Integrity requires a person not only to stand by a position but also to stand

Integrity requires a person not only to stand by a

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considered to sharpen this analysis of integrity is a social dimension. Integrity requires a person not only ‘to stand by’ a position, but also ‘to stand for’ that position when faced with others whose deliberations may have led them to a different outcome (Calhoun, 1995). When extrapolated to the level of the collective, high integrity involves institutional engagement. But institutions cannot engage: That task must fall to the leadership ranks of the organisation. In the public sector, those with leadership responsibilities demonstrate the integrity of their organisation through communicating to government and the community what they stand for and why it is important. The often-cited public service phrase, ‘to give frank and fearless advice to government’, 3 exemplifies this aspect of integrity. The institution will fall short on integrity when ‘[s]ocial circumstances…erect powerful deterrents to speaking and acting on one’s own best judgment’ and thereby ‘undermine the possibilities for deliberating about what is worth doing’ (Calhoun, 1995, p. 259). Calhoun hastens to add that while integrity involves having a proper regard for one’s own judgment, it should not be conceived as ‘just a matter of sticking to one’s guns’ (p. 259). ‘Arrogance’, ‘bullying’, ‘defensiveness’, ‘incivility’, ‘close- mindedness’, and ‘deafness to criticism’ are not qualities normally associated with integrity. Acknowledging that others ‘must themselves abide by their best judgment seems part of, not exterior to, acting with integrity’ (p. 260). Integrity, therefore, can pull members of the collective in different directions, 4 creating a diversity of positions and tensions when these differences surface. Consequently, integrity does not imply orderliness in thought and action. On the contrary, it is a concept that reflects capacity to navigate through messiness, showing leadership, while allowing diverse opinions to be expressed, frankly and fearlessly, under an umbrella of an overarching shared purpose, derived through deliberation with citizens.
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272 Taxing Democracy When this concept of integrity is applied to a tax system, the question arises as to the level at which the analysis should proceed. Should integrity be applied in a more focused way as to how taxpaying records are compiled and used for high wealth individuals, or to the way in which the law is written in relation to business taxation, or to the enforcement practices used by tax office auditors? An analysis of integrity can be undertaken in any of these domains. For the purposes of this chapter, integrity will be discussed at a broader level with reference to the overarching objectives and principles that govern the operation of the tax office. The purpose of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is ‘to shape and manage systems which support and fund services for Australians, giving effect to social and economic policy’ (Australian Taxation Office, 2000a, p. 2). Associated with this purpose are five guiding principles: (a) to act with integrity; (b) to anticipate, identify and manage issues in real-time; (c) to be open and accountable with each
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  • Fall '16
  • tax authority, Australian Taxation Office, Tax Office, Compliance Model

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