Monday, 15 June 2015
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Ludlam for his question and I am pleased to confirm again that the government has absolutely no plans to make any changes to negative gearing. The reason is that this government understands about market economics. We understand that the price of anything is a function of supply and demand. If you are going to reduce the supply of private rental properties, you will push up the cost of rents and you will reduce housing affordability for those Australians who are currently renting. That, of course, was the experience of the Hawke government: even the then Treasurer, Paul Keating, after having pressed ahead with a change in this space, had to pull back. Of course, at various times, various Labor politicians, who tried to make a name for themselves, popped up and tried to suggest that they would make a change. Mark Latham, when he was the shadow Assistant Treasurer, said he was going to make changes to negative gearing until he was called back by the then leader, Simon Crean. I notice there is another view that perhaps the Labor Party wants to go down again into this negative-gearing space but, when I was listening to Mr Shorten the other week, I was finding it very hard to understand what Mr Shorten was actually saying. Was he in favour of a change to negative gearing or was he in favour of the status quo? This led to his answer in the press conference last week, but I did not have a clue what he was talking about.