Greens seek to release list of names in PwC tax leak
The Greens have sought to publicly release a list of names of PwC employees allegedly involved in the tax advice scandal.
But the finance committee on Friday decided instead to refer the tabling of the document to Senate Clerk Richard Pye after concerns were raised it could jeopardise an Australian Federal Police investigation.
Greens senator Barbara Pocock sought to table the list during a committee hearing into the Future Fund Management Agency.
"I would ask you to look at a list of names of the parties involved in the PwC recent events, involved in that leak, and I would ask you to look at that list and tell me whether any of these people, were they involved in giving advice to the future fund," she said.
"The Australian public and many entities want to know the names of people who have been giving advice."
Labor senator Louise Pratt urged caution, to "protect the interest of the Australian public".
Liberal senator Richard Colbeck questioned if the list could legally be published.
"There is a legal investigation ongoing and I would be very cautious about doing anything that jeopardises the legal action," he said.
The hearing was suspended while senators debated if they could release the names.
After deliberating, the committee decided to seek further advice from the clerk.
Senator Pocock said she accepted and respected the decision made by the committee, but believed there was a "strong public interest" in naming the employees.
"I believe that the truth and the names of people involved in this event will out," she said.
"And I think that's an important question for the Australian public that they have that knowledge sooner rather than later."
Future Fund officials told senators the body had not received any advice from PwC on multinational tax policy.
This week it was confirmed the AFP has launched an investigation into one former senior manager following a referral by Treasury.
And the finance department has called for the removal of any personnel involved in the incident from government contracts, at least until the internal review has wrapped up.
The firm has agreed to the recommendations and is co-operating with police.
Finance department officials also confirmed they had not asked for the redacted names of the 53 staff involved in the leak, unveiled in a collection of internal PwC emails.
The emails show partners and staff received emails relating to a plan to use Treasury information to help clients dodge tax laws.
Finance department officials said naming the partners could disrupt the criminal investigation launched by the federal police.