Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is “inept at running a scare campaign”, Labor says, after he contradicted himself while fighting against its negative gearing policy.
Mr Turnbull on Thursday argued the Opposition’s proposal would favour wealthy investors, despite on Wednesday saying “all investors would be gone”.
The government has already made two clarifications this week during debate about Labor’s tax plans.
The Opposition’s plan would restrict negative gearing to new properties from mid-2017, while protecting existing landlords.
But investors would be able to purchase established homes after 2017 and claim losses against investment income, like shares.
Mr Turnbull told Question Time: “Whether deliberately or ignorantly, [shadow treasurer Chris Bowen] has served to give a privileged position to those with substantial investment incomes.”
On Wednesday, Mr Turnbull told Parliament: “This will eliminate all investors from the established property market.”
Labor has leapt on the change in argument.
“Well, I think the most charitable way of describing the Prime Minister this week in Question Time has been chaotic,” shadow assistant treasurer Andrew Leigh said.
“They’ve resorted to running cheap and contradictory scare campaigns on our policies.”
Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer on Wednesday was forced to issue a clarification after saying the Opposition’s negative gearing policy would increase house prices, despite the Prime Minister saying home values would be smashed.
“You heard yesterday them running two different scare campaigns: that Labor’s negative gearing/capital gains tax policy would drive house prices up and down,” Dr Leigh said.
“And then again this week they seem to be saying it’s going to increase inequality and decrease inequality.”
Mr Turnbull on Monday told Parliament “increasing capital gains tax (CGT) is no part of our thinking whatsoever”, before it was revealed the government was considering cutting the CGT discount for superannuation funds.
Mr Turnbull said on Tuesday that his remarks related only to Labor’s proposal.