Why we aren’t laughing at your house prices joke, PM




Hey Malcolm, listen up.

On radio you admitted houses in Australia are ridiculously unaffordable. But instead of trying to change it, you cracked a joke.

That makes me, a 24-year-old with a full-time job and no hope of affording a home by myself, furious.

On Wednesday, you told “wealthy” ABC radio host Jon Faine he should “shell out” if his children struggled to afford houses.

You’re right, Malcolm. It’s true many of us can’t afford a house without our parents help – and even then, only if they are rich.

That you refuse to do anything to fix this problem makes me so angry.

Australian homes are the second-most expensive in the world, according to Demographia. The average Australian home costs 5.6 times our median household income. In Sydney it’s 12.1 and in Melbourne 9.7. Demographia considers a house price-to-household income ratio of 5.1 or more “severely unaffordable”.

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That’s not something to joke about, Malcolm. That’s something we want you to change.

Not all of us have rich families who can give us a leg up. Clearly your daughter, a history teacher, who allegedly sold her exclusive Sydney apartment for over $3 million in 2013, is one of the lucky ones.

malcolm turnbull negative gearing

Mr Turnbull meets the Mignacca family, including the one-year-old home owner. Photo: AAP

The ABC interview wasn’t the first time you revealed how out of touch you are on the issue of housing affordability.

Late last month you held a press conference with a young family to proudly declare you won’t touch negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions – two of the mechanisms driving up prices beyond what young Australians can afford.

At that media opportunity, you defended the policies by pointing out that your chosen ‘average Aussies’, the Mignacca family in Sydney, were using them to buy a second home for their one-year-old.

How broken the property market must be if it requires us to save from birth.

That’s two strikes as big as a Cayman Islands bank account, Malcolm.

The gaffes prove you accept homes are too expensive for young Australians to afford on their own.

We already know you agree. In August 2005 you wrote: “Australia’s rules on negative gearing are very generous compared to many other countries” and in September 2005 you called it “tax avoidance”.

Yet you do nothing.

Perhaps you’ve forgotten what we’re going through. Perhaps you never knew. For older Australians like you, houses were once a lot cheaper.

In 1960 a house cost 1.6 times a household’s average income and in 1985 it was only 2.25, as noted by The Project.

Property prices skyrocketed in 1999 when then-PM John Howard created the CGT discount for investment properties.

Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull

Mr Turnbull and Mr Morrison have attacked Labor’s proposed changes to negative gearing and CGT. Photo: AAP

The Grattan Institute, the Labor Party and prominent economists want these benefits slashed to make houses more affordable.

You should listen to them, Malcolm. But you won’t, because you are just as out of touch as Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey.

Mr Hockey said the way for young Australians to afford a house was to “get a good job that pays good money”.

And Tony Abbott stubbornly refused to even contemplate it during his short-lived push for tax reform.

Don’t pull a Tony, Malcolm.

Our parents have helped us enough.

(Click on the owl for a negative gearing and CGT explainer  ).

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