- Treasurer examines new ways to kick tens of millions into community housing
Treasurer Scott Morrison insists the federal government has no proposal to allow first-home buyers to tap their superannuation for a deposit.
Former Labor prime minister Paul Keating has slammed the idea of allowing young people to raid their superannuation, warning it would "pull the backside" out of the system.
Liberal MP John Alexander, who chaired a parliamentary committee into housing affordability, let slip the government was considering the proposal before the May budget.
But Mr Keating, the architect of the country's compulsory super system, argues the idea would rob young Australians of a large block of savings at the end of their working lives.
"Were the government to proceed with this irresponsible idea, it would potentially destroy superannuation for those, in the main, under 40 years of age, while at the same time, driving up the cost of the housing they are seeking to purchase," he said in an opinion piece in Fairfax Media on Monday.
Mr Morrison told parliament the government had no proposal along those lines in its housing affordability package, which will be delivered in the budget.
"The only party that has put that forward in a formal sense to an election is the Labor Party," he told MPs.
He noted Mr Keating in 1993, as part of his election platform, recognised income and housing were equally required for a secure and comfortable retirement, and Labor would permit part of a deposit on owner-occupier dwellings to be funded from the homebuyer's superannuation.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was remarkable the 1993 election platform had been so quickly forgotten by so many people, "not least the distinguished, eminent person".
Earlier Finance Minister Mathias Cormann refused to buy into pre-budget speculation.
"To the extent there is a housing affordability challenge it is because demand exceeds supply, so obviously we want to boost supply, not boost demand," he told reporters.
"You can draw your own conclusions there."
But One Nation leader Pauline Hanson defended the super idea, saying people need a helping hand to buy their first home.
"Accessing their superannuation up to a certain age ... I think would help many Australians," she said.
Fellow crossbench senator Derryn Hinch doesn't agree.
"Accessing superannuation to buy homes is madness," he said.
"That is going to destroy superannuation. Superannuation is there for your retirement, not to get you started."