Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been likened to a chipmunk by an opposition MP. The lawmaker was responding to the scare campaign against Labor’s negative gearing policy by the PM and Coalition.
In his comments, the opposition frontbencher Ed Husic rated the PM a poor aggressor when compared to his predecessor, Tony Abbott. According to him, the coalition once had in Tony Abbott the “Cujo of attack dogs” in a veiled reference to the rabid dog featured in Stephen King fiction.
“Now they’ve replaced (him) with the Alvin and the Chipmunks variety in Malcolm Turnbull (and) he doesn’t have it in him to do this kind of thing,” the MP told reporters in Canberra on Wednesday, reports News Corp.
Labor’s negative gearing policy seems to be bothering the coalition too much because of the mixed messages that are coming from the government. Labor’s policy targets new properties for gearing after a proposed 2017 amendment, but the government calls it “poorly designed” and a wrecker of house prices.
Turnbull is attacking the Opposition for the plans for winding back negative gearing by calling it a “wrecking ball” for house prices.
However, the PM’s own take on the issue has been contradicted by Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer. She told Channel Seven that Labor’s proposal would not dent house prices but would rather jack up the cost of housing.
“They have got a policy that is going to increase the cost of housing for all Australians, for those people who own a home and for those people who would like to get into the housing market through their negative gearing policy,” she said.
However, O’Dwyer retracted later with a clarification. According to ABC News, she said her reference was to the anticipated “increased demand for new property.”
Turnbull also said O’Dwyer’s comments might have been related to new housing wherein the new housing forms only a small part of the housing stock. Established buildings are the “vast bulk” of housing and they are facing the risk of cuts.
“It is the most ill-thought out, reckless economics,” Turnbull said. The PM said the real danger is that it will smash housing-values as the demand for existing houses start falling. Eventually it will push up the price of new developments, reports ABC News.