Treasurer Joe Hockey has refused to apologise for remarks earlier this week, where he said homes in Sydney are not unaffordable, and that all first homebuyers need to do is to get a high-paying job.
Hockey, however, seemed to have retracted somewhat in less than 24 hours, saying he "totally understands" housing in Sydney and Melbourne is expensive.
Despite this new comment, Hockey was firm in accusing his critics of "playing the man" with regards to his comment on getting a high-paying job, which was likened to the infamous “let them eat cake” remark.
The Treasurer also dismissed claims he was out of touch by recalling how he purchased his first unit when interest rates
were higher than the historic lows they are at now, the Sydney Morning Herald
"I understand the depth of feeling, of course I do … yes it is difficult for first home
buyers to get into the market," Hockey was quoted as saying.
"For a lot of people, a lot of Australians in Sydney and Melbourne, some other parts of Australia, housing is very expensive and I understand that. I totally understand that. When you're committing so much of your wage to your mortgage it's a big ask, with all the other pressures in life.
"They're good jobs and we want those jobs to be even better. That's what we're working towards," he said of lower-paying public service jobs like nursing and policing.
Hockey has previously commented that poor people would be less affected by the government’s increase to the fuel tax because they do not own cars.
"The more the Treasurer talks the more he just confirms how out of touch he is," Labor’s Treasury Spokesman Chris Bowen told Fairfax Media.
"His comments this morning simply add to the view that he simply doesn't get it. People trying to buy their first home have every right to be angry with this arrogant and insulting Treasurer."
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