Real Estate

Politicians and their real estate investments

The great Australian dream of home ownership is out of reach for many Australians unless they can borrow from the bank of mum and dad. But not so for federal parliamentarians, with many owning second homes, investment properties, and holiday homes.

By Sean Johnson
14 April 2022

Northern Territory Senator Sam McMahon owns nine investment properties - she owned 10 this time last year before selling her Arizona property.

Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews has eight homes, seven of which are investment properties.

Queensland MP Andrew Laming has six investment properties, Victorian MP Gladys Liu five investments, and WA MP Ian Goodenough five commercial properties.

While these parliamentarians are outliers, the table below shows it's common for our elected representatives to own one, two or more properties beyond their primary principal place of residence (PPR), such as a second home in Canberra, a beach house or holiday home, rental property, and commercial real estate.

In total, at least 245 non-PPR real estate holdings have been recorded in the House and Senate interest registers this parliamentary term.

On a party basis, 137 (56%) holdings are held by Coalition MPs and senators, 89 (36%) by ALP representatives, and 19 (<8%) by independents and those from minor parties.

While no one can begrudge politicians for wanting to build their wealth, those Australians without a single home are right to feel aggrieved that many of these holdings would benefit from generous tax treatment like negative gearing (for rentals and holiday/second homes when rented out), capital gains tax concessions, and Travel Allowance (when a politician stays at their Canberra residence).

It's little wonder that abolishing or reducing these tax benefits has proven so hard.