Barnaby Joyce has broken out in an “embarrassing” exchange of fire with Labor MP Tanya Plibersek on Monday morning, as the government and opposition go head-to-head over housing policies.
Sunrise presenter Natalie Barr said she “felt sorry for the people of Australia trying to figure out what the hell we voted on Saturday” after Joyce and Plibersek failed to answer key questions about housing policy.
It comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced at his official campaign launch on Sunday that first-time homebuyers could access a “sensible” portion of their retirement to secure their first home.
Ms Plibersek said “there is a reason why John Howard, Peter Costello… and Malcolm Turnbull rejected this policy.”
But Joyce said it was a better policy than Labour’s proposal, in which the government would pay 40 per cent of the house, provided would-be buyers met the income threshold.
Mr. Joyce asked Ms. Plibersek if that was taxable or gross income, a question she was unable to answer, and instead attacked the Deputy Prime Minister.
Mr. Joyce grew increasingly frustrated by Ms. Plibersek’s inability to respond.
“How do you not understand your own politics?” she asked her before Mrs. Plibersek finally answered.
“It’s taxable income, I don’t know why it’s so complicated for Barnaby,” he said.
“Somebody just told you that,” Mr. Joyce replied.
Ms Plibersek said she “felt embarrassed” that Mr Joyce was “going on like this”.
Barr said she felt embarrassed that Australians had two meaningless policies to choose from on Saturday.
“I feel sorry for us, because we have to go into those voting booths and we have to try to figure out what the hell we’re voting for,” he said.
Morrison then responded to criticism that by agreeing to the plan, the youngsters would lose their super.
He told Barr it would complement the government’s other policy, which encourages older Australians to downsize to open more homes for young families, a policy Labor actually supports.
Labor does not support the super regime.
“This is a balanced policy that deals with… increasing supply by supporting downsizing, getting more supply on the market and helping young Australians, but it applies to people of any age when they buy their own house to have access to their own money.” Morrison told Channel 7.
“The Labor Party opposed this because they don’t treat groceries like it’s their money, it’s their money. You earned it and you kept it.
“This helps…people to have a stronger retirement but at the same time not miss the opportunity to not wait years and years more.
“(It also) ensures that by having a larger deposit…you’re lowering your mortgage payments…You could save thousands of dollars a year.”