Joe Hockey’s comments to those who don’t own their own homes are being called insensitive and callous and has prompted calls for greater transparency for MPs who use taxpayer-funded allowances to pay off houses in Canberra.
Independent senator Nick Xenophon’s call follows Treasurer Joe Hockey’s advice to first-home buyers to “get a good job that pays good money”.
Hockey, himself, owns an upmarket home in an exclusive suburb of Canberra. Apparently his property is valued at around $2 million.
As a politician, Mr Hockey also legitimately claims a $270-a-night allowance for travel to the capital, in line with this Senator Xenophon told Lateline, “If an MP is using their allowance to pay off a home for themselves or for their spouse, I don’t think it’s unfair to require transparency.”
This come on the back of disclosure in an ABC interview, by a retired senator, that it is common practice for politicians in the major parties to buy a house in Canberra and use their travel allowance to pay off the mortgage, “It’s an entirely legitimate entitlement that gets turned into a benefit and an advantage [in the property market],” he said.
Xenophon plans to correct the situation by insisting that politicians return some of the profits from selling a Canberra property to taxpayers if they had used public money for their mortgage.
“I like the idea of a portion of that capital gain being put back into Treasury’s coffers,” he said.
“Although the flip side to that is if the housing market crashes, and the MP makes a loss, I don’t think taxpayers would want to subsidise a bad investment decision by an MP.”
Social media erupted:
Labor Are Trolling Joe Hockey By Flooding His Office With Applications For “A Good Job That Pays Good Money” | Junkee
— Minbani (@Minbani) June 11, 2015
We wouldn’t have a nurse/essential service worker/public school teacher in Aus if we all took @JoeHockey’s advice pic.twitter.com/VqOVqlgRbZ
— GetUp! (@GetUp) June 11, 2015
The housing bubble <in today’s @canberratimes, gallery ; +@1petermartin pic.twitter.com/bCo61o3eX3
— David Pope (@davpope) June 10, 2015
But Senator Xenophon said he hoped the comments were not part of a political strategy to pander to home owners at the expense of renters.
“I certainly hope that the Government isn’t hinting that if you’re a property owner that’s good and if you’re a renter that’s not so good,” added Xenophon, “It just seems to me that the Government might be putting their lips on that dog whistle when it comes to property ownership and that’s not a good thing.”
Image: Joe Hockey Facebook