Thursday 11 January 2018
It is little known that just before the Labor Party announced its plans to reform negative gearing and capital gains the Liberals had planned to do the same thing.
Labor’s timing left the Liberals with little option but to dice the announcement and start a scare campaign based on a load of inaccuracies and blatant lies. You might recall just how hard Turnbull, Morrison and many others in the Coalition deliberately set out to shout from the top of the mountain that this would-be a sledgehammer on Australia’s economy.
Remember how Turnbull was so desperate to win the election, that he would say anything including that Labor’s plans would “devalue every home, every property, in Australia”?
Peter Dutton, speaking on radio said:
“I think the economy will come to a shuddering halt and I think the stock market will crash.”
“I think once people realise how dangerous Labor’s economic proposal is I think they’ll be happy to see an election and deal with it.
“Labor’s essentially said they want to lower house prices and they want to increase rents and I think that would be a disaster.”
“Stock market will crash”! Well at least you can say that Dutton the dill uses language befitting his intelligence. For the duration of the election campaign, on a daily basis, the Prime Minister and his tardy crew of conniving liars sought to mislead the Australian public on a policy that had major implications for the Australian economy and their personal finances.
Now we know it was all lies. As Chris Bowen said at the time:
“That is just a pathetic and malicious scare campaign from a desperate government.”
“Scott Morrison has a personal case to answer here as to why he not only ignored this Treasury advice but suppressed it.”
Documents released under FOI by the ABC clearly show that the Government was demonstrably lying at the time and are still doing so. If the Government has done well at anything since it was elected it has been the ability to lie over a long period. Lying is profoundly wrong at any time but to do so when it effects such a vital part of the economy is deeply disturbing.
Treasury documents stating Labor’s policy to tighten tax breaks for property investors would have had a relatively small impact on house prices.
Treasury had spelled out its reasoning in a memo delivered to Treasurer Scott Morrison. When the 2016 documents contradict the Turnbull government’s claim the negative gearing changes would be a “sledgehammer” to Australia’s economy in such emphatic terms one has to wonder why more transparency isn’t enshrined in law.
For its part Treasury have been fighting tooth and nail to authentic the document as fair and reasonable, reflecting its genuinely held opinion.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen said the document exposed the government’s attack on Labor’s housing affordability policies “as little more than outright lies”.
He accuses Treasurer Scott Morrison of choosing to “selectively leak Treasury advice when it suits him,” claiming this is the reason why the document has only been made public now.
The document cites changes to negative gearing in the 1980s, as well as the introduction of the capital gains tax discount in the 1990s, as having “little discernible impact on the market.”
Why, we might ask, do they lie to the extent they do? It maybe because they are desperate to stay in power or it might be the issue of owning property in the national capital while claiming a $273 per night “travel allowance” from taxpayers to cover the costs of staying there, which led to accusations that politicians were “double dipping”.
Nearly 40 MPs or their spouses own property in Canberra, including senior government ministers:
Former Treasurer Joe Hockey’s wife owned a house she bought for $320,000 in 1997, which her husband used when in town. It sold last year for $1.5 million. During his time in parliament, it’s estimated that Hockey claimed around $184,000 in travel allowances over 18 years to stay there.
The $273 allowance is not counted as income. The ATO handed down a ruling saying MPs renting in Canberra from a spouse or family member are allowed to essentially negatively gear the property and claim income tax deductions on a range of costs, including mortgage interest, rates and power, on a second property. Even better, it’s capital gains tax-free when sold.
Among the data analysed by the ABC, it revealed that 226 politicians owned 264 homes they listed as “residential”. Those second residential properties are based in Canberra.
Finance minister Mathias Cormann, owns two residential and three investment properties.
A Queensland LNP senator, Barry O’Sullivan, a former police detective, grazier, and property developer, topped the list, with 33 properties, although that figure is well down on 2014’s 50 properties a year after he’d replaced the now Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce in the Senate.
O’Sullivan’s portfolio includes 11 agricultural, two residential, eight investment, seven commercial and five industrial investments properties.
NSW Nationals MP David Gillespie, the Assistant Minister for Health, who took former independent Rob Oakeshott’s seat in 2013 is second with 18 places, including 10 commercial investment properties in Port Macquarie and six investment units in the same town.
Liberal Karen Andrews has 10 properties, including 9 investment properties in three states.
Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s portfolio is a modest four, including his home in Sydney’s Point Piper, a Canberra apartment, the Hunter Valley farm he inherited from his late father, and a commercial investment in Sydney’s Potts Point.
Opposition leader Bill Shorten only has his home in Moonee Ponds in Melbourne.
In Peter Dutton’s case it might have something to do with his ever-increasing portfolio that with his latest acquisition takes his portfolio to six houses.
So in terms of negative gearing, and if you were a Minister, why would you want the rules changed?
My thought for the day
“Have we reached the point in politics where TRUTH is something that politicians have convinced us to believe, “like alternative facts” rather than TRUTH based on factual evidence and sound arguments.”