The man who has been running Australia’s largest consumer rights organisation for the last 30 years is facing a criminal investigation over the alleged misuse of taxpayer funds to cover his gambling debts.
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of Australia ruled on Tuesday that the ACT’s laws restricting gambling should be changed to allow people to claim gambling debts as income.
It comes after a series of high-profile court cases which have led to thousands of Australians losing their jobs over gambling debts, including former poker player Andrew “D-Babe” Bevan.
In its ruling, the court said it was concerned about the impact of such a move on the people who would be affected by it.
“This court has been troubled by the fact that gambling debts are treated as income for the purposes of tax laws and other laws,” Justice Kevin O’Connor said in the majority decision.
“While the amount of the gambling debts may not be sufficient to entitle them to an income tax deduction, they are sufficiently significant to warrant an examination of whether the law should be amended to permit gambling debts to be claimed as income.”
Gambling debts are a complex issue and it is unclear how many people are affected by them.
The ACT has a number of laws that apply to gambling debts but no legal definition of gambling debts in the state.
The legislation defines gambling debts for the purpose of tax purposes as any of the following:1.
Any debts incurred by a person in connection with the provision of services or goods, or to acquire property, or for the acquisition of profits, or in connection therewith;2.
Any unpaid debts incurred in connection of the provision or acquisition of services, goods or profits;3.
Any debt incurred in respect of any of a number or classes of debts, but does not include:a.
a debt of any person arising out of a bona fide business relationship, and b. any other debt of the same kind that is not a bona- fide business relation;4.
Any obligation, obligation to pay, or liability to pay any money, money order or similar instrument to a person or persons other than a creditor;5.
Any money, goods, services or property owed by a debtor in respect to a bona fides business relationship;6.
Any amount owed by any person to a creditor for goods or services;7.
Any indebtedness arising out in whole or in part from the commission of a breach of any contract, rule, regulation, condition, warranty or condition;8.
Any credit or debt obligation, including any mortgage or loan;9.
Any interest, charge, or premium or debt due to any person or company or any right of the debtor to claim or to obtain any payment;10.
Any claim to which any debt has been attached as a security for any indebtedness or payment, other than in respect or relating to a credit or other security or to any interest in, charge or premium on, or other consideration for, any debt;11.
Any other claim or right of any party to any debt arising out or relating in whole, in part or in any manner to any other claim of any debtor;12.
Any charge or payment of money or any interest or charge on, on account of, or under the person or any company or other person or group of persons, for the benefit of any creditor, or on account or on behalf of any other person, or any claim or interest to which the person is a party;13.
Any payment, pledge, gift, or promise, or obligation of any debt, or pledge or gift or promise to give, or which is a pledge or promise by a creditor or party to a debtor for payment, payment, or payment to, or a promise by any creditor to any debtor, or an obligation or promise or obligation by a party to an indebted person for payment of a debt or to pledge a debt;14.
Any loan, advance, or loan guarantee;15.
Any advance or loan, guarantee, pledge or pledge of money;16.
Any promissory note;17.
Any lease, agreement, or security for goods;18.
Any bill of lading, or similar document;19.
Any certificate, certificate of title, or certificate of delivery;20.
Any mortgage, lease, security interest or security interest agreement, and any certificate, warrant or affidavit of title or delivery;21.
Any security agreement;23.
Any letter of credit;24.
Any deposit, loan, or promissary note or any other document, or otherwise any document or information, relating to the person’s business or profession;25.
Any transfer of money, credit, securities, notes, notes of deposit, loans, or advances, or interest thereon;26.
Any guarantee of indebtedness, loan or pledge, or of any money or other thing, for a debt, guarantee or pledge;27.
Any contract, term or condition governing the terms or conditions of any obligation,