Australian politicians are pigs in the housing trough

By Leith van Onselen

The ABC has produced a great report today on the high degree of investment property ownership by Australia’s federal politicians, which is likely acting as a strong disincentive to them making fundamental reform to fix Australia’s housing woes:

The 226 individuals own 524 properties between them and about half of them own investment properties.

That means many of our politicians have a very personal interest in any changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount.

You can search your local member’s property interests here

Ninety-six per cent of parliamentarians own a property. Only 10 out of our 224 elected officials aren’t in the game.

Compare that to the rest of Australia, where home ownership is expected to dip below 50 per cent sometime this year…

Almost half of our parliamentarians have an investment property. Among the general population, the rate of investment property ownership is about 10 per cent, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia…

There are 105 government MPs and senators and they own 290 properties between them. About half of these properties, 139, are investments.

The average Coalition politician owns 2.8 properties.

There are 190 properties held by the 95 Labor MPs and senators.

The minority, 72, are investment properties.

The average Labor politician owns two properties…

There are 264 homes listed as residential. If you do the sum like us, you’ll realise that’s more primary residences than politicians.

Many have holiday homes and some do maintain a Canberra home too.

But they also have a lot of investment properties; we found 228 all up. The average number of properties owned by investing politicians is 2.1.

Money talks.

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Comments

  1. GunnamattaMEMBER

    Burn the fuckers…….

    The average Coalition politician owns 2.8 properties.

    The average Labor politician owns two properties…

    There are 264 homes listed as residential. If you do the sum like us, you’ll realise that’s more primary residences than politicians.

    Many have holiday homes and some do maintain a Canberra home too.

    But they also have a lot of investment properties; we found 228 all up. The average number of properties owned by investing politicians is 2.1.

    They profit off the housing stress of Australians…..
    These are the people we allow to determine how much housing pain we accept.

    Every politician, when talking about any issue which relates to housing prices (from budget, to immigration, to services – almost everything) should be compelled to begin their statement with the words

    My name is ………,
    I am the Member for ……….
    I own …… number of houses
    I rent …….. houses to renters
    I am/am not using Negative Gearing to reduce my income and I have been using it since …….
    I have a partner or children with ……. number of properties in their name and they have/have not used negative gearing since……
    I am/am not party to a trust which reduces my tax contribution, and have been since…..The trust is worth…….
    In the time I have been in parliament I have received ……… dollars from the public in the form of parliamentary allowances relating to travel and accommodation
    My current parliamentary superannuation entitlement is……. (if taken as a lump sum) or …….(if taken as a pension)

    • Brett EdgertonMEMBER

      Remember Glenn Stevens’ rye little joke about Australians generally reversing their views on desirable house prices movements once they become home owners… He failed to mention that this effect is an order of magnitude greater amongst the political class…

    • Does anyone know if there’s a list of exact addresses? I wouldn’t mind taking a look at the sales history and land valuations for the NSW properties. For, er… science.

  2. Tassie TomMEMBER

    MB has been saying this for a while – it’s good to see that the ABC has thrown it into the public for discussion.

    There’s nothing wrong with owning properties if you’re a politician – I own my house and I’m in the process of building a second “holiday” house, and if I got elected into government I sure as hell wouldn’t be selling them.

    But it does beg the question: “When assembling for a cabinet brainstorming session on how to manage housing affordability, how does your property holdings influence what ideas you may or may not bring to the table.

    • People without investment properties should be the only ones who can vote on policies related to housing. End of story. BURN THE HOUSE DOWN

      • Tassie TomMEMBER

        I’d agree with that.

        What about people with two or three “residential” homes. These homes may never have been let out, and may not be eligible for NG and (to a more complex extent) the CGT discount (holding costs including interest, rates etc would be bundled into the base capital so on paper there would probably be very little capital gain anyway).

        However, ultimately people only need one house, and if you own two or three houses then your wealth will be significantly affected by a rise or fall in house prices. And if your properties are significantly geared then you could find yourself insolvent in the event of significant property price declines.

        Also – what about farmers? The debt bubble affects rural land prices too, but should they have to sell their farm? Or just refrain from voting?

  3. CornflakesMEMBER

    It is understandable if they own a Canberra property and one in their electorate. That would make sense.

    • HadronCollision

      except their spouse owns a property which they rent out, claim the rent, and overnight expenses (or whatever the hell that gerrymander is)

  4. Yes but would any ABC journo with any guts at all ask just one politician to show their rates receipts associated with all their properties …… Answer no! WE ARE A NATION OF SPINLESS WEENIES.

  5. DIRECT conflict of interest. All politicians should be forced to divest from all property investments. It is as much of a conflict of interest as anything else.

    • 100% Agree Jeff – I property only per politician and it has to be their owner occupied property.

    • [email protected]MEMBER

      correct

  6. This is a bit harsh on pollies who pretty much aren’t allowed to own shares (and for good reason). And the % of pollies v % of population is misleading too – the % should be benchmarked against people earning what pollies earn.

    • GunnamattaMEMBER

      ‘the % should be benchmarked against people earning what pollies earn’ – (Directly from the public purse) which would make it only pollies and senior bureaucrats

    • Bullshit. It’s precisely because they earn so much compared to normal people – and are elected to represent normal people – that they have greater responsibilities, a high burden of transparency, and an overarching obligation to act fairly in everyone’s interest.

    • Well since we live in a time where housing is a commodity, at least in Australia, then it should be classed the same as shares.

  7. Bullshit. It’s precisely because they earn so much compared to normal people – and are elected to represent normal people – that they have greater responsibilities, a high burden of transparency, and an overarching obligation to act fairly in everyone’s interest.

  8. Tassie TomMEMBER

    Some of the declarations are a bit weird:

    “Tony Burke – Meander Valley, Tasmania – residential.” He’s the member for Watson in inner ring Sydney. I’ll have to say “G’day” to him if I see him in North Tas – haven’t seen him yet though.

    “Mathias Cormann – 2 residential plus 3 investment properties” – not weird, but you can see what’s influencing the bullshit that he comes up with.

    “Ross Hart – Longford – investment, no residential” – Ross must be needing NG to “get on the property ladder”. I wonder if his tenant in Longford owns the house that Ross rents? Same goes for Jane Hume with her Malvern investment property, and Bob Katter, Bridget McKenzie, Shayne Neumann, are on that list too.

    Michelle Rowland has 5 investment properties and doesn’t even have a place of her own to call home, as does Nick Xenophon.

    “Stephen Parry – Kingston ACT – investment” – I wonder where he stays when he’s in Canberra? I bet he never has holidays at his “Sister’s Beach, Tasmania” investment property either. ATO??? Same goes for Chris Pyne – I bet him and his family never stay at his “investment property” at Robe. Robe’s beautiful – I’d holiday there if I owned it. I wonder if it’s on Air B&B?

    Derryn Hinch states that “It’s not your right to own a home”. Of course it isn’t – it’s your right to pay Hinch to rent his home.

    And finally, poor old Rebekha Sharkie – she only owns one house and she isn’t even negative gearing it. She must feel like a failure when the other three members of NXT own 14 houses between them. Well, at least NXT speak with a unified voice in the Senate.

  9. Ding! Ding! (or Jing! Jing!?) Pollies to sell next?

    “One investor, communications executive Jingjing Hammon, told The Australian Financial Review she has already put her second investment property up for sale.

    “I do have concerns about the possibility of Sydney house prices falling dramatically,” she said.
    “I made this rational decision of selling investment property in Sydney and will transfer the profit to the US dollars.”

    Read more: http://www.afr.com/real-estate/interestonly-loan-crackdown-wont-cool-housing-market-fundies-warn-20170419-gvnoeu#ixzz4ekNdXkpE
    Follow us: @FinancialReview on Twitter | financialreview on Facebook

    • [email protected]

      The only “thing” that will inevitably “cool” this market will be what has cooled all the other “dumb” markets; when greed turns into fear. There has never been a bubble that never ran out of idiots, period!

    • 1 investor quote means nothing I’m afraid. As has been said, it’s rare to run out of idiots. It’s more the cheap debt that matters in my opinion.

    • Completely in-character, I’d say.
      “Almost half of those recently surveyed by psychologist Elizabeth Neal, in conjunction with ME Bank…”
      A bank-funded study finds that those who don’t own a home (and a massive mortgage?) feel like losers…

  10. Has the author of this article taken steps to inform the ABC about Morrison’s past role with the Property Council?
    If NOT then please do so as that would be the ultimate bomb to drop !

  11. Yeah no shit. Why is all this housing affordability stuff getting so much media time now? Maybe a crash is in the works. Planned by the people behind the curtain. Or a part of a push to get us into other cities.

  12. Dutton is being touted as the next liberal leader….. and he owns 7 properties.

    Xenophon owns multiple investment properties and one commerical property but has no residential property? Does he live with his mother?

    • no, his mother lives with him in one of his ‘investment properties’, and he charges her rent and thus it is an investment property with all the tax benefits that come with it… Nick not as dumb as he looks!

    • Tassie TomMEMBER

      Nick lives in one of Michelle Rowland’s five investment properties, and she lives in one of Nick’s five.

  13. “The average number of properties owned by investing politicians is 2.1.”
    That is not awfully lot for their income.

    If only Steve Keen looked into politicians sheding their IP’s at an unusual rate his predictions could be more timely. I would closely track their IP protfolio for the indicators of a correction. If anyone knows when the correction is near, it will be the insiders