Questions Without Notice: Take Note of Answers - March 1


Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital Territory) (15:18): I am pleased to contribute to this debate on the motion that the Senate take note of answers given by Senator Cormann. Senator Gallagher did not mention it just now, but earlier today she said just how much Labor's negative gearing policy was going to whack Canberra. It is going to whack home owners right around the country. As Senator Gallagher acknowledged today, it is going to whack Canberra a lot more.


Senator Gallagher: No I didn't. I did not.


Senator SESELJA: It is worth getting the quote—


Senator Gallagher: You have to tell the truth.


Senator SESELJA: I will quote you—it provides a particular insight into how this is going to whack Canberrans and also it indicates Senator Gallagher's attitude to this. During a doorstop today she said:


Well, certainly, Canberra is one of those places where you see high levels of people utilising negative gearing. There is no secret about that. But, I don't think you can make policy, good policy that is good for the future of the country, determined by particular subpopulations or cities. You have to look across the board..



Senator Gallagher: And?


Senator SESELJA: 'And'! Senator Gallaher says, 'Oh well, what about that?' The first thing is that you are a local representative and you are saying even if it is going to whack Canberra, even though we rely even more than the rest of the country on negative gearing, we cannot worry about particular cities—


Senator Gallagher: Not what I said.


Senator SESELJA: I am quoting directly—we can't worry about particular cities like Canberra, the place you represent—don't worry about them, don't worry about the fact that Canberra is going to get whacked even more than the rest of the country, don't worry about the fact that 13 per cent of Canberrans are investors but a whole lot more are homeowners and the very people who were forced to take out larger mortgages to get into the market as a result of Senator Gallagher's policies when she was Chief Minister are the very people who will be most affected by the Labor's negative gearing policy. They are the people who will be most affected because if you have gotten into the market in the last two years—let us say here in Canberra you have had to take out a $400,000 mortgage, or a $450,000 or a $500,000-plus mortgage—how are you going to feel about a policy from the Labor Party that is designed to drive the value of that purchase down, that is designed to probably put you into negative equity? That is the situation that many recent homebuyers in particular will find themselves in as a result of the policy proposed by Labor and supported by Senator Gallagher even though she knows it will hurt Canberra even more than the rest of the country. And it will not just hurt here in Canberra—it will hurt all around the country whether it is in Sydney or Melbourne or Brisbane.


Let us look at some of those capitals where people, in order to get into those markets, have taken out very significant mortgages in the belief that we would not have such a reckless policy from a major party as we have seen from the Labor Party, in the belief that the policy settings that existed would continue and that they could expect reasonable growth on their purchase. It is difficult getting into the market and it always has been, but the Labor Party's policy is not about fixing housing affordability—it is about whacking every homeowner. I say to the Senate that those who will be most impacted by the Labor Party's reckless negative gearing policy are recent purchasers—those families who are servicing large mortgages in the outer suburbs, often as a result of poor land release policies by local Labor governments.


Putting that aside for the moment, they have those mortgages and now the Labor Party are saying to them and to every other homeowner, 'We want the value of your property to go down.' How much will the value of those properties go down? We do not know. The Grattan Institute, who support the policy, say it is up to 10 per cent. That is their starting gambit. That is a quote from the Grattan Institute. They say it is up to 10 per cent, and that is around the nation. In places like Canberra, where there is a greater reliance on investors, it may well be much more than that. The fact is the Labor Party are so reckless that they have not even bothered to do any modelling, but we know this: if you take that many buyers out of the market, renters will suffer and everyone's home values will go down. This is the Labor Party policy. I repeat in closing that Senator Gallagher has revealed the greater than usual impact on Canberra and the fact that she simply does not care.