House debates

Thursday, 15 February 2024


Help to Buy Bill 2023, Help to Buy (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023; Second Reading

1:23 pm

Photo of Shayne NeumannShayne Neumann (Blair, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I'm very pleased to rise to support the Help to Buy Bill 2023 and the related bill. I've been listening to the response from those opposite, who opposed the Housing Australia Future Fund, a $10 billion investment in housing this country which was to provide support for veterans, people in remote and regional Aboriginal communities, and women and children fleeing domestic and family violence—much-needed assistance. Those opposite say they support making sure we address housing needs, but they voted against the Housing Australia Future Fund. When we introduced that legislation last year, they teamed up with the Greens in the Senate to delay the reporting date. They now have the chutzpah and gall to criticise us on the legislation being debated today, when they voted with the Greens over there to delay similar legislation. Honestly, don't come in here and give us this criticism.

When it comes to legislation about government issues, how about a concept such as delegated legislation, which those opposite should know all about. Of course, in their home guarantee scheme, they didn't put all the criteria in the legislation. When you look at that legislation itself, the criteria are not there. That's done in delegated legislation. That's how government operates. Speaker after speaker has come into this place from the coalition and said that it's not located in the bill. Ministers have responsibility, and they do things like allowable and disallowable instruments. This delegated legislation—that's how those opposite governed. They were in power for nine years. They should have some concept of how government, legislation and delegated legislation operate in this country.

What we're doing here with the Help to Buy scheme is very similar to the home guarantee scheme that those opposite did. And we had to fix that, by the way, when we came to power. We had to fix that scheme, because it wasn't operating. It wasn't broad enough to make sure that Australians in their various guises, and their families and extended families, could get access to that particular scheme. As a result of us making the changes to broaden the jurisdiction, the opportunities and the eligibility of that particular scheme, we saw a massive increase in the take-up of the scheme. The Albanese Labor government is taking action on housing, but those opposite are teaming up with the Greens.

I just know those opposite are ideologically opposed to federal government doing anything in the area of social and public housing, so I sort of expected it from the Liberal Party and National Party, having grown up in Queensland. That's their philosophical view. They just oppose the federal government taking any steps whatsoever. But to the Greens opposite, can I just say I'd love the member for Ryan to do a mobile office on Moggill Road. She can argue that in Fig Tree Pocket or in areas like Pullenvale, Brookfield and et cetera. I grew up in a household like that, and I know that we represent people from working-class and middle-class communities in the cities, suburbs, regional towns and rural communities that want to get ahead in life.

We want to make sure that people in these areas get what they deserve, need and want. That is, their kids should get educated in the best possible schools. They should get appropriate health care, they should have financial security and they should have a house in which to live, whether it's social and community housing or whether they have the aspiration to buy a home and get ahead. If they want to save money in the bank, buy some shares or invest in superannuation—or if they feel that they can get ahead and buy an investment property for their families—they should be allowed to do so in a liberal democracy.

The Greens over there scorn the idea of people getting ahead. Working-class people deserve a better go, and a Labor government will give it to them. This legislation is the kind of legislation that the Greens should be supporting. Look at what they do. The Greens cannot find a social or public housing project in their electorates that they will not oppose. They'll come up here, and you'll see their housing spokesman in his actual office, talking about supporting public housing. But there's not a project in his electorate that he won't oppose for some reason or other. The Greens in my community say one thing and do another. It's the same here. I'd like the member for Ryan to actually talk about her own electorate, go into those suburbs I mentioned and argue the case that she did today. I guarantee you she'll get toppled at the next election. She's won one election; I've won a few. I reckon, if she runs in that area and puts that argument up yet again, the people in the working-class and middle-class suburbs in Brisbane that I referred to will vote her out.

This legislation is really, really important. It's important for the kinds of people that I talked about, because it's about getting people the housing security that they need. I don't expect those opposite to vote for it, but I do expect the Greens to show a bit of consistency on this issue and make sure that they support people who deserve a helping hand, whether they live in Bulimba, Chapel Hill, Fortitude Valley or those three Greens seats over there in Brisbane. The Greens should be supporting this legislation, because I know that people in their suburbs do support this type of legislation. Those people want to get ahead, and they want security for their families. This particular legislation is really important, and they should be supporting it.

I know it's really important for proper housing. I grew up in a working-class family in Ipswich. I know how important it was for my mum, who was a shop assistant, and my dad, who was a cleaner, to keep that house. When we nearly lost it on multiple occasions after the 1974 flood, I know they did their best to keep it for us and my two younger brothers. I know how important it was. I know how important it is for me and my family. I remember the great pride of my wife and I—she was working in a building society at the time, and I was an articled law clerk—when we bought a house for the first time. I know the pride and the satisfaction we had when we decided that we would engage ourselves and actually invest in an investment property because we wanted to get ahead. We were both from working-class families, and that's why this legislation is important.


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