On negative gearing

Richard Davoren writes: Re. “What the hell is negative gearing anyway?” (Thursday). Clear as mud. Let us suppose I have an investment property, or two, that brings in a rental income. These rents are my source of income and of course I have expenses but fortunately these expenses don’t exceed my income. So presumably, I would not be affected by any change by a future government’s plans by “reducing or eliminating negative gearing”.

But what say I decide to increase my portfolio and purchase another investment property and the expenses on that one exceed its income? Would I not be able to claim the expenses as a tax deduction? Or what happens if one of my positively geared properties fails to attract a tenant for at least one financial year and my portfolio becomes loss making in that year? Are my expenses then ignored?

Being able to reduce your income by the costs associated with one component of your business is normal practice in every business. Or are only wage earners who invest in real estate to be singled out?

Dissolve away

James O’Neill writes: Re. “Poll Bludger: a double dissolution on the cards for July?” (Friday).  The problem seems to me to be entirely self-inflicted. Quite why we persist with our impossibly complicated Senate voting system escapes me. The committee that is looking at possible changes seems to have an extremely limited brief.

Why not adopt a proportional voting system? The voter simply puts a cross beside the party of their choice. If they get 50% of the vote, that party gets 50% of the available seats, knowing in advance who will be elected because the party (as now) has candidates listed in order of the party’s preference.
Having a 5% threshold (as in Germany and New Zealand for example) excludes the lunatic fringe with minimal real support.

At a stroke you have done away with “preference whisperers”, people getting elected with less than 1% of the vote; the need for complicated counting software etc. Too innovative and agile for a political class that is not interested in real reform and never will be.