LISA WILKINSON: Joining us now is Liberal Senator Jane Hume, who has just got off a flight at Melbourne airport.Thank you so much for joining us, Senator. Super is meant for retirement. Is it really responsible to be encouraging young Aussies to go for short-term gain when they could end up with long-term financial pain?
JANE HUME: Actually, this isn't short-term gain for long-term pain - quite the opposite. In fact, one of the greatest indicators of economic security in retirement is whether you own your own home. Moreover, this policy allows you to take money out of superannuation now to help you buy that first home but, when you sell the home, you put the money back into superannuation, plus any capital gains. This is different from Anthony Albanese’s policy because, in his policy, the government owns your house. Whereas in the coalition's policy, you own your own home and you save money for your retirement.
RACHEL CORBETT: The whole point of super being locked away is that it's forced savings so that when people reach retirement they aren't relying on the public purse. And if young people are really desperate to get into the housing market and you’re releasing this, that brings in emotional complications - it could mean they don't have enough super at the end. Aren't you kicking the problem down the road for a government in 40 years?
HUME: No not at all. In fact, most people own their first home for somewhere between 8 and 11 years. Of course, when you sell your home, that money goes back into your superannuation, plus the capital gain that you've made. Moreover, when you buy your first home, it creates stability, it creates certainty and economic security during your working life. It improves your quality of life during your working life but because it goes back into super at the end when you sell the home, you're also improving your standard of living, your economic security, in your retired life as well.
HAMISH MCDONALD: Jane, just wondering if this is actually a trap for young Australians. Because on the one hand, you're saying, "use this money now to buy your home. Don't have that stashed away in your super." Then at the end, you're saying, "you can sell your house and put the money back into super." That means actually you have to sell your house if you want to retire in order to have enough super to retire. This is a trap, isn’t it?
HUME: No, quite the opposite, Hamish. In fact, you can already invest in an investment property from your superannuation. This just allows you to invest in your home - the first home that you...
MCDONALD: I understand that, Senator. But obviously, the implications for someone nearing retirement having to sell an investment property to live off is different to them having to sell their own home in order to be able to have enough super to retire. You can see the problem here for young Australians, can't you?
HUME: Actually, this is an opportunity for young Australians that I wish existed when I was saving up for my first home. Because not only can you put some of that savings - that's your savings, remember - $1 in $10 of everything you earn goes into your superannuation – not only is it your savings that you can then put into your home, but because you’ve got more equity in your home your principal and interest repayments are lower. So you've got more money in your pocket throughout your working life while living in that home, and then you put the money back into superannuation when you sell it at the end when you move into a bigger home or when downsize when you've finished working life.
MCDONALD: Millions of Australians will be eligible for this. Will it put upward pressure on house prices?
HUME: We expect around 100,000 or so Australians to buy their first home every year. Actually, even if they took out the maximum amount and they bought the median value of a home - around $600,000 - that's only a very small proportion - less than 1% - of our $9.9 trillion property market. So we don't think it's going to put upward pressure on prices.
MCDONALD: You don't think this will lead to higher house prices? Because that’s the opposite of what economists seem to think.
HUME: It might bring forward some of the decisions that people were making. It might bring forward some of the decisions people that were saving for a home, were already making – people who've got that 5% deposit together - once they can access their own superannuation savings as well, maybe they'll make a decision to get into a home sooner. So, perhaps temporarily, but it should work out in the long run and shouldn't put any extra pressure on prices. Most importantly, we're going to see more Australians get the opportunity to enter the housing market for the first time.
ROVE MCMANUS: Ok, I’ll be interested to see how that plays out. Look, I know you've got somewhere to be. Before you do, I'd like to check - we showed earlier in the show opposition leader Anthony Albanese struggling to make small talk around birthdays. What's your go-to with small talk out there on the campaign trail? Do you have any advice?
HUME: (laughs) small talk... I'm actually pretty good at small talk. I can shoot the breeze with just about anybody.
MCMANUS: I've got a coffee around a table. What have you got for me? Lay it down!
HUME: Hey. Nice-looking tie you're wearing today.
MCMANUS: I missed that. The audience was laughing. But I assume it was something. I was captivated by your jacket, and that was enough. Well done.
WILKINSON: And the Senator, in turn, likes your tie.
MCMANUS: What beautiful small talk we just did - snap!
WILKINSON: Senator Jane Hume, we'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much for your time.