Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has rejected suggestions the government is to blame for Amazon’s decision to block Australians.
Last week, Amazon announced it would no longer ship to Australian addresses after 1 July.
In making the announcement, Amazon stated: “While we regret any inconvenience this may cause customers, we have had to assess the workability of the legislation as a global business with multiple international sites.”
In a media blitz on Friday, Morrison said the government was “not going to be bullied by Amazon because they don’t want to pay tax”.
“Why should a large multinational company, the second-largest in the world, in the case of Amazon, owned by the world's richest person, not pay GST on what they sell in Australia?” he said.
“Now, I regret that Amazon has taken the decision that they want to try and force customers onto their Australian platform but that’s what it is. They can make that commercial decision.”
Speaking at a press conference in Sydney, Morrison said Amazon had more than two years to adjust its systems to collect the GST.
“I find it hard to believe that one of the world's most technologically advanced companies in the space of more than two-and-a-half years now say they are unable to work out a technological solution when it comes to the simple application of a sales tax on their products sold in Australia.
“They face different VAT rates and sales tax rates all around the world in the UK and Canada -- and they seem to be able to manage that.
“But in this case, they say they can't manage it. Well, I’ve got a simple message. If you are selling things in Australia, it is subject to tax. You don't get a special deal because you are a big company or a multinational.
“This is a dummy spit.”
The Treasurer also spoke to radio station 3AW, saying Amazon was treating its Australian consumers “pretty poorly”, given eBay and Alibaba had not announced similar bans.
“They [Amazon] spend $30 billion a year on research and technology and they say they can’t process a 10 per cent GST payment, give me a break,” Morrison said.
Users have had mixed reactions to Amazon’s move, with many divided on who to blame.
Some have blamed the government for introducing GST on imported goods under $1000, which were previously exempt.
Others have expressed anger at Amazon’s decision to block Australian users from all international Amazon sites.
ACS President Yohan Ramasundara weighed in on the controversy saying Amazon would ultimately be hurt by its move to ban Australians.
“It’s a reality of the internet era that countries have porous borders with respect to trade. That’s a great thing – it means that consumers have much more choice than ever before. But it doesn’t mean that multinationals get to operate outside the bounds of the law,” he said.
“All other companies that operate in Australia have to apply GST to their sales, and Amazon should have to as well. We believe all companies selling to Australian consumers should operate on a level playing field with respect to collecting the GST.”