The Greens MPs who would lose out from the party’s property tax changes
2nd May 2023

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The federal Greens are campaigning for dramatic changes that would axe tax breaks for property investors and implement a two-year rent freeze even though nearly 50 per cent of the party’s federal MPs have at least one investment property.

The balance of power party argues its multiple property-owning MPs have all implemented a rent freeze for their tenants and their tenants include a local charity and family members who would be otherwise unable to afford skyrocketing rents.

Mehreen Faruqi, Elizabeth Watson-Brown and Nick McKim all own multiple investment properties.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

Greens party leader Adam Bandt last week released a policy wish list to tackle surging rents and a tight property market, which included a two-year national rent freeze, abolishing the capital gains discount on assets more than 12 months old, building 225,000 new publicly owned rentals over a decade and axing the negative gearing tax deduction for people who have more than one investment property.

Parliament’s registers of members’ and senators’ interests reveal that seven of the Greens’ 15 MPs and their spouses own 14 investment properties.

The biggest property owners are Greens Treasury spokesman Nick McKim (four), deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi (four) and first-term Queensland MP Elizabeth Watson-Brown (three), while the spouse of justice spokesman David Shoebridge owns three investment properties.

In addition to his home, McKim has declared investment properties in Nubeena and New Norfolk, in Tasmania, and a shack in Nubeena as well.

Over the weekend, McKim personally attacked Anthony Albanese for “forgetting where he came from” after the prime minister promised $240 million to help pay for a new AFL stadium in Hobart.

McKim said the prime minister “should just shut up about his childhood story [growing up in social housing with a single mother] until he commits to raising income support and a decent response to the rental and housing crisis. His mum would probably be living out of a car or a tent these days”.

Faruqi owns a family home with her spouse and has also declared two investment properties, from which she derives income, in Beaconsfield and Port Macquarie in NSW, and a 500 square metre block of land in Lahore, Pakistan.

Watson-Brown, who holds the Brisbane seat of Ryan, has declared an investment property in Auchenflower, Queensland and a holiday flat in Hastings Point, NSW in addition to her family home.

In December, she also declared that she had deleted a deposit paid on a Brisbane city apartment.

Victorian senator Janet Rice has a holiday home in Sisters Beach, Tasmania, in addition to her residence in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray, and invests in Pendal Properties Security Fund, which trades in Australia’s property market.

Queensland senator Penny Allman-Payne owns a home in Gladstone, Queensland, and has declared her former home in Cleveland, Queensland, as an investment property that is rented to a not-for-profit charity.

Tasmanian senator Peter Whish-Wilson owns a house in Trevallyn, Tasmania, while his wife has a property in Bicheno, Tasmania, in her name.

The Greens have threatened to block Labor’s $10 billion Housing Australian Future Fund, which is designed to fund up to 30,000 homes over five years, arguing it will not do enough to increase the supply of affordable housing in Australia.

A spokesman Bandt said that “every single Greens MP in parliament supports a freeze on rent increases, and winding back negative gearing”.

“While we’re waiting for Labor to act on the housing and rental crisis, Greens MPs advise they have frozen the rent for everyone living in a property they own. We need a massive shakeup to make housing affordable in Australia, but it’s important that we do what we can,” he said.

“Housing is a human right – and a renter’s ability to keep their home shouldn’t rely upon the generosity of the person who bought the house.”

Cut through the noise of federal politics with news, views and expert analysis from Jacqueline Maley. Subscribers can sign up to our weekly Inside Politics newsletter here.

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