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Nothing typifies the Liberal Party better than their attitude to housing

Nothing typifies the Liberal Party better than their attitude to housing.

Any attempt to address housing affordability is decried as an attack on the ubiquitous “mum & dad” investors.

In January last year, on the same day as Treasury and Reserve Bank officials voiced concerns about a bubble in Sydney’s “risky” and “over-heated” property market, Tony Abbott said “As someone who, along with the bank, owns a house in Sydney I do hope our housing prices are increasing.”

The Treasurer explained that “if housing were unaffordable in Sydney, no one would be buying it.”

The solution for first home buyers was obvious.

“The starting point for a first home buyer is to get a good job that pays good money. If you’ve got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that’s readily affordable,” said Mr Hockey.

When Labor announced their policy on negative gearing and capital gains tax concessions, Turnbull and Morrison went into overdrive saying it would “smash the residential housing market”.

Turnbull warned that “every homeowner in Australia has a lot to fear from Bill Shorten”.

When asked by Jon Faine about the difficulty our children face in entering the housing market, Turnbull replied “Well, you should shell out for them. You should support them, a wealthy man like you,” suggesting the radio host could help to “provide a bit of intergenerational equity in the Faine family”.

When he was Social Services Minister, Scott Morrison addressed the IPA saying the lack of a secure home was either a “cause or consequence” of many social ills and is essential for protecting Australian’s welfare, especially those affected by unemployment and family breakdowns.

“There are few issues more important to ensuring the welfare of Australians than housing. Housing provides the stability and certainty needed for individuals and families to deal with the many challenges they face … a place to care for those who need care, a place of refuge from violence and the list goes on,” he said.

Yet buried in his first budget was the following:

The housing sub‑function includes the Australian Government’s contribution to the National Affordable Housing Specific Purpose Payment and associated National Partnerships, the provision of housing for the general public and people with special needs and the expenses of DHA. Expenses for this sub‑function are estimated to decrease by 20.9 per cent in real terms from 2016‑17 to 2019-20. This largely reflects the scheduled completion of National Partnership payments for remote Indigenous housing and a forecast reduction in the construction and acquisition of DHA properties in 2018‑19 and 2019‑20.

A West Australian community services organisation hosting a roundtable discussion about homelessness couldn’t even get a representative of the Liberal Party to turn up.

The organisation said it first reached out to Social Services Minister Christian Porter early in May, but he declined the invitation on May 24. Calls were then made to Senator Michaelia Cash, Member for Swan Steve Irons, Hasluck MP Ken Wyatt, and the Liberal candidate for Perth Jeremy Quinn, all of whom declined. Then they received a letter from WA Liberal state director Andrew Cox, which said the party would not be providing a representative for the discussion.

It seems people who can’t afford to rent or buy a home do not interest the Liberal Party. Unless you have money to invest, expect no help from a Coalition government.

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  1. Jaquix

    That WA housing organisation should have an article got together for a wide audience, esp in WA for the public to be quite clear on how much the Libs care about them.

  2. Steve Laing

    The problem with that approach, Jacquix, is that this government will then cut any funding that they get. Such is the way of that mob.

  3. z

    defending house price and ignoring affordability, that’s the key for 3 years in government, the reason may because so many have involved in it, they do not like market correction but insist on tax policy to push it up, can not tolerant any one who have different opinion regards as destroy house value

  4. Terry2

    I wear it as a badge of pride that Australians are generally not attracted to conservatism : the selfish gene it seems is not a feature of the Australian character. We do not see multi national corporations as an acceptable alternative to publicly driven service delivery : we are not attracted to the concept of essential services being handed over to private operators.

    This was clearly illustrated in Queensland when the electors returned Campbell Newman’s neocons to opposition and retained publicly owned electricity assets despite a massive financial penalty imposed by a malevolent Abbott government : $5 billion in infrastructure grants were denied to Queensland when the Palaszczuk government declined to sell off public assets as part of the Abbott/Hockey attack on civil society under the guise of the ‘asset recycling’ program.

    This experiment in conservatism – confusingly called liberalism in Australia – has been a resounding failure at every measurable level , even the much touted border protection policy has been an abysmal failure with the appalling and evidently insoluble offshore detention shambles : I can think of nothing worse than to be told that my future could be in the hands of Peter Dutton – at least the health portfolio was prised from his grasp before he could destroy our universal health systems ; although Sussan Ley seems to be valiantly carrying that banner down the path that he lurched on to.

    The damage that Negative Gearing and concessional capital gains taxes is causing to our housing market, fuelled by record low interest rates, clearly needs to be reined in as conservatives agreed until it became a Labor policy and then it was, as mentioned by Kaye, an attack on the ‘Mum & Dad’ investors

    At least we have been spared the worst excesses of the deceitful Abbott but now have the odd situation of a fundamentally decent man leading a gang of rabid far right delusional conservatives : the aptly named ‘cherry on top of a compost heap.’ Anyone who believes that Abbott is staying on to serve the electors of Warringah has not been paying attention.

    I think we need three years of minority government : bring it on !

  5. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Thanks again Kaye, for saying it how it is with balance and compassion.

    The Liberals and their lackey National lapdogs are disingenuous when they try to pitch ‘mum and dad investors’ against vulnerable people on low incomes who want their own affordable homes or at least, affordable housing.

    I think Labor has the right focus in arguing for the abandonment of Negative Gearing on current housing stocks but keeping it for new constructions. I think that it is a reasonable and equitable policy that meets the needs of 1st home buyers and low or medium income people when competing for houses for sale while still giving mum and dad investors opportunities to invest.

    If there are bank impediments to gaining finance to buy such houses off the plans or otherwise, then it is government’s responsibility to instruct the banks to support the funding along equitable lines.

    If the banks maintain a rigid stance against such funding, the best and preferable remedy would be to bypass the banks full stop and provide government funding to mum and dad investors to acquire investment properties. The mortgages would belong to the government until the last dollar is paid.

    The repayments plus reasonable interest would go into the government coffers to afford other government mortgage funding that would also become available to allow NO and LOW income people to be funded into their own homes.

    This is another VERY important project and policy area that I want to see the Greens/Labor/Progressives Alliance to advocate now and implement once they gain government on 2 July.

  6. Nato

    Ruah doesn’t even show the event in their own event calendar.

    Have you seen the directors list? Let those fat cats pay for it themselves!

  7. Wun Farlung

    It’s just amazes me that the LNP in WA have been able to find almost $5 billion for a new football stadium and a riverside ferry terminal in Perth, yet we still have people living on the streets within sight of these 2 money pits

  8. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    That amazes me too Wun Farlung. Brazen and wanton exploitation of our society’s moral fibre!

  9. Kaye Lee

    New findings from the Cost of Youth Homelessness in Australia research project, released last month, show the rising costs of health and justice services associated with homelessness.

    The homeless young people in the study reported significantly higher prevalence of adverse health issues than the general population, or even compared to other unemployed, job-seeking youth. This created an average additional cost, compared to the unemployed group, of A$6,744 per person per year.

    Homelessness also means considerably greater contact with and involvement in the justice system. This was an average cost of $8,242 higher than for the unemployed group. The total cost offsets for young people becoming homeless is therefore an average of $14,986 per person per year.

    On the basis of the 41,780 young people between aged 15 and 24 who were clients of Specialist Homelessness Services in 2014-15 and presented alone rather than in a family group, the total annual cost to the Australian economy of additional health and justice services is an estimated $747 million – or $626 million annually more than for unemployed youth.

    This $747 million exceeds the total cost – approximately $619 million – of providing Specialist Homelessness Services to the 256,000 people (young and old) assisted by the system over the same period.

    An economically responsible government would see the financial benefit of providing affordable housing. A socially responsible government would be ashamed that in this wealthy country over 100,000 people have nowhere to sleep. A morally responsible government would have some compassion for the many vulnerable people who need help.

  10. home prices are being deliberately Inflated

    Neither Liberals nor Labor have any real interest in addressing housing affordability or homelessness.
    The proposed changes to negative gearing by Labor aimed at arresting home prices has already had the unintended consequence of whipping investors into a frenzy of buying in the last month.
    Unless the various inputs that have created the problem are modified nothing will change.
    Here are a few things to look at and change if we want a level playing field in home sales:
    – grandfather negative gearing claims for existing homes – give 5 years notice;
    – outlaw Interest Only loans for existing homes and owner occupiers alike;
    – make investment deductions claimable only against the investment itself and not unrelated PAYE income;
    – Audit all property trusts with > 3 properties, look for irregular deposits and match to ABN/TFN data;
    – Audit sales of existing properties in high value locations back to 2000 and look for illegal activity, match with Immigration records;
    APRA – rein in irresponsible lending by banks
    – limit Interest Only loans only to new construction by investors (and then only to the land component if land is new release),
    – lower Loan to Value Ratios to 70% and severely limit access to Equity Mate loans;
    FIRB – there are some estimates of tens of thousands of illegally purchased existing homes in Australia, I expect any minute soon that one will be found;
    ABS – include land inflation into calculation of CPI, RBA uses this data in setting interest rates and is therefore currently inaccurate;
    Local Councils – apply extra rate costs to unoccupied dwellings;
    Landbankers – some companies sit on 15-20 years supply of land but are drip-feeding to market to maintain high costs – force sales;
    Action 2nd tranche of Anti-Money legislation so as to apply to real estate industry;
    It’s Sunday, have other things to do, cheers

  11. King1394

    Having a housing bubble of current proportions needs to be recognised as mismanagement of the economy. We all know it can’t last, and when the economy goes off and interest rates rise (for example) there will be a terrible fallout for those who are over-extended. Unfortunately for the opposition parties, this is more like to happen on their watch and thus fuel the old fairytale of Liberal = good for economy, Labor = bad.
    I consider that having such a lot of indebtedness for housing, with families considering loans of hundreds of thousands of dollars which they will pay off until / beyond retirement is incredibly damaging to the social fabric of our communities.

  12. diannaart

    An economically responsible government would see the financial benefit of providing affordable housing.

    A socially responsible government would be ashamed that in this wealthy country over 100,000 people have nowhere to sleep.

    A morally responsible government would have some compassion for the many vulnerable people who need help.

    Hear! Hear! Kaye Lee

  13. Florence nee Fedup

    Couple weeks ago I was in George Street between Wynard and Town Hall around 11 am. Haven’t been there for years.

    As a young person and most of my life, I knew the city extra well.

    I was shocked by the number of homeless, all ages and genders in that area. Can’t recall any other time this being so.

    Every street corner had one.

    Yes, maybe up near Central, Moore Park but not in the city centre.

    The experience left me a little unsettled. Not proud of my city at all.

  14. Kronomex

    The modern dark ages of the barons and lords owning everything, including controlling the serfs, is alive and well.

  15. Backyard Bob


    Couple weeks ago I was in George Street between Wynard and Town Hall around 11 am. Haven’t been there for years. As a young person and most of my life, I knew the city extra well. I was shocked by the number of homeless, all ages and genders in that area. Can’t recall any other time this being so. Every street corner had one.

    I spent a couple of hours in the CBD and Queen Street Mall in Brisbane on Good Friday and experienced the identical thing. I hadn’t been into “Town” for some time. It was a real eye opener. Quite shocking.

  16. wam

    A good read but the assumption that most welfare recipients are rorters , smoke, drink and gamble with a ‘religious’ belief that labor wastes taxes on them typifies my liberal voters.
    That frees the libs to frighten the workers with slogans that labor can only refute with complicated explanations. QED.
    Still who cares they are right only the children of the rich or politicians can expect to own a house but those of us oldies with homes in the inner suburbs can expect the libs to let them subdivide or change the zoning to build flats, town houses etc for those with good jobs and the homeless will have the basic card so that the 7/11 can provide food at reasonable rip off rates(at least better than an Aboriginal community)
    I would love labor to expose the copperman and his nasties.

  17. helvityni

    Florence and Backyard Bob, I used to live in Balmain and I worked and shopped in Sydney, then moved to Southern Highlands, and of course visited friends and family in various Sydney suburbs. When occasionally venturing to George Street shops, I was shocked to see so many homeless at every street corner.

    Taking the train to Sydney, I witnessed the same around the Central Station. Very sad and unsettling.

  18. Maureen Walton (@maureen_walton)

    In Rural Seymour Victoria we can not even get an LNP Representative to turn up for a Forum to discuss anything…

  19. Terry2

    I grew up in London, started work in the City of London as an office boy in 1959 : among my jobs I delivered documents on foot, by bike and using the Tube all over London ; I got to know every alley and walkway between Westminster and Whitechapel.

    No homeless people visible in those postwar days and anybody sleeping on benches on the Thames Embankment or elsewhere was directed by the police to a homeless shelter for the night and given a meal plus a basic breakfast the following morning – frequently these ‘doss houses’ were run by the Salvation Army, so you might have to sing for your supper – see George Orwell’s “Down & Out in Paris and London” for very specific details.

    Now it’s a very different situation, the homeless shelters have gone and people are sleeping in doorways everywhere : I don’t know what the solution is.

  20. nexusxyz

    One answer to why the political clowns won’t touch housing is that the total property portfolio of the politicians is around $350m with the majority of the investment properties with the LNP. They are totally and absolutely conflicted. They don’t see the homeless or choose not to and ignore all the issues related to housing.

    The Australian economy is shot and coming economic downturn will be spectacular. The house as an ‘ATM’ will go into reverse and become a financial millstone for many people.

  21. Kaye Lee

    During a lull between the speeches at a recent Parliament dinner, Lucy Turnbull leans over to chat with Julie Bishop.

    “Ya know, I bought Malcolm a parrot for his birthday. The bird is so smart, Malcolm has already taught him to pronounce over two hundred

    “Wow, that’s pretty impressive,” says Julie, “but, you do realize that he just speaks the words — he doesn’t really understand what they

    “Oh, I know,” Lucy replies, “Neither does the parrot.”

  22. Florence nee Fedup

    Terry, they have always existed but not out in public like this. No one seemed to notice them. I worked in welfare. Shouldn’t have shocked me. The country has never been so wealthy, the number of poor so evident. Why?

  23. Florence nee Fedup

    Seems to be everywhere. I am in my seventies and haven’t led a sheltered life. I seen the poor in the country as well as the city. This is new.

    We see the likes of many describing low income earners as scrum who don’t pay taxes, Seen as a drag on society. I believe we are fast becoming a sick society, if we are not already.

  24. Florence nee Fedup

    The PM can’t live where he does and not see everyday what we are talking about. Especially as he uses public transport.

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