Australia Peace Tax Fund Act 1989

89/166346

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

THE SENATE

(SENATOR VALLENTINE)

A BILL for

An Act to establish a Peace Trust Fund and for purposes related thereto

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen, and the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Australia, as follows:

PART 1 - PRELIMINARY

Short title

1. This Act may be cited as the Peace Trust Fund Act 1989.

Commencement

2. This Act shall come into operation on the day on which it receives the Royal Assent.

Interpretation

3.

  1. In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:
    • the Board means the Board of Trustees of the Peace Trust Fund established by this Act; Commissioner means the Commissioner of Taxation;
    • National Consultative Committee on Peace and Disarmament means the committee of that name appointed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade;
    • Peace Trust Fund means the Peace Trust Fund established by subsection 10 (1);
    • register means the Register of Conscientious Objectors to the Paying of Taxes for Military Purposes kept in pursuance of subsection 6 (1);
    • registered conscientious objector means a person whose name is entered in the register as a person who objects, by reason of a commitment to pacifism arising out of his or her religious, moral, or ethical beliefs, to paying taxes that are to be, or may be, used for military purposes.
  2. In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears, and subject to subsection (3), the following expressions have the same respective meanings as they have in the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 :
    • assessment
    • return of income
    • tax
    • taxable income
    • year of income
  3. A reference in this Act to tax does not include a reference to additional tax payable under Part VII of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936.

Extension to External Territories

4. This Act extends to all external Territories.

PART II - REGISTER OF CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS

Conscientious Objectors

5.

  1. A natural person who objects, by reason of his or her commitment to pacifism arising out of his or her religious, moral or ethical beliefs, to paying taxes that are to be, or may be, used for military purposes, may apply to the Commissioner to be registered as a conscientious objector.
  2. An application shall be made in the form of a statutory declaration prescribed for this purpose affirming that the declarant is a conscientious objector and such declaration shall accompany the return of income.
  3. A declaration under subsection (22 shall also be used for requests under section 8.

Register of Conscientious Objectors

6.

  1. The Commissioner shall keep a register, to be called the Register of Conscientious Objectors to the Paying of Taxes for Military Purposes, in such form as the Treasurer determines, of persons who have duly made application under subsection S.
    1. enter particulars of the person in the register kept under subsection (1);
    2. notify the applicant, in writing, that he or she has been so registered; and
    3. furnish to the person the identity number allocated to the entry of the person on the register.
  2. The Commissioner shall, on receipt of an application by a natural person under section 4 and, on being satisfied that it was duly made, register the person as a conscientious objector to the payment of taxes that are to be, or may be, used for military purposes.
  3. Where the Commissioner registers a person under subsection (2), the Commissioner shall:
    1. enter particulars of the person in the register kept under subsection (1);
    2. notify the applicant, in writing, that he or she has been so registered; and
    3. furnish to the person the identity number allocated to the entry of the person on the register.
  4. The Commissioner shall keep an index of the entries in the register.

Removal of Name from Register

7. The Commissioner shall remove the name of a person from the register if the Commissioner is satisfied that:

  1. The person has requested the Commissioner that his or her name be so removed; or
  2. The person has a physical or mental incapacity which nullifies his or her judgement in relation to conscientious objection to paying taxes that are to be or may be, used for military purposes, or
  3. The person has died.

PART III - PEACE TRUST FUND

Allocation of Taxes for peaceful purposes

8.

  1. A registered conscientious objector may, in a return of income in respect of a year of income or a part of a year of income, furnished by him or her, or on his or her behalf, to the Commissioner, request that 10% of the tax payable by him or her in respect of his or her taxable income for that year, or for that part of that year, be paid into the Peace Trust Fund.
  2. Subsection (1) does not apply to a return of income made by a registered conscientious objector as trustee in respect of trust property.

Payments of part of tax into Peace Trust Fund

9.

  1. Where:
    1. a request has been made under section 5 by a person who is a registered conscientious objector in a return of income furnished by or on behalf of the person;
    2. the Commissioner has assessed the tax payable by the person on the taxable income of the person for the period to which the return relates; and
    3. the amount of that tax, or an amount on account of that tax, is paid to the Commonwealth;

      There shall be paid into the Peace Trust Fund, out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, by an Appropriation Act, an amount equal to 10% of the amount so paid.

  2. Where, by reason of an amendment of an assessment, (in this subsection called the original assessment) of a person's tax to which subsection (1) applies, the person's liability to tax is increased or reduced:
    1. subsection (1) applies to the amended assessment and shall be deemed not to apply, and not to have applied, to the original assessment;
    2. any amounts paid to the Commonwealth before the issue of the amended assessment, as, or on account of, tax assessed by the original assessment shall be deemed to have been paid to the Commonwealth on account of tax assessed by the amended assessment;
    3. any amount paid into the Peace Trust Fund, before the issue of the amended assessment, in respect of an amount to which paragraph (b) applies, shall be deemed to have been so paid in respect of an equal amount paid on account of tax assessed by the amended assessment; and
    4. if the amount, or sum of the amounts, so paid to the Commonwealth before the issue of the amended assessment exceeds the amount of tax assessed by the amended assessment:
      1. an amount equal to the whole of the excess shall be refunded to the taxpayer under section 172 of the Income tax and Assessment Act 1936 ; and
      2. an amount equal to 10% of that refund is payable to the Commonwealth out of the Peace Trust Fund.
  3. Amounts payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund into the Peace Trust Fund under this section are payable out of moneys appropriated by the Parliament for the purpose.
  4. Where a person is, in an assessment of tax payable by the person, given credit for:
    1. amounts deducted under Division 2 of Part VI of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 in respect of the person;
    2. amounts paid as provisional tax or provisional tax and contribution in accordance with Division 3 of Part VI of that Act in respect of the person;
    3. amounts paid in respect of the person under Division 3A, 3B, 4, 5 or 6 of that Act; the person shall, for the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, be taken to have paid, on the date on which the assessment is issued, on account of the tax so assessed, an amount equal to the amount for which credit was so given.

Establishment of Peace Trust Fund

10.

  1. An account by the name of the Peace Trust Fund is established by this subsection.
  2. The Peace Trust Fund is a Trust Account for the purposes of section 62A of the Audit Act 1901.
  3. The Board is a a Public Authority for the purposes of Division 3 of Part XI of the Audit Act 1901,
  4. All the provisions of the Audit Act 1901 relating to the collection and receipt of moneys and the audit of the Public Accounts and the powers and duties of the Auditor-General with respect to the expenditure of public moneys and the duties and liabilities of accounting officers and other persons whomsoever shall in like manner apply to moneys collected, received or expended on account of the Fund.
  5. The Board shall, in each report prepared pursuant to section 63M of the Audit Act 1901 (as that section applies by virtue of subsection (4)
    1. include an assessment of the extent to which its operations during the financial year to which the report relates have:
      1. achieved its objectives as stated in the relevant strategic plan; and
      2. implemented the operational plan applicable to that financial year.

Board and Peace Trust Fund exempt from taxation

11.

  1. The income, property and transactions of the Board and the Peace Trust Fund are not subject to taxation (including taxation under the Debits Tax Act 1982 ) under the laws of the Commonwealth (other than laws relating to sales tax) or of a State or Territory.
  2. The transactions of the Board in respect of goods for use (whether as goods or in some other form), and not for sale by the Board are not subject to the laws of the Commonwealth relating to sales tax.

Other Payments into the Peace Trust Fund

12. In addition to the moneys payable into the Peace Trust Fund under section 5, there shall be paid into that Fund:

  1. amounts received by the Board of Trustees:
    1. from the sale of any property paid for with money from the Peace Trust Fund;
    2. from the sale of property produced, or from dealing in patents in respect of inventions made, in the course of research and development projects funded, in whole or in part, by moneys from the Peace Trust Fund; and
    3. in respect of any work paid for with money from the Peace Trust Fund; and
  2. amounts received by the Board of Trustees as interest from the investment of moneys standing to the credit of the Peace Trust Fund; and
  3. amounts received as borrowings from the Commonwealth under section 13.

Borrowing from the Commonwealth

13.

  1. The Minister for Finance may, on behalf of the Commonwealth, out of money appropriated by the Parliament for the purpose, lend money to the Board at such rates of interest and on such other terms and conditions as that Minister determines.
  2. The Board shall not borrow money except in accordance with subsection (1).
  3. The Board may give security over the whole or part of its assets for the repayment of amounts borrowed under subsection (1) and the payment of interest on amounts so borrowed.

Payments out of Peace Trust Fund

14. Subject to section 15, amounts standing to the credit of the Peace Trust Fund shall be applied only:

  1. in payment or discharge of the expenses, charges, obligations and liabilities incurred or undertaken by the Board in the performance of its functions and the exercise of its powers;
  2. as proper remuneration and allowances for members of the Board of Trustees, and
  3. in payment of expenses incurred by the Board of Trustees in the management of the investment of moneys standing to the credit of the Peace Trust Fund.

Contracts

15. The Board shall not, except with the written approval of the Minister:

  1. enter into a contract involving the payment or receipt by the Board of an amount exceeding $500,000; or
  2. enter into a lease of land for a period of 10 years or more.

Investment of Money

16.

  1. The money of the Peace Trust Fund not immediately required for the purposes of the Board may be invested :
    1. on deposit with an approved bank;
    2. in Commonwealth securities;
    3. or in any other manner approved by the Treasurer.
  2. In subsection (1), approved bank means a trading bank as defined in subsection 5(1) of the Banking Act 1959 or another bank approved by the Treasurer or a person authorised by the Treasurer to give approvals under section 63E of the Audit Act 1901.

PART IV - BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF PEACE TRUST FUND

17.

  1. The Minister shall establish a Board of Trustees of the Peace Trust Fund.
  2. The Board:
    1. is a body corporate with perpetual succession;
    2. shall have a seal;
    3. has power to acquire, hold and dispose of real and personal property; and
    4. may sue and be sued in its corporate name.
  3. All courts, judges and persons acting judicially shall take judicial notice of the seal of the Board affixed to a document and shall presume that it was duly affixed.

Functions of Board

18.

  1. The functions of the Board are:
    1. to enhance the independence and security of Australia by non-violent and non-military means.
    2. to support work for the enhancement of international law, international institutions and bilateral cooperation.
    3. to assist nations in the Australian region to develop technologies appropriate to their national development.
    4. to support research into the non-violent resolution of conflict, training in mediation and conflict resolution skills and their practice at international, national and local levels.
    5. to support peace research in Australian universities.
    6. to support peace education in Australian educational institutions.
    7. to support research and development involving the conversion of industrial production from military to non-military uses.
    8. to support the development of communication and regional cooperation amongst the nations in the Australian region.
    9. such other purposes as may be approved.
  2. The functions of the Board may be performed within or outside Australia.
  3. The Board may perform its functions to the extent only that they are not in excess of the functions that may be conferred on it by virtue of any of the legislative powers of the Parliament, and, in particular, may perform its functions:
    1. by way of expenditure of money that is available for the purposes of the Board in accordance with an appropriation made by the Parliament;
    2. for purposes related to the collection of statistics;
    3. for purposes related to external affairs; and
    4. for purposes in relation to a Territory.

Powers of Board

19. Subject to this Act, the Board has power to do all things that are necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of its functions and, in particular, has power:

  1. to enter into contracts;
  2. to erect buildings;
  3. to occupy, use and control any land or building owned or held under lease by the Commonwealth of Australia and made available for the purposes of the Board;
  4. to acquire, hold and dispose of real or personal property;
  5. to accept gifts, devises and bequests made to the Board,whether on trust or otherwise, and to act as trustee of moneys or other property vested in the Board upon trust;
  6. to make grants or loans of money, and to provide scholarships or other benefits, on such conditions as it thinks fit; and
  7. to do anything incidental to its powers.

Membership of Board

20.

  1. The Board shall comprise the following members:
    1. 5 persons appointed after consultation between the Minister and the National Consultative Committee on Peace and Disarmament; or if that committee has been disbanded, between the Minister and organisations or groups representative of the Australian Peace Movement; and
    2. 4 nominees of the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  2. The Board Members shall be appointed by the Minister on a part-time basis.
  3. The Minister shall appoint a Board member to be the Board Chairperson for the period of 12 months commencing on the day of the appointment.
  4. The performance of the functions, or the exercise of the powers, of the Board is not affected merely because of a vacancy or vacancies in the membership of the Board.
  5. The appointment of a member is not invalid because of a defect or irregularity in connection with the member's appointment.
  6. A member holds office on such terms and conditions (if any), in respect of matters not provided for by this Act, as are determined in writing by the Minister.

Term of Office

21.

  1. Subject to this Act, a member of the Board shall hold office for such period, being not less than 1 year nor more than 4 years, as the Minister specifies in the instrument of his appointment, but is eligible for reappointment.
  2. A member of the Board shall not hold office as a member of that Board for a continuous period exceeding 6 years.
  3. A member of the Board who has held office as a member for a continuous period of 6 years is not eligible for reappointment for a term of office commencing within 2 years after the expiration of that period.
  4. For the purposes of the application of subsection (3) in relation to the eligibility of a person for appointment or reappointment as the Chairperson of the Board, any period of service by that person as a member of the Board otherwise than as Chairperson shall be disregarded.

Leave of absence

22.

  1. The Minister may grant leave of absence to the Chairperson on such terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise as the Minister considers appropriate.
  2. The Chairperson may grant leave of absence to another member on such terms and conditions as to remuneration or otherwise as the Chairperson considers appropriate.

Resignation

23. A member of the Board may resign his or her office by writing signed by him or her and delivered to the Minister.

Disclosure of Interests

24.

  1. A member who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in a matter being considered by the Board shall, as soon as possible after the relevant facts have come to the member's knowledge, disclose the nature of the interest at a meeting of the Board.
  2. A disclosure under subsection (1) shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting of the Board and the member shall not, unless the Minister or the Board otherwise determines:
    1. be present during any deliberation of the Board with respect to that matter; or
    2. take any part in any decision of the Board with respect to that matter.
  3. For the purposes of the making of a determination by the Board under subsection (2) in relation to a member who has made a disclosure under subsection (1), a member who has a direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the matter to which the disclosure relates shall not:
    1. be present during any deliberation of the Board for the purposes of making the determination; or
    2. take part in the making by the Board of the determination.

Termination of Office

25. The Minister may remove a member of the Board from office for misbehaviour or physical or mental incapacity or if he is absent without leave of tile Board from 3 consecutive meetings of the Board.

Meetings

26.

  1. The Board shall hold such meetings as are necessary for the efficient performance of its functions, but so that an interval of longer than 3 months does not occur between any 2 consecutive meetings.
  2. The Chairperson:
    1. may, at any time, convene a meeting of the Board; and
    2. shall, on receipt of a written request signed by not less than 3 other members, convene a meeting of the Board.
  3. The Minister may, at any time, convene a meeting of the Board.
  4. At a meeting of the Board a quorum is constituted by a majority of the members of the Board for the time being holding office.
  5. The Chairperson of the Board shall. preside at all meetings of the Board at which he or she is present.
  6. Subject to this Act, the person presiding at a meeting may give directions regarding the procedure to be followed at or in connection with that meeting.
  7. If the Chairperson of the Board is not present at a meeting of the Board, the members present shall elect one of their number to preside at the meeting.
  8. Questions arising at a meeting of the Board shall be determined by a majority of the votes of the members present and voting.
  9. The person presiding at a meeting of the Board has a deliberative vote and, in the event of an equality of votes, also has a casting vote.
  10. In relation to a time when a person is acting as Chairperson of the Board, references in this section shall be read as references to that person.
  11. Where a majority of the members (being a majority of the members that includes the Chairperson) sign a document containing a statement that they are in favour of a resolution in terms set out in the document, a resolution in those terms shall be taken to have been passed at a duly constituted Board meeting held on the day on which the document was signed or, if the members sign the document on different days, on the last of those days.
  12. For the purposes of subsection (11), 2 or more separate documents containing statements in identical terms each of which is signed by one or more members shall together be taken to constitute one document containing a statement in those terms signed by those members on the respective days on which they signed the separate documents.
  13. A member shall not sign, under subsection (11) a document containing a statement in favour of a resolution if the resolution is in respect of a matter in which the member has a direct or :indirect pecuniary interest.
  14. The Board shall keep records of its meetings and records of resolutions taken to have been passed in accordance with subsection (11).
  15. The Board may invite a person to attend a meeting of the Board for the purpose of advising or informing the Board on any matter.

Committee

27.

  1. The Board may establish such committees as it thinks fit, and a committee shall assist the Board as directed by the Board.
  2. A committee shall be constituted wholly by members of the Board or partly by members of the Board and partly by other persons.
  3. Where a committee is constituted partly by members of the Board and partly by other persons, the Chairperson of the committee shall be a person who is a member of the Board.
  4. The number of members of a committee required to constitute a quorum at a meeting of that committee shall be as specified by the Board.
  5. A member of a committee who is not also a member, or an employee of the Board, shall be paid such remuneration and allowances (if any) as the Board determines.
  6. The office of member of a committee is not a public office within the meaning of the Remuneration Tribunals Act 1973.
  7. Section 21 applies to a member of a committee as if:
    1. a reference in that section to a member were a reference to the committee;
    2. a reference in that section to a member were a reference to the member of that committee; and
    3. a reference in that section to the Minister were a reference to the Board.

PART V - STRATEGIC PLANS AND OPERATIONAL PLANS

Strategic plans

28.

  1. The Board shall develop, and prepare in writing, for each successive period determined in accordance with subsection (2), a strategic plan setting out the manner in which it is proposed that its functions will be performed during that period.
  2. The first strategic plan prepared in accordance with this section shall be expressed to relate to a period of 4 years commencing on a day occurring within 12 months after the commencement of this Act, and each subsequent strategic plan shall be expressed to relate to the period of 4 years commencing at the end of the period to which the immediately preceding strategic plan relates.
  3. Each strategic plan prepared in accordance with this section shall be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House.

Variation of strategic plans

29.

  1. The Board shall, from time to time, during the period in respect of which a strategic plan prepared in accordance with section 23 is in force, consider whether a variation of the strategic plan is necessary.
  2. Where the Board considers that a variation of a strategic plan is necessary, the Board may vary the strategic plan.
  3. Where a strategic plan has been varied, a copy of the strategic plan so varied shall be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House.

Annual Operational Plan

30.

  1. The Board shall develop, and prepare in writing, in respect of each financial year ending after the commencement of this Act, an operational plan, setting out particulars of:
    1. the programs the Board proposes to carry out; and
    2. the resources the Board proposes to allocate to each such program; during that year in giving effect to the strategic. plan that relates, or the intended strategic plan that will relate, to a period that includes that year or part of that year.
  2. If the Minister is of the opinion that an operational plan in relation to a financial year is inconsistent with the strategic plan relates. to the period that includes that year or a part of that year, the Minister may, in writing, request the Board to revise the operational plan.
  3. The Board may, at any time, revise an operational plan, and shall revise the plan if the Minister requests it under subsection (2) to do so and give reasons for the request.

Annual Reports

31.

  1. The Board shall, as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year, prepare and give to the Minister a report on the activities of the Board during that year.
  2. The Minister shall cause a copy of a report given under subsection (1) to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House and after the day on which the Minister receives the report.

Regulation

32. The Governor-General may make regulations, not inconsistent with this Act, prescribing matters:

  1. required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed; or
  2. necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act; and, in particular, may make regulations
  3. prohibiting or regulating the use of any emblem, logo, design, mark, symbol or name that is associated with the Board; and
  4. prescribing penalties not exceeding a fine of $500 for offenses against the regulations.