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Thursday, 9 February 2017
Page: 495


Senator BILYK (Tasmania) (15:22): Once again today we heard Senator Brandis not even attempt to answer the questions that were asked of him. We had the diatribe about everything in the world being the fault of the Labor Party and what terrible people we are, but it just goes to show exactly how out of touch with ordinary Australians both he and the Prime Minister, for the moment—I think he has a limited tenure there, I might add—are. It goes to show that they do not have an answer and they have no desire, really, to find an answer or to fix the issue of housing affordability. Senator Brandis was asked, 'Who was correct—was it the Treasurer or the PM—regarding housing price changes under the Labor Party policy?' which is a fantastic policy for housing, and he could not give an answer.

So, once again, there is lots of dysfunction, chaos and division within the government. Their attempt at a scare campaign on Labor Party policy on housing is just that. It is a pretty weak attempt and it is pretty hopeless. But we all remember the former Treasurer's response to housing affordability—that was for people to get a better job. Mr Hockey probably managed to get a better job. After all, he has gone to America and he has a lovely house there at taxpayers' expense. Someone might say I am envious, because that seems to be the latest line from the government: we are all envious on this side.

Senator Brandis: How many times have you been to dinner at Raheen, Senator?

Senator BILYK: Senator Brandis, while Mr Hockey has left the parliament what we have been left with is Mr Barnaby Joyce. He recently suggested that you just need to get out of Sydney and Melbourne. What a hoot! Move away from your family, move away from your support and move away from your friends and your life and everyone you know. Move away and don't worry about your job. Move away from your GP. In other parts of Australia it is even a matter of moving away from public transport. His suggestion is to move to somewhere where unemployment is higher and jobs are more difficult to secure, just so you can buy a house. Well, no, I do not think that is right. I think that shows the absolute cold and callous indifference of Senator Brandis's government. I am not sure if he is popping over to London to get a new house soon, but I am sure we will find out sooner rather than later. Certainly, I know people on his side are trying to get rid of him and would like him to go. But that is not the point. The point is that unless we address prices in capital cities, high costs will continue to push people out into regional centres, jacking up the house prices and perpetuating the affordability crisis regional residents already face.

Labor has a great policy, no matter what those living in Narnia land over on that side say. We have a great policy in regard to—

Senator Brandis: What land?

Senator BILYK: Narnia land. I am sure you would have read that book, Senator Brandis. With all your books I would be most surprised if you had not read Narnia, because you have those huge bookshelves chock-a-block full of things—

Senator Brandis: It is called Narnia, not Narnia land.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order!

Senator BILYK: I should not let Senator Brandis and his very large bookshelves and large acquisition of books distract me! We do have and have had some great proposed changes to negative gearing tax concessions that would limit it to newly built homes, and changes to the capital gains tax concession, reducing it from 50 per cent to 25 per cent. That would save the budget $565 million over four years. But, instead, we get from the other side: 'Well, get your parents to buy you a house.' Thanks very much: I am a parent and my son lives in Sydney and now I have two adult children saying to me, 'Help me buy a house.' I will do what I can for my kids, but not every parent is earning the income I am earning. If you think people on $80,000 a year are able to buy their kids a house then you are living in Narnia—you are living in some completely different realm, not Narnia, where reality is non-existent.

Young people deserve a chance to own a home. The Australian dream of owning your own home is still strong and ongoing with most Australians— (Time expired)

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion to take note of answers as moved by Senator Cameron be agreed to.

Question agreed to.