By Professor Miranda Stewart, Director of Studies, International Tax and Tax.
Dr Michael Andrew AO (LLB ’78) was a ground-breaking leader in taxation law, both in business and in service to the public.
The Law School remembers Dr Michael Andrew AO, who was an alumnus of the University of Melbourne, completing a Bachelor of Commerce (1977) and Bachelor of Laws (1978). Michael qualified as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria and was a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Michael was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce from the University of Melbourne Faculty of Business and Economics in 2014 for his services to the tax and accounting profession, including his role as the first (and so far only) Australian to lead a large global advisory firm, as chairman of KPMG International (2011-2014). Previously, Michael had led the KPMG tax practice and had been Asia-Pacific chairman.
Michael contributed tremendously to tax law and policy reform during his career at KPMG and after he retired, especially through his appointment in 2015 as Chair of the Board of Taxation of the Australian Treasury. The Board was established as a non-statutory advisory body to the Treasury to improve the design and operation of taxation laws, and Michael worked hard to deliver detailed, practical reviews and analysis of many complex areas of the business tax law.
Michael was strongly committed to leadership and action in not-for-profit and community organisations. He was also a leading advocate of transparency, integrity and a level playing field for all business and taxpayers. This was reflected in his role as Chair of the Australian B20 Working Group on Anti-Corruption and Transparency and its Global CEO Forum, and as a member of the Business Council of Australia and the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum.
In 2017, Michael was appointed by the then Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer to lead the Black Economy Taskforce, which grew out of work undertaken by the Board of Taxation on the shadow economy.
Many of the Taskforce’s recommendations have led to law reforms currently occurring across fields of employment and contractor law, phoenix corporations and tax. These changes have implications in areas as diverse as labour hire organisations, tobacco smuggling, identity fraud, cracking down on cash payments to tradespeople and casual staff, reforming the ABN business identification system, and stopping corporate malfeasance.
In his leadership of the Taskforce, Michael envisioned an Australia using digital payment systems, phasing out cash, and protecting consumer and business identities. He engaged widely, speaking on talkback radio, consulting with large and small business and professionals in tax law, regulation and accounting.
Michael’s engagement also extended to the classrooms here at MLS. In May this year, Michael presented a public lecture titled ‘Law Reform for the Cash Economy: What is needed and how will things change?’, joined by a panel of MLS staff – Professor John Howe, Professor Helen Anderson and myself. Even more recently, Michael gave a guest talk about his ground-breaking work with the Taskforce for the MLS Masters subject Tax in Practice, led by Jennifer Batrouney QC, only days before he passed.
Michael was always charming, practical and committed to fair and effective rules to support Australia’s economy and society. He will be missed.
This article originally appeared in MLS News, Issue 22, November 2019