The biggest negative of a PM Shorten
OF ALL the destructive policies to be implemented under a Bill Shorten-led People's Socialist Republic of Australia, there is one that stands out as the most pernicious.
Forget regressive taxation policy that will kill aspiration, the free-for-all that unions will impose on our industrial relations system, the insanity of an emissions reduction target that will send power prices through the roof, and you can even forget the open invitation to people smugglers who will be back in business under Labor's tried and proven soft approach to border protection.
The Shorten policy that will hurt Australians more than any is his plan to "reform'' negative gearing on property investment.
That's the one that Australians should fear the most.
Ironically, it's also the policy that will most hurt young Australians, the very group that Shorten says he's trying to benefit.
You see, when parents work hard all their lives to build a nest egg so that they don't have to rely on a pension, they invariably divest their superannuation into property, or alternatively, use property as part of their self-managed super fund.
Alas, they then die. We all do.
And guess who becomes the major beneficiary of the property portfolio accumulated by the hardworking parents who had the foresight to accumulate a nest egg so that they could live comfortably in retirement?
You guessed it. The kids get the inheritance. And so the cycle continues, where they can set themselves up to pass on their nest egg to their children, once again taking the burden off the welfare system.
Don't just take my word for it. Andrew Bell is the long-time principal of Ray White Surfers Paradise, one of the best-performing property franchises in Australia over the past 30 years.
What he doesn't know about property is not worth knowing. Bell was in business in Sydney when former prime minister Paul Keating abolished negative gearing.
He saw firsthand the debacle it caused across all sectors of the property market.
He says while it sounds like Shorten is attacking the rich, the biggest impact will be on lower and middle-income earners and the average Australian family.
Bell says if you study the figures closely on who uses negative gearing - as he does regularly - the great majority are average Australian battlers who are simply trying to break out of dependency on the government and be self sufficient by providing for their own retirement.
They would never be able to buy a property without negative gearing.
Shorten's argument will be they can buy new developments which will have negative gearing, but they are of course far more expensive than most resale properties.
Bell says they will also be driving a significantly higher number of investors into new developments, which have risks associated with having so many investors in one area or one complex.
There is danger in having a higher proportion of investors targeting newer homes or units. Bell says the untold story of abolishing negative gearing will be its social impact.
He says, for example, it will drive investors away from buying in places like Ashmore, Southport and Labrador on the Gold Coast, predominantly second-hand suburbs, into areas like Pimpama and Coomera where most of the new developments are under way.
It means a shortage of investment properties in the central areas will spark rapidly rising rents as competition for those central suburbs drive rental values higher.
Bell argues this will change the social circumstances of many tenants who will be forced to move to the outer suburbs, far from friends and work.
This is more than eliminating negative gearing. It is about social engineering, forcing change on the people that Labor say they are trying to help.
This is poor policy and it will backfire spectacularly on Australia if Shorten gets his hands on the keys to The Lodge.
Insurance firms drag their feet
A FEW weeks back, this column examined the disappointing behaviour of a number of insurance companies.
Their lack of empathy centred on the theft of five tow trucks in NSW. Each owner was insured by various insurance companies. The thief stole and then rebadged each tow truck so that their VINs did not register on any database as being stolen.
Each of the five tow trucks were then purchased by innocent members of the public in Queensland.
The insurers for each tow truck then paid their owners out in full for the theft of their vehicles.
The stolen vehicles were subsequently located after being bought by innocent parties, and three of the insurers, for four of the tow trucks, have each claimed ownership.
They are seeking the return of the tow trucks and the innocent buyers were to lose the vehicles and their purchase price.
All were battlers and losing the trucks would send them broke.
Enter Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert, who wrote to the insurance company bosses, suggesting they should exercise compassion and for the sake of $20,000, give the trucks back to those unsuspecting souls who were ripped off.
Two of the insurance companies have heeded Robert's pleas and will give the tow trucks back to the innocent parties.
We are still waiting on advice from the other two insurers who have been asked to adopt a similar compassionate stance.
The other key player in all this is a mystery lawyer, who took it upon himself to seek justice for those that had been duped.
New turns in inquest
THERE have been raised eyebrows among some in the legal fraternity at the way the inquest into the Dreamworld tragedy is unfolding.
The suggestion is that some involved in the inquiry are searching for a "silver bullet'' on why this happened.
Evidence presented thus far points to a catastrophic event, an accident waiting to happen, and fresh safety provisions will quite rightly be the cornerstone of the report's major recommendations.
Rough end of runway
THE cheapest Qantas airfares from Longreach to Brisbane continue to hover around the $1000 mark.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison was briefed on the airfare debacle during his tour last week of Queensland.
Katter's Australian Party state leader Robbie Katter believes Queensland should conduct an inquiry into airfare pricing in regional Queensland.
"The Queensland Government has fallen very short of what the community expects of them,'' he said.
Fixing regional airfare disparities would fit into the Premier's goal of not dividing the state.
Risk of death everpresent
THE animal activists say it's time we banned the Melbourne Cup.
While we're at it, let's ban polo, rugby league, rugby union, the AFL, bull riding, driving cars on the road, going to concerts, swimming in the ocean, flying on airplanes, drinking beer, eating steak, having sex, smoking, swearing, playing golf ... let's just end the human race, shall we?
Everything we do has risk. Everything. As you read this, a lion will be devouring a zebra in the wilds of Africa.
Meanwhile, still no word on a new greyhound track for the southeast.
Courtroom drama looming
WITH defamation the new black in legal circles, expect a cavalcade of high-profile witnesses to be rolled out at a court case soon in Brisbane.
Those to be subpoenaed may find the witness box somewhat uncomfortable.
Expect legal and political figures to be implicated in what will be an incendiary courtroom drama.
Bite out of market
THE debate about sharks killing people in our most popular tourism destinations is now farcical.
Why would any modern, progressive society decline to use technology like shark nets and drumlines to mitigate against shark attack when it is available?
Visitor numbers to the Whitsundays will fall off the back of the three attacks in Cid Harbour. And don't give me this bulldust that it's complicated. It's not.
Drumlines and netting stop attacks. Look at the Gold Coast. No fatal shark attacks there since the nets, and drumlines went up 56 years ago.