‘Quick quiz’: Question Peter Dutton can’t answer


Peter Dutton has stumbled on breakfast television over his new Australia-first migration policy, revealing he was unable to say how many foreigners brought homes in Australia last year.

Hitting back at Labor’s claims he is the Darth Vader of Australian politics by hitting the immigration button to win the next election, Mr Dutton was spruiking the policy on Friday morning.

But he stumbled when former Labor leader Bill Shorten repeatedly hit him with a simple question.

“Quick quiz for Peter Dutton,” Mr Shorten said.

“He says he’s going to stop foreigners buying houses over the next two years. I just wonder how many, if he knows how many foreigners bought houses in the last two years. Over to you, Pete.”

But Mr Dutton was repeatedly unable to answer the question, eventually conceding it wasn’t very many houses.

“What about the question I asked you? I’ll repeat the question,” Mr Shorten said.

Mr Dutton said, “Well, Bill, a couple of points, one is that we say that in the first year, 40,000 homes will be freed up. So the number of people who are foreign citizens, who are buying houses in our country is low, but nonetheless it contributes to an overall shortage of housing in our country. When you combine it all together, when you combine it all together it is pretty significant.”

Mr Shorten then interjected that the true number of houses bought by foreigners was a drop in the ocean.

“I’ll tell you how low it is, it’s less than 5000,” he said.

‘Dangerous course’

It came after Mr Dutton pledged to slash the migration rate by 140,000 to address the housing shortage, directly linking the number of migrants and overseas students to rising rents.

In his budget in reply speech designed to outline his alternative plan for the nation, the Liberal leader accused Anthony Albanese of putting Australia on “a dangerous course”.

And the former cop promised to tackle knife crime in the wake of a series of shocking attacks across the country and tighten bail laws to address domestic violence.

Mr Dutton accused Mr Albanese of wasting $450 million on the referendum that also “divided the nation”.

“Electricity bills haven’t gone down by $275 as was pledged on 97 occasions – they’ve skyrocketed,’’ he said.

“The Treasurer will give you a $300 rebate, but he knows full well that your annual electricity bills have increased by up to $1000 since Labor formed the government.”

Migration and mortgages

Pledging to get Australia “back on track”, he revealed if elected the Coalition would cut the permanent migration intake to 140,000 and reduce international student numbers to address supply pressures and help free-up 100,000 homes for Australians.

“Interest rates have gone up 12 times under Labor. A typical Australian household with a mortgage is $35,000 worse off,’’ he said.

“And that’s if you’re lucky enough to own a home.

“Under this Prime Minister, the great Australian dream of home ownership has turned into a nightmare.

“Even finding somewhere to rent is near impossible.”

Mr Dutton said the government had brought in an additional 923,000 migrants in just two years. But on the available data, it has only built 265,000 homes.

The Albanese government this week decreased the permanent migration intake from 190,000 this financial year to 185,000 in 2024-25.

“We believe that by rebalancing the migration program and taking decisive action on the housing crisis, the Coalition would free up more than 100,000 additional homes over the next five years,’’ Mr Dutton said.

“First, we will implement a two-year ban on foreign investors and temporary residents purchasing existing homes in Australia.

“Second, we will reduce the permanent migration program by 25 per cent – from 185,000 to 140,000 for the first two years in recognition of the urgency of this crisis.”

Super for homes

Mr Dutton said the great Australian aspiration of home ownership had become out of reach for many.

“It’s wonderful that parents who have the financial means can help their kids into a home,’’ he said.

“But I will never accept a situation where the only people who can afford to buy a home are people with rich parents.

“The Coalition has already recommitted to allowing Australians to access up to $50,000 of their super to buy their first home.

“The money initially withdrawn from super will need to be returned to support retirement.

“But we need to do more. Australians are struggling to find homes to rent and buy – and not always due to a lack of money.”

Refugees

Mr Dutton said he also planned to reduce the refugee intake.

“Similarly, we will return the refugee and humanitarian program planning level to 13,750,’’ he said.

“The humanitarian program will remain one of the most generous in the world on a per capita basis.

“Third, we will reduce excessive numbers of foreign students studying at metropolitan universities to relieve stress on rental markets in our major cities.

“We will work with universities to set a cap on foreign students.”

Tackling online crime

Mr Dutton also pledged to tackle law and order warning there had been a big uptick in young Australians committing, filming and uploading their crimes to social media.

“A Coalition Government will make it an offence to post criminal acts online,’’ he said.

“Those convicted will be banned from using digital platforms and liable for up to two years’ imprisonment.

“As a father of three children who all grew up in the digital age, I’m troubled by the material our children are exposed to.

“At the fingertips of our children is a concerning volume of sexually explicit and violent material, as well as content designed to indoctrinate.

“We welcome the Government’s belated decision to back our policy for an age verification trial.”

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