Greens MP Max Chandler-Mather – a regular thorn in Anthony Albanese’s side – took just a week to pick a fight with the PM upon returning to Parliament this year.
Mr Chandler-Mather was able to get under the skin of the Prime Minister during Question Time on Monday with a crack about Mr Albanese’s rental property portfolio, which reportedly makes him some $115,000 per year.
‘Labor’s refusal to phase out billions of dollars in property investor tax concessions to property investors – like yourself – is denying millions of renters the chance to buy a home,’ the 31-year-old first term MP noted.
He added that 75 per cent of Labor’s parliamentary members own investment properties and questioned whether this influenced the government’s decision to avoid making changes to ‘s negative gearing policies.
Mr Albanese – who has had a spring in his step in Parliament after his Stage Three tax cuts broken promise was well received – was clearly frustrated by the question.
He hit back in a way that Mr Chandler-Mather has become all too familiar with since he was elected to represent the Brisbane seat of Griffith in May 2022.
Mr Albanese and Labor have accused Mr Chandler-Mather of whipping up outrage about housing in order to further his own political ambitions
‘The idea that there will be a discussion with that juvenile approach that we have seen from those opposite will not occur,’ the PM said snippily.
‘This is not a students’ council, this is a Parliament.
‘It is a parliament that has a responsibility, that has a responsibility to look after the people who put us here, not to grandstand.
‘There will be no negotiations on that basis.’
Speaker Milton Dick noted Mr Chandler-Mather’s question was ‘pretty close to the wind’ and warned members note to impugn the motives of other MPs with their questions.
Labor is acutely aware that any economic concessions to the Greens could open them up to further criticism about broken promises, after backing away from the Stage Three tax cut commitment the PM made no less than 36 times.
While the decision was clearly the politically savvy one – with polls showing the majority of ns support keeping more money in their own pockets – MPs are not eager to be seen as breaking further promises with matters such as negative gearing.
Mr Chandler-Mather appears to take pride in his ability to ruffle the PM’s feathers. Some insiders say he is something of a ghost of Albanese’s past and probably reminds the PM a little of his younger self.
Both men came from Labor-loving families, and joined the party themselves as teenagers, eager to embrace the left-wing ideology of the party.
Mr Chandler-Mather says he is unsurprised and not bothered by the frosty relationship he shares with the government
Mr Albanese was considered a ‘radical’ even within the left of his party, labelled a ‘firebrand’
It wasn’t enough for Mr Chandler-Mather, who left the party in 2013 in favour of the Greens.
In 2022, he spoke out about the decision, claiming he could not remain in a party willing to maintain offshore detention facilities in Nauru under Kevin Rudd.
‘I left the ALP in 2013 for the same reason many people stopped voting for them. They have abandoned their principles, won’t fix the rigged system and have no vision for a better life for all ns,’ he said in promotional material for his new party.
He was a member of the Labor Left faction during his time at the University of Queensland. Both of his parents were also members, and reportedly encouraged him to join.
He worked for the trade union United Voice, before going on to become a union organiser for the National Tertiary Education Union after graduating.
Meanwhile, Mr Albanese was considered a ‘radical’ even within the left of his party, labelled a ‘firebrand’.
Mr Chandler-Mather, who is the member for the inner Brisbane seat of Griffith, has been scathing of the Labor government over its housing policies – including rental assistance – on social media, raking in millions of views
By 26, he was a senior member of the NSW Labor left, and was elected in Grayndler at 33.
Over the decades, the PM’s position on issues have softened.
He’s been far more balanced in his assessment of the crisis in Palestine and Israel than his former self, and has taken a step back from his loud commitment to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in the face of defeat after the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.
And he has made clear his distaste for Mr Chandler-Mather.