- Joe Hockey caused an uproar for comments made on Tuesday
- Treasurer says ‘get a good job’ as solution to housing affordability crisis
- Hockey responded to critics, insists government is working to create jobs
- Opposition leader Shorten pointed out unemployment is at a 12 year high
- Social media erupted, with Aussies calling Mr Hockey ‘ignorant’
- Many argued that lower income professions like nursing and teaching are crucial to the community
Treasurer Joe Hockey has defended his controversial advice for first home buyers, insisting the federal government is working to create more, better-paying jobs.
‘Let’s not play the man, let’s deal with the policy,’ he told ABC radio on Wednesday, after causing outrage on Tuesday by claiming the starting point for those wanting to buy a house should be getting ‘a good job that pays good money’.
Mr Hockey says he understands that housing is very expensive, as well as the depth of feeling his comments have created.
On Tuesday the treasurer was labelled ‘out of touch’ and ‘ignorant’ for advising Australian first-home owners to ‘get a good job’ in response to the house market affordability crisis.
Social media erupted and Mr Hockey’s political opponents came out in force after his comments, pointing out that Australian families are struggling against both the housing crisis and the highest unemployment rate in more than a decade.
‘The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money,’ Mr Hockey said to journalists in Sydney on Tuesday.
‘If you’ve got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that’s readily affordable.’
Sydney property prices rose a massive 12.4 per cent in 2014 and have continued to surge, climbing a staggering three per cent in March alone.
However, Mr Hockey denied that Sydney has become ‘unaffordable’ – pointing out that people are still buying properties.
‘No. Look, if housing were unaffordable in Sydney, no one would be buying it,’ he argued.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says Mr Hockey has insulted families with a simplistic response.
‘How are Australians supposed to find the good jobs that pay more when unemployment is at its highest levels in more than a decade under his government?’ Mr Shorten told AAP.
Senator Penny Wong labelled Mr Hockey, the federal member in North Sydney, ‘out of touch’.
Senator Wong pointed out that his comments are the latest in a series of embarrassing gaffes from the Treasurer, after he was widely slammed for claiming ‘poor people down own cars or drive very far’ in August 2014.
‘It’s up there with poor people don’t drive cars… Out of touch comments from an out of touch treasurer.’
Greens leader Richard Di Natale said Mr Hockey’s solution would only work in ‘fantasy land’; comparing his comment to the privileged line often attributed to French Queen Marie Antoinette:’let them eat cake’.
‘His mates might be buying the (houses), the big end of town might be buying them,’ he said.
‘(But) I’ve got to tell you, if you’re a young kid trying to get into the housing market, you’re struggling at the moment.
‘We do have a crisis when it comes to housing affordability.’
People on social media took great offence to Mr Hockey’s comments, labeling him ‘ignorant’ and ‘arrogant’.
‘Get a good job that pays good money’ Joe Hockey’s advice to first home buyers. How arrogant (and entitled) can you get. Disgusting,’ tweeted Samuel Hargate.
‘Oh man, why didn’t anyone tell us sooner that all we need to do is get a good job to be able to buy a house? Thanks Joe Hockey, we are saved,’ tweeted Bec Pobjie.
Many people took offence to Mr Hockey’s flippant view of the job market, arguing job security is rare in today’s market.
‘Oh and (by the way) Joe Hockey, unemployment in Australia is the highest in 12 years, so please tell us where your Magical House Buying Jobs are?’ tweeted Oh Errol.
‘Hey Joe Hockey… Could you point me to where these higher-paid jobs are, please? I’ll take three’ tweeted Citizen Grafiti.
Others were incredulous after Mr Hockey failed to acknowledge the value of lower income jobs in society.
‘What’s your message to nurses, teachers, childcare workers? Quit your job and become an investment banker to own a house?’ tweeted Senator Lee Rhiannon.
‘How good is it that Hockey equates a good job with good pay. Hey nurses and teachers, you don’t have good jobs!’ posted Dee Madigan.
Mr Hockey was slammed in 2014 when he and Finance minister Mathias Cormann were caught smoking cigars outside The Treasury in Canberra – just days before the 2014 budget handed down major cuts to Australians.