Joe Hockey's 'get a good job with good money' comment fails the common sense test yet again

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Last night, ABC screened the first episode of The Killing Season, which will serve as a painful reminder of the leadership chaos Australia endured under the previous Labor government.

Or at least, it should have that effect, but the talk over kitchen tables around Australia this morning is just as likely to be about Joe Hockey’s gross oversimplification of the Australian housing market.

The two key soundbites that will be replayed on the nightly news are: “Look, if housing were unaffordable in Sydney, no one would be buying it”, and, when asked about the high barrier to entry for first-time buyers, the Treasurer said: “The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money.”

This is straight out of the literally-true-but-politically-clueless Hockey playbook that brought us the wisdom that poor people don’t drive cars very much, compared to the wealthy. This is statistically true across the aggregate of populations in developed countries, but tell it to the guy who’s struggling to make ends meet and spends four hours or more a day in his car.

Likewise, run those quotes past someone who’s on a decent wage in Sydney but is seeing the median house price break through the $1 million barrier, or the young person who is just thankful to have a job and may see themselves starting a career like counselling or nursing where the entry-level wages aren’t spectacular anyway.

One senior Liberal operative said yesterday: “What is annoying is that you have Shorten… at the Royal Commission, Rudd and Gillard tearing each other apart on the Killing Fields on ABC TV this week, and Joe stuffs it all up, yet again.”

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