Mr Carlos Boué singled out Australia and the UK for having an alarming downward trend in petroleum and gas revenues.

Combined with the surge in petroleum and gas prices since 2000, the contrast between the tax-take of the two countries and others with large gas and oil fields “reached staggering proportions,” he said.

“The belief, in the face of statistical evidence derived from official government figures, that the Australian and UK fiscal regimes are not somehow aberrant seems akin to the drunken driver’s conviction that it is actually everybody else who is going the wrong way down the motorway.”

Revenue from multinationals has also been hit by corporations legally transferring profits to countries with lower tax environments as research and development credits.

The inquiry will hear allegations US multinational Exxon Mobil deliberately misled the Senate by not revealing its Dutch parent company had based some of its operations in the tax havens of the Bahamas.

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