Joe Hockey takes his entitlement


By Leith van Onselen

It seems Treasurer Joe Hockey’s goal of “ending the age of entitlement” doesn’t extend to his own family, with the Daily Telegraph reporting yesterday that taxpayers are paying him $1,000 a month to stay at his wife’s $2 million home in Canberra:

TREASURER Joe Hockey charges taxpayers $1000 a month, the equivalent of the Newstart unemployment benefit, to sleep in his wife’s $2 million Canberra home.

Mr Hockey has claimed travel allowance totalling $184,000 to stay at the home during parliamentary sittings since 1998, more than half the original sale price of $320,000.

The figure has averaged $1000 a month since 1998, roughly equivalent to the $519 a fortnight the government expects unemployed people on Newstart payments to live on.

Mr Hockey’s wife Melissa Babbage’s astute purchase of the blue-ribbon real estate investment in 1997 has seen the property’s value grow to around seven times the original purchase price…

Under travel allowance rules, Mr Hockey is allowed to claim $271-a-night when he stays in Canberra…

To be fair to Hockey, many other MPs employ similar tactics, according to the Daily Telegraph, including Labor’s Anthony Albanese, Warren Snowden, Tanya Plibersek, Joel Fitzgibbon, Jim Chalmers, Mark Butler, Tony Burke and Doug Cameron.

Nevertheless, Joe Hockey’s claim that “everyone has to live within their means, whether it’s a company, whether it’s a family, whether it’s an individual, whether it’s a government” would hold more weight if politicians also agreed to take a haircut, rather than expecting ordinary Australians to bear the burden of Budget cuts.


Hockey’s goal of “ending the age of entitlement” would also hold more weight if the Government agreed to examine reform of superannuation concessions, negative gearing, and capital gains tax concessions: lurks that overwhelmingly benefit higher income earners, whilst punching huge holes in the Budget bottom line.

I guess this is what you get when you and your wife own multiple investment properties, and have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

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About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.