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'Absolute devastation': The whistleblower who will 'never work again' after helping tax watchdog

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18.10.2019

Ron Shamir has a lot to be angry about. At a Senate inquiry into the performance of the Inspector General of Taxation, which acts as the watchdog for the Australian Taxation Office, the whistleblower outlined how the system had failed him.

“The result has been absolute devastation… My family and I have been living in poverty and I have been told by experts I will never work again,” he told the Senate committee.

ATO whistleblower Ron Shamir living in poverty.Credit:Eddie Jim

Shamir became a whistleblower after he witnessed misconduct in the ATO relating to business activity statement refunds, which he says were being cancelled, to get around an adverse court ruling.

He informed the IGT, which he said would launch an investigation and gave him undertakings that it would protect him.

As part of its investigation, the IGT issued Shamir with a section 9 notice, which has the power to compel the production of documents. A day after receiving the section 9 notice he was sacked and marched off the premises. “I couldn’t comply with the notice because I had been terminated,” he said.

The ATO has always argued that Shamir’s termination related to his performance and had nothing to do with being a whistleblower. Brad Chapman, a deputy commissioner, told the inquiry Shamir’s termination followed two years of performance counselling.

Whatever the case, the IGT failed to support him. He was left to fight his case in the Fair Work Commission, which he won, then lost under appeal.

My family and I........

© Brisbane Times