CANBERRA -- Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has denied he is dodging tax by investing in a Caribbean tax haven.
Labor frontbencher Sam Dastyari has used parliamentary privilege to claim that the millionaire prime minister has investment funds registered at a renowned tax minimisation establishment, Ugland House in Cayman Islands.
“In this house, nearly 19,000, that is right: 19,000 corporations claim to be headquartered,” Dastyari told the Senate.
He said in 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama referred to Ugland House as either “the largest building in the world or the largest tax scam in the world.”
"There is one reason people invest in the Cayman Islands, so they don't have to play by the same rules as the rest of us,” Dastyari said.
"This isn't fair and it's not right."
Other Opposition frontbenchers Chris Bowen and Tony Burke further pursued the matter in question time, pointing out that the Tax Commissioner refers to Cayman Islands as a tax haven.
But, Turnbull has declared all of his investments were approved when he became a Minister.
"In order to avoid conflicts of interest, almost all of my and my wife’s investments – and they are all disclosed - are in overseas-managed funds," Turnbull told Parliament.
“I, and Lucy, have no say in which companies, single named companies, the managed funds invest."
Turnbull said he is not dodging paying tax in Australia.
“All of my and Lucy’s income from investments, including funds registered in the Cayman Islands is taxed in full in Australia,” he said.
Senator Dastyari agrees the Prime Minister’s overseas investments are “legal and disclosed”, but he believes they are inappropriate.
“For two years, I have asked: why is it that this Senate cannot pass legislation to improve tax transparency?” he said.
“Why is it that we cannot crack down on multinational profit shifting?”
“So I say to you and I say to this chamber: every time the Liberal Party votes against tax transparency, just remember that there is a house in the Cayman Islands, a house where Malcolm's money resides.”