The prime minister and the treasurer have officially launched the ~scare campaign~ phase of this election by viciously attacking Labor's negative gearing proposals, repeatedly calling it a "housing tax" on "mum and dad investors".
Turnbull and Morrison used a staged visit to a Sydney home on Sunday to finally tell Australia that the government won't touch the system that lets investors use property losses to reduce their tax bill. It meant that the PM and treasurer were now free to start their election pitch.
"Labor's reckless changes will reduce property values; they'll devalue every home, every property, in Australia," said Turnbull.
"It is an extraordinary trifecta of outcomes the Labor Party is proposing in their recklessness. They are going to drive down home values, drive up rents and discourage investment."
Labor announced its proposal earlier this year, suggesting negative gearing would only be allowed on new homes.
When it came for Morrison's turn to talk, the same language kept being repeated over and over, suggesting that it will form the basis of the Coalition's election slogans.
In one instance Morrison was able to use "housing tax" four times in nine sentences.
There's no evidence to suggest Labor's plan is a traditional "tax" at all. A tax would suggest the government is putting in place a new mechanism that collects more money from the public. Labor's plan instead restricts people from reducing their tax bill with large mortgages.
There was also stagecraft on Sunday: The PM and treasurer met "The Mignacca family" who are negatively gearing a house for their one-year-old daughter.
Labor party people said the language must have been ready to roll-out once the government decided not to touch negative gearing.
While former Labor minister Craig Emerson pointed out that the government did briefly flirt with the idea of making changes to the system.
There are several instances from back in February when treasurer Scott Morrison admitted that the system was being exploited, saying "there are excesses in the system."
He was also backed up by government MPs, including Ewen Jones who said, "There are people who have 20 plus houses that are negatively geared. Is that what we envisaged when we bought in negative gearing, the 20 plus houses?"
It's now clear that the election will be fought largely on the issue of house prices, "a housing tax" and through the eyes of aspirational "mum and dad investors". You've got to hand it to them, it's a very Australian scare campaign.
Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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