The majority of federal politicians are in a class of their own when it comes to property ownership, with many holding sizeable portfolios that most of their constituents could only ever dream of.
As the clock ticks down to polling day, we combed through the publicly available Registers of Interest for more than 200 members of parliament and senators to see just how many moguls occupy seats in parliament.
Turns out, there are quite a lot of them.
Australian polls love property
Our analysis found that 205 politicians in the federal parliament own a total of 421 homes between them.
That’s an average of 2.05 homes each.
Of those 421 homes, 254 are declared as either primary or secondary owner-occupied residences, while a further 167 are declared as investments.
This place is packed full of property moguls, new analysis reveals. Picture: Getty
Delving into the information a little more closely, we found that 135 – or 65% – of pollies own two or more homes.
That’s a big number compared to the general population, where only around 20% of people own two or more properties, according to the most recent Australian Taxation Office data.
However, it’s worth noting that many politicians maintain second homes – usually apartments – in the Canberra area for work reasons.
Only seven politicians declared no real estate ownership, meaning 96.6% of politicians are homeowners.
For the average Australian, home ownership sits at around 66%, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistic figures.
About 66% of Aussies own property. For federal parliamentarians, that figure is 96%. Picture: Getty
Politicians are aggressive investors
The analysis revealed that 103 federal politicians declared ownership of at least one investment property.
That means a little over 50% of them are active landlords.
Labor politicians have the highest average home ownership
When it comes to the Liberal and National parties, 100 Coalition politicians own 209 homes and investment properties, for an average of 2.09 homes each.
On the other side of the aisle, 84 Labor politicians own 182 homes and investment properties, which is an average of 2.16 homes each.
And 21 minor party politicians and independents own 30 homes and investment properties, for an average of 1.42 homes each.
Who are our political property moguls?
While 65% of federal politicians have at least two homes, there are a number who have eye-watering property portfolios, with Liberal Party politicians leading the way.
At the top of the list is Karen Andrews, the Liberal member for McPherson in Queensland, who declares six properties, including a residence in her electorate in Clear Island Waters, and investment properties in Palm Beach, Queensland; Ayr, Queensland; Deniliquin, New South Wales; Kalgoorlie, Western Australia; and Clear Island Waters, Queensland.
Liberal MP Karen Andrews is one of parliament’s top property moguls. Picture: Getty
Ms Andrews faced criticism in February 2021 when it was revealed she had increased the rent on her WA property by more than 15% during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when unemployment in the area was at its peak.
Also owning six properties is Liberal MP for Chisolm in Victoria, Gladys Liu.
Ms Liu has a home in Mt Waverley, on top of investment properties in Kew, Victoria; Flemington, Victoria; Whitehorse, Victoria; Brisbane, Queensland; and Camp Hill, Queensland.
Liberal MP Gladys Liu also owns six properties, data reveals. Picture: Getty
Another Liberal in the six-property club is Ian Goodenough, the MP for Moore in Western Australia.
His portfolio includes a home in Mindarie in Western Australia, as well as a rural investment property in Red Gully, Western Australia, and multiple commercial real estate investments in Belmont, Western Australia and Currambine, Western Australia.
Owning five properties each are Tony Burke, the Labor MP for Watson in NSW; Linda Burney, the Labor MP for Barton in NSW; Tony Zappia, the Labor MP for Makin in South Australia; WA Labor senator Sue Lines; NSW Labor Senator Deborah O’Neill; and Queensland Liberal Senator Gerard Rennick.
Labor MP Tony Burke is among several politicians to own five properties. Picture: Getty
How do the party leaders compare?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison declares his family home in Dolans Bay, in southern Sydney, as his only private real estate asset.
Of course, Mr Morrison has both Kirribilli House on Sydney Harbor and The Lodge in Canberra, owned by the taxpayer, at his disposal while he occupies the top job.
His opponent, Sydney based Labor leader Anthony Albanese, has been much more active in the property market, although his divorce from Carmel Tebbutt in 2019 saw a rebalancing of his portfolio.
Scott Morrison declares just one property – his family home in his Sydney electorate. Picture: Getty
He retained the family home in Marrickville in the city’s inner-west, a secondary residence in Canberra, and an investment property in Dulwich Hill as part of the settlement.
Mr Albanese’s grateful Sydney tenant recently revealed he had given her a 25% rental discount during the COVID-19 pandemic and had yet to raise it back to pre-pandemic levels.
Meanwhile, Housing Minister Michael Sukkar, the MP for Deakin in Victoria, is a muti-property owner, with a residence in Blackburn, Victoria, and investment homes in Canberra and Ringwood North, Victoria.
Labor’s spokesman on housing, Jason Clare, the MP for Blaxland in NSW, also has multiple properties – a residence in Padstow Heights, NSW, and a holiday/investment home in Milton, NSW.
Anthony Albanese’s property portfolio is worth an estimated $5 million. Picture: Getty
Why pollies have a big housing advantage
The simple fact is most politicians are members of Generation X. They’re older and have had a few decades to accumulate wealth through asset appreciation as property prices have boomed.
They are also very highly paid, banking considerably more than the average Aussie.
The base pay for federal MPs and senators is $211,250, which is more than twice the typical annual salary of $91,000.
Then there are allowances and perks on top of that, as well as higher pay for taking on a portfolio or sitting on a committee.
Politicians earn a healthy salary that’s significantly larger than the average wage of Australians. Picture: Getty
Things to note
The figures in this story were gathered from information supplied by politicians to the Register of Members’ Interests and Register of Senators’ Interests for the 46th Parliament.
This includes any amendments to property ownership since the initial declarations were made after election day on May 18, 2019, and up until the end of April 2022.
We did not include 18 MPs who either resigned from their party during the current Parliament or who are leaving federal politics and won’t be contesting the May 21 election.
We did not include in the figures any properties that were declared as being wholly owned by the spouse or partner of a politician.