/Ministers come out of hiding as first home buyers get election boost

Ministers come out of hiding as first home buyers get election boost

Updated

May 12, 2019 16:39:38

Mother’s Day is a time when families get together across the country.

The same can now be said for the federal Coalition, which marked the day with a frontbench reunion rarely seen in the campaign to date.

Mothers might be great (just ask the Prime Minister) but that wasn’t what had brought them together.

Here was a federal Government keen to make its pitch to voters, officially launching its campaign less than a week out from polling day.

The Environment Minister was there — defying the critics who’ve accused the Coalition of putting her in witness protection.

So too was the Home Affairs Minister, a man Labor is keen to highlight in Melbourne given his past statements about African gangs and his role in toppling former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Both Cabinet ministers have had low-key roles in the election for varying reasons.

Peter Dutton is in the political fight of his life to retain his Queensland seat Dickson.

You could be forgiven for thinking Melissa Price was in a similar battle, having largely spent the campaign at home despite sitting on a healthy margin in Durack in WA.

But the day wasn’t about them, as distracting as their presence might have been.

It was about the mothers and Scott Morrison’s pitch to voters.

“How good’s Mum? How good’s Jenny?” the Prime Minister offered as he took to the stage having been introduced by his mother, wife and daughters.

What came next was a mother reference a minute for the first 15 minutes of his speech.

With the mothers cared for, the Prime Minister turned his attention to the battle at hand.

Labor, he insisted, would wreck the economy, drive up taxes and blow out the nation’s debt.

He offered millions for perinatal care and then turned to his campaign greatest hits.

Mr Morrison added to his regular stump speech with a one-two punch on housing.

He attacked the Opposition over its planned changes to negative gearing, a proposal he insisted would slash property prices.

“We want to help make the dreams of first home buyers a reality,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr Morrison then pledged first home buyers would only need a 5 per cent deposit, instead of the industry standard 20 per cent, to help them get into the market.

Under the plan, the Government would guarantee the loan for the difference between their deposit (at least 5 per cent) and the 20 per cent threshold, which would mean home buyers wouldn’t have to pay mortgage insurance.

“They will still do all the normal checks on the borrowers to make sure they can meet their repayments,” Mr Morrison said.

“This isn’t free money.

“This scheme will be available to buyers with an income of up to $125,000 or a couple with $200,000, where they are both first home buyers.”

Labor, which launched its campaign last week, has since said it would match the policy if elected.

The seats shaping the election

The final week of the campaign will see the major party leaders focusing their efforts on the seats they think will determine the election.

The Coalition has given its greatest hint where it thinks its path to victory is.

“There are certainly opportunities in terms of Tasmania and the Northern Territory, parts of regional Queensland, parts of suburban and regional New South Wales,” Coalition spokesman Simon Birmingham said.

“These are all key areas, and I think the message for every Australian as we head into the last week is this is going to be a close election.”

It needs to win more seats than it currently holds if it’s to form majority government.

Currently, Labor holds all the Lower House seats in Tasmania and the NT.

“Australians are tuning in, people are making up their minds,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told his supporters in Melbourne.

“In the final sprint to the finish line, the choice becomes clearer every day.

“On one hand, three more years like the last six. Or on the other hand, real change for the better with a new Labor government on May 18.”

Mr Shorten also renewed his attack on News Corp, which started the political attention on mothers early when The Daily Telegraph attacked the story he offered about his mum.

“You could pick up the front page of that paper some days and all that’s changed is the date at the top,” he told the ABC’s Insiders.

“They are campaigning against Labor.”

Road and rail funding for Melbourne

Once Liberal Party heartland, eastern Melbourne has been a major battleground in the campaign to date.

Voters in that city woke to newspaper headlines offering major cash splashes for road and rail projects.

Mr Shorten said he would spend $15 billion over 15 years to help fund a suburban rail loop, a project Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews unveiled during his re-election effort last year.

Mr Morrison, meanwhile, pledged $4 billion for Melbourne’s shelved East-West Link road project, even though the state Labor Government has ruled out its construction.

Russell Crowe gets political

It’s Rob Oakeshott’s shout if he ever runs into actor Russell Crowe in a northern NSW cafe.

The Hollywood star is keen to see the independent return to politics and has thrown his support behind him on Twitter.

“Coffs Harbour. We’ve got big issues concerning us all,” he tweeted to his 2.71 million followers.

He cited healthcare and infrastructure as the biggest issues confronting the area.

“Think independently. Oakeshott for Cowper,” he said.

Mr Oakeshott, the one-time kingmaker who helped Labor form government in 2010, said he humbly accepted the support.

“This is totally out of the blue and rest assured if I ever run into him, I’ll be offering to buy him a coffee, because that kind of support is greatly appreciated,” he said.

The outcome of that support will become clear when voters go to the polls in six days.

Topics:

government-and-politics,

federal-elections,

australia

First posted

May 12, 2019 16:29:14