The ATO can seize money out of a taxpayer’s bank account without their knowledge or permission. When funds are removed in this way, it is permanent and cannot simply be reversed if the ATO gets it wrong.
I worked for the ATO from 2005 until my employment was terminated in May 2018.
In June 2017, I witnessed ATO staff being pressured to use aggressive debt collection practices without any notice or consideration of people’s circumstances.
For small and family businesses, this can be catastrophic. Having worked for the ATO for so long, I knew this had the potential to cause everyday people unimaginable stress, destroy lives and break up families. I believe that Australian taxpayers have a right to be treated fairly.
I raised my concerns internally under whistleblower protections in the Commonwealth Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013. Concerningly, the ATO dismissed my official disclosure. Eventually the ATO offered me a payout in exchange for staying quiet. I refused to let them buy my silence.
In April 2018, I went public on ABC’s Four Corners episode “Mongrel Bunch of Bastards” exposing the ATO’s unfair and abusive practices. One week before the exposé aired on TV, my home was raided by the Australian Federal Police.
The ATO can raid your home or business without a warrant. It can compel you to answer questions and treat you as guilty until proven innocent. With its extensive powers, Australians need to trust that the ATO acts fairly, ethically and with due process.
My request for support
This is the first major test case for whistleblower protection laws for federal public servants and could be a very important case setting legal precedent.
Since 2018, my wife Louise, a violin teacher and performer, has been supporting both of us. We aren’t famous, rich or powerful, we are just ordinary people fighting for what we believe is right.
The ATO and Australian Government have significant resources at their disposal. I am asking for your support to access expert legal representation to level the playing field.
In the US, people use GoFundMe to crowdfund medical bills because they have a health system unfit for democracy; in Australia, we use GoFundMe because we have a system of civil liberties unfit for democracy.
I would be very grateful if you made a contribution within your capacity to help fund my legal battle against the ATO.
We sincerely thank everyone for their ongoing and overwhelming support.
Note: As of Friday, 13 September 2019 I have engaged solicitor Sarah Grimwade to act on my behalf, and instructed her to form a legal team for my defence, including barrister Steven Millstead QC. More details will be provided in updates to this campaign.
- Christa Momot
- Catherine Mettam
Organizer and beneficiary
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