They say it’s nice to start with a win. So as we get down to business for another year let’s celebrate a small win (‘I told you so’ is so 2018!).
In May 2015, The Political Sword discussed the release of Anglicare’s annual rental affordability snapshot, which highlighted that 8 of the 65,614 properties available for rent across Australia met the affordability requirements for a single person on Youth Allowance. The results in 2018 were no better. As a part of the 2015 discussion, we highlighted the concept of governments (specifically Utah, New York City and other jurisdictions in the USA) giving the homeless a place to call home as a mechanism to improve the quality of life of those that need a hand. Among the benefits stated at the time were reductions in health expenditure, justice costs and the ability of those who received a place to live to participate to a greater extent in their society as they had a ‘place to call home’. We noted in 2015:
If a person has a home, they are in a better position to access government services, a job application is easier (as personal hygiene is better and the potential employer has a contact point) and a person can make plans for the future.
In the general discussion around cricket teams, which city’s fireworks were better and other first world issues that seem to be front and centre in the Australian media around the beginning of the year, you might have missed that ACT Housing is partnering with tenants to convert rental homes into owned homes by sharing the costs involved with a home purchase. The tenant stumps up the repayments for 70% of the value of the home, the housing agency covers the rest. The ABC reports:
Around 100 public housing properties have been sold-off as part of the scheme, and in half of those cases, tenants have completely bought-out the government — breaking them out of the public housing cycle altogether.
While it’s not quite the same as providing homes for the homeless, it will help. Those that just need a hand to gain home ownership are given what they need and ACT Housing can reinvest the sale proceeds into more housing stock for those that can’t fund private rental homes and therefore meet the greater need with no additional budget. While the ABC article suggests that the implementation may need a bit of work, the concept is sound.
Again we have a progressive (in the non-partisan sense) government showing the current LNP federal government how it should be done. As well as the ACT’s housing policy, South Australia’s former ALP Government managed to introduce alternative energy sources into the state while encountering a F(ear), U(ncertainity) and D(eception) campaign from the current federal government and the then South Australian Liberal opposition. When the opposition became the government in South Australia, they kept the alternative energy generation systems.
During January, Victoria gave planning approval for a wind generation plant that could generate up to 10% of the state’s power requirements (subject to federal government approval) and what do you do with an old gold mine in North Queensland? Turn it into a 320MW solar farm of course!
In May 2015, we also noted:
The Australian Government is in contrast withdrawing money from social service providers. Conservative states in the USA demonstrate that the current Australian Government’s policy is deeply flawed and doesn’t help anyone. At the same time, the Abbott government — to the detriment of our economy — supports processes such as negative gearing, novated leasing and capital gains.
So, four years or thereabouts later, there’s not much different apart from the name of the Prime Minister. The current LNP Government is still sucking funds from non-government organisations that make a real difference to their communities, supporting fossil fuelled electricity generation, woefully inadequate welfare payments, negative gearing, and capital gains policies that actively discriminate against those on lower incomes, as well as kicking own goals on issues such as taking citizenship off ‘alleged terrorists’ that don’t really have dual citizenship (seriously, a simple phone call would have saved Dutton from that particular embarrassment).
While Morrison was on leave over Christmas, leaving the country in the ‘capable’ hands of the National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister McCormack, he did admittedly slap a racist Queensland Senator (the one that Hanson complains about) across the face with what seemed to be a wet lettuce leaf when he used taxpayer funds to fly to Melbourne in business class to attend a meeting with assorted other right wing zealots while claiming to represent his Queensland constituents (possibly all the 19 people that voted for him but not many more).
As soon as Morrison came back to work, like most leaders he announced his plan of attack for the new year. Is it something that will improve the standard of living for a large number of us that live in Australia such as adoption of an energy policy that will see Australia meet or exceed our commitment to the Paris agreement (meeting or exceeding the Paris agreement is entirely possible by the way); is it sorting out the mess whereby Australians can’t find out about the machinations of government that affect them; is it increasing welfare payments so those that receive them receive a realistic amount to survive with some dignity; is it devising or implementing a solution to the taxation mess where negative gearing and other ‘legal options’ for high income people distort the ability of the government to help those in need, or even sorting out the mess that is the Liberal Party in Australia so they represent more than their mythical ’base’ at the election later this year?
Of course not. Morrison’s self-proclaimed first item of business is to propose new regulations that require citizenship ceremonies must be held on Australia Day.
Give us strength.
What do you think?
This article was originally published on The Political Sword.
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