Tuesday, 23 February 2016
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that this morning on ABC radio the Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia said: 'I did notice that the Prime Minister did say to the parliament yesterday that the increase in capital gains tax is not part of our thinking and I think that this is a very clear statement by the Prime Minister.'?
When the members of his own cabinet recognise that the Prime Minister made a clear statement to the parliament yesterday, why does the Prime Minister continue to waffle and blame everyone else for simply misunderstanding him?
It shows the sad and childish desperation to which the opposition have sunk. We had an exchange in the House yesterday in which we were discussing personal income tax and the capital gains discounts. We were talking about the way in which Labor was proposing to halve that discount and, thereby, discourage investment and threaten jobs. We talked about that, and I explained how that would have the result, in many cases, of having a massive tax on the real after-inflation gains, so that people could be paying, if they had an asset that appreciated, for example, for five per cent for five or six years—under Labor's plan, their after-inflation gain, their real gain, would be taxed at 70 per cent. That is what we were talking about. I was then asked a question by the member for McMahon, who said, 'I refer to your previous answer; what about capital gains tax?', to which I responded. Now he wants to pretend that that answer extended to subjects that were not contained in the previous answer. This is childishness. This is pathetic childishness. You would think that the opposition would be better. You would think that the opposition could tender, produce or table, for example, the modelling that they have relied upon in asserting—
Ms Macklin interjecting—
that their negative gearing changes would not have any impact on property prices.
Let us consider this: the National Australia Bank, no less, have recently published a report on the property market. They have observed that the forecast for average national price growth in 2016—
Ms Butler interjecting—
has been lowered to 2.3 per cent. That is low growth. That is barely above inflation and that is after very strong growth last year. So we expect property prices to grow slowly this year. At this point of vulnerability in the property market, what does the Labor Party propose to do but take more than one-third of demand out of the ring. If the market is only going to grow, according to the bank, by a little bit above inflation this year, what is the impact of pulling one-third or more of demand out of the market going to be? You do not need to be a professor of economics to know that that is going to crash housing prices. Of course it will. They are attacking the largest single asset of most Australian families. (Time expired)