Dig into Barnaby’s latest clunker and you’ll find that when it comes to housing, the government’s cupboard is totally bare.
I wonder if everyone caught the latest effort last week from wonderkid, Barnaby Joyce:
“I get annoyed when people talk about that the only house that you can buy apparently is in Sydney and it’s too dear,” he told ABC Radio National. “There are other parts of Australia. I live in one, it’s called Tamworth”…
“Houses will always be incredibly expensive if you can see the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Just accept that,” Mr Joyce said. “Houses are much cheaper in Tamworth, houses are much cheaper in Armidale, houses are much cheaper in Toowoomba.
“Sydney’s wonderful and so is Melbourne. The trouble is so many people think it’s wonderful that the price of houses is incredibly expensive. But there are other parts of Australia…
“I did move out west so I can say this – if you’ve decide you’ve got the gumption in you and you want to move [west], you’re going to have a very affordable house. If you say ‘I want a really affordable house in Mosman’, well, don’t we all.”
I don’t even know where to start…
My first thought is, how can you be so stupid? What politician has ever made any mileage by telling people who think they have a problem that they don’t actually have a problem?
“It’s all in you head, kids. You’ve just set your sights too high. Just accept it.”
Seriously, that’s got to be Politics 101, doesn’t it? On any issue the correct answer is always:
“I understand how tough it is. I emphasise. I’m working on it. We’ll be releasing an comprehensive, appropriate solution at the appropriate time.”
It is never, “You’re having a whinge, get over it.”
That’s a general rule. But is there any hotter button in Australia right now that housing affordability? Seriously? Baranaby can hardly claim that he was blindsided by that one, right?
“Yeah, sorry Malc. They just threw this question on ‘housing affordability’ at me from out of left-field. Who saw that coming? But I thought I handled it…”
And seriously, what planet is he on if he thinks that housing affordability is only a problem for people who want harbour views.
This is CoreLogic’s lastest heat-map of Sydney:
There’s isn’t a suburb within 20km of Sydney CBD where the median value isn’t north of the million dollar mark.
And ok, I’m in the property game so I’ve got a better handle on prices than most, but still. This is hardly a new issue. Negative gearing was one of the defining battlegrounds of the last election.
Here’s a tip for you Barnaby. If they’re asking you about an issue on national radio, it’s not because there’s a handful of disgruntled hipsters in Mosman.
It affects everybody.
Barnaby and co. still seem to be operating on the idea that affordability is just about fussy millennials wanting it all.
It’s not. It’s about people with good jobs who can’t afford to live close to work. It’s about retiring parents being forced to chip in for their kids deposit. It’s about business owners having to pay through the roof for staff because anyone on an entry-level wage can’t live within 20 k’s of work.
Seriously guys. Wake the F up. People are pissed.
Now maybe you have some ideas about what should be done. Maybe you are determined to do absolutely nothing (certainly seems that way).
And that’s ok. But you can’t go around telling people that there isn’t a problem.
It just looks like you’re living in la-la land.
You can’t tell people struggling to buy a unit in Strathfield that maybe they need to give up on the need to have a view of the bridge.
It’s like Joe Hockey’s call last year that people just needed to “get a good job and then get a bank loan.”
Can they really be that out of touch?
In a way Barnaby started out on the right track with his line of thinking.
Part of the problem is that everyone wants to live in Sydney. But then that’s not about views, that’s about jobs.
So that opens the way to any number of solutions if the government was serious about it.
Houses are expensive in Sydney. They’re cheap in Tamworth. Therefore…
… we’re funding regional business infrastructure
… we’re building a high-speed rail network
… we’re building a world-class data network
… we’re going to build a 200m tall pork-barrel in the middle of the Darling Downs.
Whatever, you guys are the politicians. Come up with some solutions. That’s your job.
But, “…we’re going to tell people to harden up and move to Tamworth” is not a solution.
But we keep getting brain farts like this because on housing affordability – one of the hottest topics in the country – the government really has nothing.
Scott Morrison just came back from a junket to London. He went there to learn about housing affordability from one of the most unaffordable cities in the world – another global city that has totally failed its citizens.
And what does he come up with? Nothing. Just a partisan dig at Labor for wanting to look at negative gearing.
“We are determined to do nothing.”
I’m used to governments having nothing to offer on housing affordability. It’s been that way for 20 years. And I do get that the politics is tricky. People want housing to be cheaper, as long as that doesn’t include their house.
But man, these guys are making a total meal of the politics. And it’s not that hard to find a line and stick to it – even if that line is, ‘we’ll have another useless inquiry and get back to you’.
But really, it does make you wonder… We’re not in a safe pair of hands here.
What did you make of Barnaby’s bluster?