinnon's four-year fight to get hold of documents about abuses of the first-home owners' scheme and the government tax revenue from bracket creep, the court backed four of Peter Costello's seven arguments stating their release was not in the public interest. Scrutinising our political masters just got harder

Catch a Fire of Freedom Noyce of Loud Note
conTROVERSY is the lifeblood of a university that is doing its duty. It has long been thus and it is today. Modern societies expect contemporary universities to be working at the frontiers of knowledge, discovering new insights that advance understanding and improve wellbeing. Discovery, whether in the biosciences or nuclear physics or other fields, raises questions that challenge orthodoxy within the disciplines and also in the wider community. Complex matters give rise to competing views and values. Restricting academic freedom

THE John Howard–Peter Costello leadership rivalry is moving towards a denouement of sorts. While the outcome is unpredictable, it is worth posing a question that goes beyond the standard political calculations over which man will ultimately prevail. Is there a point when a government’s longevity ceases to be compatible with the best democratic interests of the nation and, if so, are we approaching that time with the Coalition government, no matter whether led by Howard or Costello?

The longer a government remains in power, the less it is willing to be accountable ; Why property investors love the tax man
• · Nicholas Gruen Improving capital taxation in Australia; Roy Davies, a librarian at University of Exeter, United Kingdom, has put together an impressive collection of links relating to financial scandals Scandals of Real Note ; Trust in business is falling, industry chief warns
• · · Legislative anarchy ; Court ruling says the days of tax exiles are numbered
• · · · Before the moratorium on income trusts was announced recently, they were costing Canada's treasury about $500 million a year, on target to reach $800 million or more - much more. No corresponding figure is available for the taxes Canadian firms and wealthy individuals are not paying Ottawa by parking their money in offshore tax havens. But the numbers are big, billions big. Overseas havens favour the wealthy ; Billionaire Roman Abramovich owns a large amount of property in London Londoners complain that it is expensive, dirty and over-crowded - but not everybody agrees. The capital, which is home to 7.4 million people, is also home to 23 of the world's richest people. With this tally, London was named yesterday as the 'unchallenged magnet' for the world's billionaires. No other city holds such a captivating power over people who have enough money to live in a palace anywhere that they choose. Research shows London is now home to the world's super rich