House debates

Wednesday, 27 November 2019


Treasury Laws Amendment (Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability Measures) Bill 2019, Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Fees Imposition Amendment (Near-new Dwelling Interests) Bill 2019; Second Reading

12:42 pm

Photo of Adam BandtAdam Bandt (Melbourne, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I'm very pleased that half of the coalition has come in to listen to this speech—it is the best reception I've ever got—but they might like to listen quietly because the message from young people needs to be heard.

Government members interjecting

No wonder they shout; they represent the generations that already have five, six or seven houses—and they are intent on passing laws that prop that up at the expense of young people. So what happens if a young person goes to an auction to buy a house? They are bidding against someone who may already have two or three houses and is about to buy a new one knowing they can push the price up and up and up and knowing that, even if they pay over the odds for that house, they can then claim any loss as a tax break and a few years later sell the house and get a tax break on that as well. This comes at the cost of billions of dollars that could be spent on affordable housing, renewable energy, schools, hospitals and making university free. Instead the government is saying: 'There's scarce money around. What are we going to do with it? We are going to put it into giving people who already have a couple of houses a subsidy to go and buy more and push up prices even further.' As a result, so many young people are now priced out of the housing market and the rental market.

There's another reason it is so hard for people to afford a home: wages have stagnated or gone backwards. If you have just finished school and you're looking for a place to live and/or a job—you have done TAFE or university—you face the highest level of insecure work we've ever had and low wages. So you don't have enough money in your pocket to afford rent, let alone a mortgage. If you are lucky enough to get a meeting with the bank manager, if you are on a short-term contract—as so many people now are—the bank manager says, 'How can I be guaranteed you will have a job next year?' Graduate teachers in schools are being put on one-year contracts. There will always be schools. Why can't these jobs be permanent? Putting people into insecure work makes it impossible for them to plan their lives and do basic things like buying a house.

But there's a third reason why we have this problem at the moment. As well as this government's intention to give billions of dollars in subsidies to people who already have three or four houses at the expense of people who have none, as well as this government driving down wages to the point where we're seeing low levels of wage growth—in fact, some wages are going backwards—we have not seen new builds of public housing for decades. Part of the way to both bring down rents and make houses more affordable to people is to build public housing at the bottom end of the market. By definition, people who live in public housing are on low incomes. People who may be on Newstart or in low-wage jobs—

Mr Falinski interjecting

I hear the interjection that apparently public housing is something like Soviet Russia. That is what you would expect from someone who is born with a silver spoon in their mouth, who has never had to live in public housing. I am proud to have the highest level of public housing in Victoria in my electorate. The people who live there make a contribution to this society. They contribute far more than the backbench of the Liberal Party ever does—people who sit there sucking on the public teat—


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