Scott Morrison outright lies on immigration and negative gearing

By Leith van Onselen

Australia’s real estate treasurer, Scott Morrison, gave a poor interview on The Chris Smith Show yesterday, whereby he contorted arguments in favour of negative gearing and maintaining Australia’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy.

First, here’s Morrison’s remarks around negative gearing (from 2.36):

“One in five police officers negatively gear. About 62% of Australians that negatively gear have a taxable income of less than $80,000. Now, they are not rich people. They are just people trying to get ahead and make their way. Nurses, teachers, all of them they negatively gear. And Labor wants to increase their capital gains tax to those that do it in the future by 50%”.

The illogicality of Morrison’s argument knows no bounds. In his speech to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute in April, Morrison explicitly bemoaned the fact that nurses and teachers, in particular, are unable to buy houses in the communities which they serve:

“In short we need more housing, not just for homeowners, but for renters, for key workers such as nurses, teachers and police officers who can’t afford to rent or buy in the communities they serve and for those on low incomes, the disabled and disadvantaged”.

Yet on the other hand, Morrison claims that negative gearing is okay because lots of nurses, teachers and police do it?

This obvious contradiction was noted at the time by Fairfax’s Michael Pascoe:

[It is] a statement of the obvious that you can’t help first homebuyers by endorsing ever-higher housing prices…

Which is why restricting negative gearing to new and off-the-plan properties would encourage more supply, while simultaneously easing price pressures on existing housing.

But then the contortions begin. ScoMo would have us believe the beloved nurses, teachers and police officers who can’t afford to rent or buy apparently are the same people who are doing most of the negative gearing.

Morrison’s illogical arguments were even worse when it came to discussing Dick Smith’s campaign to lower Australia’s immigration intake (from 6.00):

“What you’ve gotta be careful about here is – well I spend a lot of time after the Budget in South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory and so on – that’s where you’ve got population going the other way. And the are states and territories that actually need more population. And so what we have to do is make sure that the people go where they need to go…

Barnaby’s got some agricultural offices moving up to his part of the world, and equally we are seeking to do that through the immigration system. And I think they are good policies to do that. Otherwise, even if you cut immigration, then you’d have just as many people turning up to Sydney and Melbourne and no one going anywhere else. So you still get the traffic jams in Sydney and the Western Australian economy goes backwards”.

What complete and utter lies.

First, the WA, SA and NT populations are not shrinking. Their populations increased by 16,835 (0.7%), 10,322 (0.6%) and 645 (0.3%) respectively in the 2016 calendar year.

Second, the claim that “even if you cut immigration, then you’d have just as many people turning up to Sydney and Melbourne and no one going anywhere else… So you still get the traffic jams in Sydney” doesn’t pass the laugh test.

The uncomfortable truth is that the settlement pattern of new migrants into Sydney and Melbourne has become extreme over the past five years, according to the latest Census. As noted by Tim Colebatch:

…the third wave of migration we are seeing now is almost completely city-centric. In Sydney on census night, the 224,685 Chinese migrants… But in the rest of New South Wales, with its 2.65 million people, the census found just 9578 Chinese migrants. Only 4.2 per cent of those in New South Wales live outside Sydney.

Sydney is also home to 96.3 per cent of the state’s Vietnamese-born population, 97.4 per cent of its Iraqi migrants, and 97.6 per cent of its Lebanese…

Migrants to Victoria are similarly concentrated in Melbourne. The few square kilometres ruled by the Melbourne City Council houses four and a half times as many Chinese-born residents as the 210,000 square kilometres of regional Victoria, which includes cities like Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. Melbourne is home to 97.2 per cent of Victoria’s Chinese migrants, 96.8 per cent of its Sri Lankans, 94.9 per cent of its booming Indian-born population, and 98.0 per cent of its Vietnamese…

Migrants usually flock to the cities. It’s natural that newcomers go where they have friends or family. But what we are seeing now is that natural tendency carried to extreme lengths.

Accordingly, the NSW’s Government’s own population projections show that Sydney’s population would increase by 1,739,900 (37%) under current mass immigration settings, but by only 207,250 (4%) if net overseas migration was cut to zero:

The reality is that maintaining a mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy means that Sydney and Melbourne will continue to be crush-loaded as their populations swell by the millions, placing extreme further pressure on infrastructure and housing, and destroying living standards for incumbent residents.

Obviously cutting Australia’s immigration intake would directly relieve these pressures.

Scott Morrison needs to stop lying.

[email protected]

Leith van Onselen


  1. Melbourne was built on the riches of a gold mining boom and later a viable manufacturing industry. Both are gone. Population growth is it’s last gasp. Melbourne is now eating itself alive in a last inglorious attempt to stay alive. As a regular visitor to the city it’s depressing to watch.

    • As a resident it’s even more depressing…
      I lived and worked in London many years ago. I didn’t like it very much – the tube always full, the footpaths always full, the roads always full, the galleries always full, the parks always full. People everywhere, all the time, at everything. You couldn’t escape it. So I left to escape it. Now Melbourne is getting the same. I don’t want this. No one I know wants this.

      • I agree mate, I am perhaps nostalgic for the past, but I think of Melbourne and what it was like 20 years ago and that’s what I want back. Not this “Global” city shit. If this is a global city, fuck global cities. I want to live in the arse end of the world that most people don’t know where to find on a map.

      • Can see some movement down here in Geelong with many Melbournians heading down the highway for a better lifestyle and cheaper houses! New estates going up in every direction you look and a few highrises to boot. The beaches will be packed in summer. I’m thinking of heading to Fiji for a year and wait and see how it all pans out!

    • Sort of right, except that what is happening is more a rerun of what happened in the late 1800s. The gold boom of the 1850s and 60s did put a rocket under the young settlement which was younger than all the other colonial capitals bar Adelaide (by one year). But by the 1870s, when the easy to mine alluvial gold was already rapidly diminishing a property boom took off in Melbourne and Sydney to a lesser extent. This was driven by property speculation and massive immigration that drove Melbourne’s population past that of Sydney in the 1880s (that’s when all that amazing Victorian architecture was built) and made Melbourne the second largest city in the whole bloody British Empire. The place became fabulously wealthy on the back of this huge property bubble, which blew up in the early 1890s causing a massive crash of the banks and credit societies and started Australia’s first Great Depression, which was at the tail end of the UK’s own Great Depression and America’s Long Depression. It took over 60 years iirc for real estate prices to recover in Melbourne. It was that experiencethat made people, especially Victorians, realise they needed a diversified and more self sufficient economy, an lesson that was reinforced by the two world wars and the second Great Depression.

  2. I would hazard a guess Harry Trigaboff and Huang Xiangmo are the two main culprits keeping this ponzi going and the two who have Malcolm and Bill in their pocket.

    Further, the decentralisation argument is ridiculous. If you push more people out to the other capitals and regional centers and maintain the same level of immigration then these in time are unable to handle the increased population and the same problems befalling Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane happen there. You’re just kicking the can down the road.

    Zero net migration is fine. Juiced to the gills will turn us into a third world ghetto.

  3. For twelve long years
    They waited in thrall
    For that market to yield
    To its pre-destined fall

    They rented and saved
    Bid their time all the while
    The plumbers and teachers
    Were geared with a smile

    The police and the dentists
    The saints and the knaves
    The surgeons, the nurses
    The masters and slaves

    Were all, to a man
    To a woman and beast
    Stuffing themselves
    In an unending feast

    Engorged, fat and bloated
    They surveyed their Domain
    While the meek shook their fists
    And swallowed their pain

    They cursed those tax losses
    For which they’d been dealt
    A cut to their pensions
    Their schools and their health

    So meekly they asked
    “Could we Please have our Hearing?
    We Must Bring an End
    To this Negative Gearing!”

    Then one point three million
    Loud voices did scream
    “You must be Insane!”
    It’s the National Dream”

    “To gather one’s riches
    From neighbors and brothers
    From colleagues and friends
    From students and Mothers”

    “We’re just humble folk!
    Why fill us with dread?
    There’s nothing more honest
    Than getting ahead”

    “We’re in this together
    Our loss is your gain
    You mess this thing up
    And we all share the pain”

    And so it was settled
    By a lobby of peers
    To keep those concessions
    Allay all those fears

    The Fall Never Came
    No drop of a ball
    They leveraged and geared
    Til’ they damned owned it all


    Nice work!
    In my ‘real’ life ( the fictional one I lead when not slaving to the empire) I just thumb-spun the cap off the square bottle of Old # 7 and dropped the needle on ‘ The End” by the Doors and cranked the Pioneer. The JBL100’s reveal everything that needs revealing and your delicious words fit perfectly inside the haunting and eerie melody.

    • I just put 2 deep cycle tractor type batteries in the car so I can turn up Jackson Browne Running on Empty and still be able to start the car at the end of the album.


        Must be a grande amplifier under the seat and vintage Jensens all around if you’re drawing batt killing amps WW! One needs plenty of punch when at the beach to defeat the surf roar.
        I approve!
        Since there’s no worry / hurry anymore, you’ll have time for one of his best from the Late for the Sky LP..

  5. Morrison is a lying dog. He has absolutely no interest in looking after the interests of most Australians. Pity his father wasn’t born in NZ so we’d have a chance to get rid of him, though the replacement would probably be from the same (poo smelling) mould.

  6. “even if you cut immigration, then you’d have just as many people turning up to Sydney and Melbourne and no one going anywhere else”

    Sydney has had negative internal net migration for several years now and its picking up the pace. Melbourne is positive, but mostly its gaining Sydneysiders who believe its more affordable. Which it is, but perhaps not for much longer.

    • Dan,

      Melbournian here, I can tell you now, with no hesitation whatsoever, that we currently have what I can only describe as an invasion of Queenslanders.
      I’m not exaggerating, I’m not making it up, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m seeing /literally/ 1/15 to 1/20 license plates being from QLD.
      Now I realise that’s not a huge number, but normally you might see an interstate plate, once or twice a week 15 years ago. Now it’s just QLD. I might see one SA a month, one TAS a month, 2 NSW and 20+ QLD
      I am NOT lying or making this up, I’ve never seen anything like it.

      I dunno why they’re coming (is work that difficult? housing that expensive? I dunno) – I know that Melbourne is open later, “cooler” has more stuff in general but this is mind boggling.

      Anyone else seen it?

  7. Here’s a left-field thought…

    Strategically, maybe it would be worth calling the bluff of “Big Australia” / mass immigration supporters: join them and call for the immigration rate to be doubled….tripled…

    …and then watch them squirm as they trot out the same arguments against such theoretical settings as you use against the current settings…

    They know that “too much” immigration is bad…they just think the current settings are necessary.

    Then show them how their concerns are the clear-and-present reality, meaning immigration rates are already too high.

    I’d love to see this played out…

    • It might backfire. The morons either just don’t get it at all or they don’t care if it means their mates can make even more money.

      • But it will greatly shorten the time to the coming and increasingly unavoidable revolution.

  8. Owning rental properties is not inconsistent with being able to buy your own property in the area in which you live. Indeed, arguably it is one of the sensible ways in which your deposit grows (or falls) with the market while you are trying to build it up.

  9. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Just old people using this blog for a whinge! “when I was a boy you could walk on the footpath in Melbourne”… WTF? LOLOLOL… oldknts

  10. He’s a disgusting vile traitor to the average citizens of Australia.
    Who gives a fucking SHIT if 62% of Aussies even did negative gear, they would be negative gearing to the DETRIMENT of 38% of the remaining Australians, since they’re stealing their money to pay for the others.
    There’s no other way of putting it, it’s theft from one group to give to another, period.

    Of course, I’m preaching to the converted here, but you guys, we need all of you, to post on social media, post on facebook, tell your friends, explain HOW the tax works as an incentive to rewards those with disposable income to purchase more property, tell reddit, your coworkers, we need to end this disgusting vile policy which is decimating multiple generations of Aussies.

    When you explain negative gearing to a foriegner, 9 times out of 10 they sit there looking at you confused as if you just explained it backwards, with a “what?, huh? bu.. what?” expression.

    Scott Morrison should be tried for treason.

    • “it’s theft from one group to give to another, period.”

      well some people getting ahead sort of implies that others must be falling behind, doesn’t it? We just try not to talk about them.

    • Aww blesss. Everybody welcome the newblood – you remind me of myself 8 years ago, ‘cept back then I knew such a rant was a waste of time and not cathartic whatsoever. You’re gonna get cannnnnn-cerrrrrrr…

  11. People are going to vote for parties other than the terrible two who are whoop-de-do for home prices. That’s dangerous.

    • No, that’s not accurate. People are NOT going to vote for any party who promises to bring down prices. They would vote for lower immigration if given the chance, but no property owner wants the price of their own property/ies to fall. Remember the scare campaign by LNP warning that if you vote for ALP’s proposed changes to negative gearing the price of your property would crash. Even the fact that they contradicted themselves by reviving the old myth that rents would soar didn’t matter.

      • Yep. And if you stick up a block of units near them they will go apoplectic.

        Ok not everyone is such a deranged child but it’s gotta be half.

        Hopefully Trump gives China a kick in the guts and this whole thing collapses by itself.

  12. Why should he tell the truth about immigration when the left can’t? The right is making a killing off of the lefts cretinous behaviour. Easiest money they’ve ever made in history probably. Just whack up some shitty McApartments and McMansions, print some cash and import fuck loads of immigrants that see it as paradise.

  13. Chris Smith – Pathetic. You ask the Agent SCoMo about Dick Smith’s crusade about population policy, THE defining issue of our generation, and you do not follow up with him for a reasonable response!! ScoMo danced around the question and danced onto something else and you conveniently let it slide… How PATHETIC !