News Election 2016 ‘I forgot I owned a $2.3m property’: Labor figure
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‘I forgot I owned a $2.3m property’: Labor figure

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The Coalition is dining out on Labor powerbroker David Feeney’s failure to register a $2.31 million negatively geared property in Melbourne’s inner north.

The key Bill Shorten backer and one of the “faceless men” behind the 2010 coup against Kevin Rudd, forgot to declare the property despite having been an outspoken critic of negative gearing in the past.

Fairfax Media has reported that the Labor powerbroker said he didn’t know if the house was negatively geared – despite Labor’s proposed changes to property tax rules being a key election issue – but subsequently confirmed to News Corp that it was negatively geared.

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Mr Feeney also admitted the renovations he claimed had prevented him from living in the home have not actually begun.

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said it highlighted an “hypocrisy” in Labor’s negative-gearing policy.

“Under Labor’s policy on negative gearing, all of those Labor members of Parliament that are negatively gearing existing investment properties will be able to continue to do so while they’re taking that opportunity from everybody else,” Mr Cormann said.

Fairfax reported that four-bedroom home in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote is described as having “spectacular city views” and an “abundance of period charm” on a “colossal” 900sqm block, and is in Mr Feeney’s inner city electorate of Batman.

The home is on top of a swish East Melbourne apartment that he owns with his wife bought for $2.875 million in 2010 in the Greens-held seat of Melbourne.

The revelation will undoubtedly form a large part of the Liberals’ messaging today, with negative-gearing being a hot-button issue between the two parties. It also damages Labor’s strategy of attacking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull over his perceived wealth and privilege.

The news may also see Mr Feeney in hot water with the Parliament. Despite reportedly updating his register twice in 2015, on neither occasion did Mr Feeney declare the Northcote house. The rules of Parliament state that MPs must declare all property, shares and gifts worth more than $300 be reported within 28 days.

He has, though, declared his East Melbourne property as well as an investment property in Seddon in Melbourne’s inner west bought for $380,000 in 2004.

Mr Feeney has been an outspoken critic of negative gearing, saying the top 20 per cent of ­income earners get 70 per cent of the benefits from the concessions. He labelled it a “scheme for rich ­investors that reduces housing ­affordability” and cited reports claiming the rules cost ordinary taxpayers $310 a year by giving tax breaks to investors.

– with ABC

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