JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
MONDAY, 16 MAY 2022
SUBJECTS: Scott Morrison bulldozing superannuation and pushing up house prices; Labor's responsible plans for housing; Costs of living crisis on Scott Morrison’s watch; Unemployment, and real wages going backwards.
JIM CHALMERS, SHADOW TREASURER: Scott Morrison will bulldoze your super and push up house prices.
His super and housing policy is a desperate last-minute act of political and economic vandalism.
If the Liberals thought this was a good idea, they would have done it in one of their nine Budgets, and not as a desperate last-minute act of political and economic vandalism, which will bulldoze your super and push up house prices.
This, as always, is not about where you live - it's about where Scott Morrison lives.
Economist after economist is lining up to pan this dumb idea that we've seen from this Prime Minister six days out from the election.
The Liberals can't even get their story straight on what it will mean for house prices, but the evidence is clear that this will have a diabolical impact on house prices. It will make it harder, not easier, for people to get into the housing market, and it will bulldoze people's super in the process. Even today, key Ministers - and the Prime Minister - can't seem to get their story straight when it comes to the impact on house prices. They are hopelessly divided, once again, when it comes to the impact on house prices of this policy which has been dropped six days out from the election after a decade of inaction.
This is not a new challenge in our economy. This Government has been there for the best part of a decade and now six days out from the election they engage in this desperate act of political and economic vandalism, which will make things harder for people and not easier for people.
This is a full-blown cost of living crisis. Labor will make it easier for people to buy their homes without bulldozing super. Scott Morrison is part of the problem, not part of the solution, when it comes to this cost of living crisis that has emerged on his watch. That's why the choice at this election is between a better future under Labor, or more of the same under Scott Morrison.
JOURNALIST: Do you concede though that there may be some first home buyers out there who are so desperate to get a home that they think well this is the only way - great, finally I can access my super. Do you concede that?
CHALMERS: I think, in almost a day since the policy was announced, people are realising that this will have a diabolical impact on their super balances and on house prices at the same time. Scott Morrison is desperately hoping at the very last minute that he can put this policy on the table and pull a swifty for people who are doing it tough. This policy, if you listen to the economists, if you listen to the Liberals who have lined up for the best part of a decade to pan this policy, it will have two major impacts - it will bulldoze your super, and it will push up house prices. Because of that, it will make life harder, not easier, for ordinary Australians.
JOURNALIST: Given the returns on the property market at the moment, don't you think investing your money or superannuation in property might actually be a good idea?
CHALMERS: Not when you factor in the house price increases that will flow from this policy. If you look at some of the modelling that has been done - for example for Industry Super - the impact on house prices of this policy could be up to $134,000 for a house. So once you factor that in people will be paying more for a home, not less for a home, and that means that the returns will be substantially different.
JOURNALIST: Do you think that it will cost you votes though, opposing this? I suspect there will be a lot of young people out there who are saying this way, you know, this is the best way.
CHALMERS: Well, that's what Scott Morrison is hoping for. As always with Scott Morrison, it's about where he lives not where Australians live. He is desperately hoping, six days out from the election, that people will forget almost a decade now of inaction on this really important issue of housing affordability.
Labor has a policy out there to help people buy a home. We've got a policy on social housing. We've got a policy on increasing supply, which is another crucial challenge that the Government has neglected. That's the choice here - a comprehensive plan from Labor for housing, without bulldozing your super, or Scott Morrison's late campaign brain explosion, which will push up house prices and bulldoze your super.
JOURNALIST: You're angry about this policy being dropped so close to the election, but does Labor have any other policies that are coming out this week, some big ones, that we can expect?
CHALMERS: We've made clear our approach to housing and our major policy offerings, which are about strengthening Medicare, easing the cost of living, growing the economy without adding to inflation, investing in new jobs and new industries with powered by cleaner and cheaper energy. So our policies are very, very clear. The Government has had almost a decade now to do something about housing. I think people are onto Scott Morrison - all the spin and all the marketing from Scott Morrison - then, all of a sudden, six days out from the election, people see this for what it is. It's a desperate last-minute act of political and economic vandalism, more about where Scott Morrison lives and not where they live.
JOURNALIST: Are we going to see any desperate last-minute policies from Labor?
CHALMERS: Of course not. Our policies are carefully calibrated to the defining economic challenges that we would inherit if we're successful on Saturday. We've got a full-blown cost of living crisis, we've got an economy which has been performing below standard - not just during the pandemic, but before that as well. We've got high and rising inflation, we've got interest rates rising, there's a trillion dollars of debt in the Budget with nowhere near enough to show for it. So our economic plan is carefully designed to deal with the challenges that we would inherit, by growing the economy without adding to inflation, giving relief to Australians during this cost of living crisis, getting real wages moving again, and trying to have something to show for this Budget, which is heaving with a trillion dollars in Liberal debt.
The defining challenge in the economy is that real wages are going backwards. Australians are going backwards even as the economy recovers, that's how the Government wants it. We take a different view. That's why the choice of this election is between a better future under Labor and Anthony Albanese, with a plan to get real wages going again, or three years of more of the same drift and dysfunction and Australians going backwards.
JOURNALIST: We're expecting some jobs figures this week and wages figures, if we do see a fall in unemployment, and we do see wages rising, is that something to be applauded?
CHALMERS: We want to see the unemployment rate come down as low as possible, but the unemployment rate on its own doesn't tell the full story of the jobs market. The defining challenge in the jobs market is real wages going backwards. Even with unemployment coming down recently in welcome ways, we’ve still got real wages going backwards. We've got skill shortages right around Australia and right across the economy. Our economic plan recognises that in addition to keeping unemployment as low as possible, we also need to deal with the skill shortages, we need to get real wages moving again. The Government always wants to pat themselves on the back for the unemployment rate as a desperate distraction from all of the other economic challenges that we have, some of which I've run through today.
JOURNALIST: If we do see those, as well as unemployment, drop and the wages maybe go up, is that a good move, is that something to be applauded?
CHALMERS: We've had a decade now of wage stagnation and Australian working families are going backwards. Australian working families are working so hard and they’re still going backwards because we've got this full-blown cost of living crisis on Scott Morrison's watch. We've got prices going through the roof, we've got real wages going backwards, and now interest rate rises are part of the pain as well. The Government doesn't have a plan to deal with any of that. If they do, it ain't working.
Labor's got a plan to deal with these defining economic challenges. The Government has got these last-minute brain explosions six days out from the election, which will make life harder rather than easier for ordinary Australians. Thanks very much, thank you.