Josh Frydenberg has stumbled on housing during a live TV interview – telling Today Show host Karl Stefanovic to ‘do the math’ even though he is the Federal Treasurer.
Mr Frydenberg copped a grilling from Stefanovic when he appeared on the program on Tuesday to discuss the Coalition’s proposal to allow Aussies to withdraw up to $50,000 from their superannuation to buy their first property if re-elected.
Mr Frydenberg – who’s in grave danger of being ousted from his Melbourne seat of Kooyong this Saturday – was repeatedly quizzed about modelling for the Super Home Buyer proposal, amid analysts’ claims the scheme will see property prices skyrocket.
He dodged the question four times before an exasperated Stefanovic shut down the interview when the Treasurer told him ‘to do the math.’
‘No, offence, it’s not my job to do the math and I would not be any good at it. That’s up to you guys. Thanks for your time, Treasurer,’ Stefanovic fired back.
Karl Stefanovic (left) clashed with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg over the Coalition’s proposed Super Home Buyer scheme
Mr Frydenberg said the Coalition’s proposal would have an ‘immaterial’ impact on prices as first home buyers make up a $5billion portion of a $700billion housing market.
‘What does immaterial mean? Does that mean a small amount? I don’t understand that. Will prices go up or not?,’ Stefanovic asked.
The treasurer’s response – essentially saying that it was a drop in a bucket – sparked more questions.
‘Have you modelled the effect of the scheme on housing prices or was it just a little bit of bubble and squeak,’ Stefanovic asked.
‘We’ve worked through this for some time, it didn’t just happen overnight,’ Mr Frydenberg began.
Stefanovic interrupted: ‘Have you done the modelling?
The treasurer replied : ‘No,…we’ve looked at it, and treasury has looked at it.’
‘We’ve had the HomeBuilder scheme, which has seen more than 100,000 people get into their own home, the home loan guarantee scheme which saw more than 120,000 people get into their first home and the downsizer contributions we announced on the weekend which will allow 1.3 million more families be able to access this scheme to downsize their home, which brings more supply in.’
Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg (pictured with his family at a recent campaign launch) is at risk of losing his seat this Saturday
A bemused Stefanovic tried a third time.
‘I just don’t know whether you’re answering the question. Have you done the modelling yet on the effect on housing prices or not?’ he asked.
Mr Frydenberg replied: ‘Well, we understand the impact it’s going to have on the housing market and when it comes to prices, it will be immaterial or marginal and we’ve heard that from the Property Council just yesterday.’
Stefanovic interjected to ask one final time had he done the modelling.
‘Well, we’ve understood the impact on the housing market and again, it’s, 100,000 buyers into the housing market,’ Mr Frydenberg said.
‘We’re saying you can access a maximum $50,000.
‘So that means if every single person accesses it, that’s $5 billion a year. Now, every year there is $700 billion of transactions in the residential housing market.
‘So, Karl, you do the math – five billion versus $700 billion.’
That was when Stefanovic ended the interview.
A bemused Karl Stefanovic (pictured) asked the Treasurer about the Coalition’s modelling for the Super Home Buyer proposal amid analysts’ claims the scheme will see prices skyrocket
It comes a day after Labor frontbencher Tanya Plibersek stumbled live on air, failing to answer a key question about the party’s housing policy for close to two excruciating minutes.
On Sunrise on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce asked Ms Plibersek on if Labor’s policy to help first homebuyers, by buying a stake in their properties, applied to voters’ taxable or gross income.
It was an answer Plibersek, the party’s education spokeswoman, refused to directly address for much of the segment, leading Joyce to erupt ‘which one is it Tanya?!’ and Barr to say she felt sorry for Australian voters.
The two senior politicians were each grilled about their policies on helping first homebuyers, after the Coalition proposed a plan to allow Aussie families to withdraw up to $50,000 from their superannuation to buy their first property.
Labor is proposing the Federal government would contribute up to 40 per cent of the purchase price of a first home.
The plan would be only be accessible to voters on a taxable income of up to $90,000 per annum for singles, or $120,000 for couples.
Taxable income is gross income minus allowable deductions, while gross income is your income before deductions.
That was a fact Ms Plibersek stumbled over when grilled by Barr and Nationals Leader Mr Joyce over whether the policy applied to taxable or gross income.
‘Which one is it Tanya?! It’s your policy,’ an exasperated Mr Joyce asked.
‘Can you explain your policy? It’s the last week of the election!’
Mr Joyce became increasingly frustrated as Ms Plibersek dodged whether it was based on taxable or gross income by firing potshots at him.
‘You are such amateur hour,’ Mr Joyce snapped back.
‘How do you not understand your own policy?’
Barr piled onto Ms Plibersek, asking: ‘Can you answer the question?’
Several questions later, Ms Plibersek eventually confirmed Labor’s policy was based on taxable income.
Mr Joyce implied she was given the answer by a staffer off-camera.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured with his family on Sunday)
A fed up Barr summed it up best as she wrapped up to the trainwreck segment, much to the disappointment of Ms Plibersek who wanted to discuss Labor’s campaign launch.
‘Can anyone feel sorry for the people of Australia this morning, trying to work out what on earth we are voting on this Saturday,’ Barr said.
Ms Plibersek added ‘I feel embarrassed the deputy Prime Minister carries on like that, I really do.’
Barr fired back: ‘I feel sorry for us, because we’ve got to walk into those polling booths and we have to try and work out what on earth we’re voting on!’
Earlier in the segment, Ms Plibersek slammed Coalition’s housing policy previously rejected by two former prime ministers and that it would see house prices skyrocket.
‘There is a reason why John Howard, Peter Costello… and Malcolm Turnbull rejected this policy,’ Ms Plibersek said.
‘All the Liberals in the past have rejected it because you shouldn’t have to choose between housing today and poverty in old age.’
She added Aussies would have less superannuation to retire on.
‘Scott Morrison and his government have been around for almost a decade. It’s harder to buy a home, it’s harder to rent and it’s more expensive and there’s more homeless Australians than ever.’
‘Six days out from an election, in desperation he picks up a housing policy which has been rejected by previous Liberal leaders.’
Under the Coalition’s plan $50,000 can be withdrawn from superannuation to put towards a home but critics said this would only drive up prices (stock image)
Mr Joyce fired back, arguing the Coalition’s policy was far better than the Labor alternative, which he described as ‘Fidel Castro politics’.
‘The Labor party has a policy that the government pays for 40 per cent of your house and apparently that’s a incredibly good idea for the government to own your house,’ he said.
‘We’re saying you can own your own house.’
‘If you want to talk about poverty, it’s getting to old age and not having a house, that’s the riskiest thing that can happen in your life.’
‘People with their own money, their own super should be allowed to do what they like with their money.’
Home ownership policy explained
The Coalition has proposed a Super Home Buyer scheme to allow Aussie families to withdraw up to $50,000 from their superannuation to buy their first property if re-elected.
First home buyers will be able to dip into their superannuation and use up to 40 per cent of their savings or up to $50,000 to buy a new house.
The money can be withdrawn to be used on existing or new homes.
If the house is sold, the money taken out to invest in the home will be returned into the superannuation account, including a share of any capital gain.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed the scheme would slash the average time it took to save for a home by three years.
Labor has proposed an alternative home ownership policy, where its government would contribute up to 40 per cent of the purchase price of a first home.
The Help to Buy scheme would be only be accessible to voters on a taxable income of up to $90,000 per annum for singles, or $120,000 for couples.
Eligible homebuyers will get an equity contribution of up to 40 per cent of the purchase price of a new home and up to 30 per cent of the purchase price for an existing home.
The homebuyer will need to have a deposit of 2 per cent and qualify for a standard home loan with a participating lender to finance the remainder of the purchase.
During the loan period the homebuyer can buy out part of all of the government’s stake in the home when they are able to do so.