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Prime Minister of Australia

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP

Doorstop - Politicians vs Canberra Press Gallery cricket match

28 February 2016

Prime Minister



Prime Minister John Howard's encouraged you to be careful around negative gearing. Is that a good idea?


Well actually I had a, you should be very careful about every, I’ll take my hat off - it's important to be sun safe but I’ll take it off for a moment. Look it is very important to treat any changes to the tax system very carefully indeed and indeed I had a long chat with John about negative gearing and other aspects of tax only yesterday in fact, a long chat. He's obviously a great source of advice. You can see that what Labor has done with their proposed changes will have a very negative impact on housing values. It’s the biggest single asset class in Australia. It's where most Australian families have most of their net worth, their wealth, tied up and to administer such a big shock, to such an important asset class at a time when the economy is going through a transition, through a, from mining construction boom, we're travelling well but it is a turbulent world out there in terms of the global economy, we understand that and we're going through a period of transition. Confidence is everything, absolutely everything and to administer such a big shock to such, to the single biggest asset class is very reckless and you know so what John says about being careful with tax policy is absolutely right. That's why we are taking the time to analyse these things, these issues very carefully and Labor clearly did not. They thought they would get political credit for a big announcement but without thinking through the consequences of what they've done.


It sounds like you’re ruling out negative gearing as being Coalition policy, or changes to negative gearing?


It sounds like I'm doing my job as Prime Minister looking at these issues very, very carefully. That’s what Australians expect me to do and frankly it what they expect would-be Prime Ministers, like Mr Shorten to do but he has not done that. What he's proposing will, it will have a very negative impact on housing values and let's face it, that’s what they want to do. They want Australian homes to fall in value and they say this is good because it will make them more affordable but it undermines the financial situation, the wealth and hence the confidence of most Australian families. As John was saying, John Howard was saying on Agenda this morning, the last time the abolition of negative gearing was tried by the Labor Party and they did in fact legislate it, it was quickly reversed because of its negative impact on the housing and in particular the rental market. So Howard’s advice, look at these things carefully absolutely, that’s exactly what I am doing. Pity Labor didn’t.