MONDAY, 13 MAY 2019
Subjects: Five years on from the Liberals’ horror 2014 Budget, Labor’s plans for affordable housing, the Liberals’ scare campaign on negative gearing.
ANDREW LEIGH, SHADOW ASSISTANT TREASURER: Thanks very much for coming out today. My name is Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Five years ago, the Liberals brought down their horror 2014 Budget. They said there'd be no cuts to health. They lied. They said there’d be no cuts for education. They lied. They said there'd be no cuts to the pension. They lied. They said there'd be no cuts to ABC or the SBS. They lied. The 2014 Budget was a horror show in Australian politics and if Scott Morrison is re-elected on Saturday it'll be his blueprint for the next three years.
Scott Morrison is a man bereft of ideas, a failed ad man who’s given up on reform. But he was as enthusiastic a backer for that 2014 Budget as you could find in the Parliament. Scott Morrison was a man who was very happy for the Liberals to go out and break their pledges to the Australian people to look after the social safety net. If the Liberals are re-elected on Saturday, you will see more tax breaks for the top end of town, tax loopholes for multinationals, and cuts to health and education – which we know from Grattan Institute modelling amounts to some $40 billion of secret Morrison cuts. Secret Morrison cuts that could be even worse than the 2014 Budget.
We've also seen today reports that Scott Morrison was seriously considering reforms to negative gearing before characteristically he squibbed it. It's very clear that Scott Morrison recognised there were what he called ‘excesses’ in negative gearing. He pointed to those excesses, as many others have done as well. Jeff Kennett and Joe Hockey in his valedictory speech are just two of the Liberals who recognise that if you're serious about housing affordability, negative gearing has got to change. The Australian homeownership rate is now as low as it's been since the 1950s. If you look across the OECD advanced countries, Australia's homeownership rate places us in the bottom third. Young people are more than 10 percentage points less likely to own their homes now than they were in the 1980s.
That's why Labor in 2016 announced our plan to reform negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount. These reforms have been called for by the government's own Financial Stability Review. Organisations like the Reserve Bank and the Productivity Commission have pointed to the risks to financial stability of failing to reform negative gearing. Reforms to negative gearing have been supported by the OECD, the IMF, the Grattan Institute, ACOSS, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia, by the independent economist Saul Eslake. It's time to reform Australia's negative gearing system. Labor will do so in a careful and considered way. We’ll grandfather existing investments, so if you’re negative gearing right now you won't be affected by the changes to negative gearing arrangements and the capital gains tax discount, which under a Shorten Labor Government would take effect in the 1st of January 2020.
Yet from the Liberals we're seeing more scare campaigns, more dodgy discredited modelling. Exactly the sort of thing you'd expect from a prime minister who’s basically an empty slogan in a baseball cap. We've seen modelling from SQM, an organisation which was just a couple of years ago arguing that politicians would be ‘hypocritical’ if they didn't reform negative gearing and is now running a dodgy scare campaign against our policies. We've seen work from the Menzies Research Centre, the Liberal Party think-tank, which unsurprisingly doesn't like Labor reforms – hold the front page! The fact is the Menzies so-called research is using taxable income to look at who's affected by Labor's changes. When Josh Frydenberg rolled out the use of taxable income as a way of saying who was impacted by Labor's changes, ABC Fact Check said he was misleading the Australian people. ABC Fact Check said that to use taxable income was misleading the Australian people and when the Liberal Party’s think-tank uses taxable income to talk about negative gearing reforms, they too are misleading the Australian people.
Only Labor has a plan to tackle housing affordability because only Labor will get serious about negative gearing. We’ll also put in place a reformed National Rental Affordability Scheme, which will see 250,000 homes built that are available at affordable rental rates. We’ll restore the National Housing Supply Council. We will ensure that approaches such as Build to Rent are able to operate more effectively. Only Labor can tackle housing affordability.
When it comes to housing affordability, Scott Morrison has a slogan. Labor has a plan. When it comes to wages, Scott Morrison has a slogan. Labor has a plan. When it comes to tax reform, Scott Morrison has a slogan. Labor has a plan. We’ve spent the last six years developing positive policies, working together under Bill Shorten as a united team. If we're given the opportunity by the Australian people this Saturday, we're ready to govern.
Any questions? Thanks everyone.
Authorised by Noah Carroll ALP Canberra.