Senate debates

Tuesday, 9 May 2023


Consideration of Legislation

12:35 pm

Photo of Anthony ChisholmAnthony Chisholm (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Education) Share this | Hansard source

The Greens really, really want to avoid debate on the housing bill, don't they? It is pretty clear this morning that stunt after stunt, delay after delay, they want to avoid debate on the housing bill and they will come in here and play any trick in the book. We saw it over the last month in the type of language that they're using. We heard the language from Senator Rice just then as well. They are outrageous claims that Senator Rice is making about what the Greens are actually signing up to.

The Greens had months to introduce the bill and debate the bill that they are trying to bring on today. They introduced it in November. It has been sitting on the Notice Paper since November. They have had it there waiting for a stunt. It wasn't something they were committed to. They could have used private members' bills when they had the opportunity yet they haven't. They are trying to use the difficult circumstances that many students face as a pawn in this debate. It is an important issue that needs to be addressed, but so is housing. This is what the government promised in the election campaign, and we actually intend on delivering it in government in order to earn the respect and support of the Australian people by being a government that says it will do something, introduces legislation and then gets on with doing it.

But in the last month we have learned a fair bit about the Greens. Their stunt today is evidence of a lack of confidence in their housing spokesperson, because he says a lot, he talks a lot and, the more he talks, the more mistakes he makes. It is a real fact that they don't want to have the debate because they have a lack of confidence in their position on this policy. So what have we learned over the last couple of months? The Greens are obviously very nervous about the strategy they have taken. They are having second thoughts, hopefully, about opposing this bill, because it will make such a significant difference. They are not listening to the peak bodies that are supporting our policy, because they will know it will make a difference. They are not supportive; they are not listening to those peak bodies.

In the last month, we have seen the Greens' housing spokesperson opposing new developments in his own electorate. There he is, proudly standing with the sign saying: 'No, I oppose this development.' The Greens say we need more housing, yet in their own electorates they are opposing new housing developments. It is classic Greens' hypocrisy, and we're seeing it play out in the national parliament now they have some of these former student politicians elected who haven't graduated beyond student politics. That is still the way they are carrying out. This is a much too important issue to let student politicians loose who haven't graduated.

Housing is a serious challenge in this country. In the capital cities and in regional Australia, it is something that needs urgent government attention. That is why Labor took the $10 billion fund, talked about it before the election campaign, took it to the election and won a majority; it was on the back of policies like that. That is why we are going around trying to implement it, because we know it will make a difference for those people who need it the most. Yet it is so unfortunate that the Greens have been led down this path and cannot see the opportunity that it presents us.

For the first time in a decade, we have a national government that is providing national leadership on housing. Housing ministers around the country are meeting for the first time. We are working with local governments. Senator Wong spoke about some of the other policies that we are putting in place around housing as well, because we know that this is important. We know that so many people around the country need government support and need that national leadership that we are providing.

By opposing this, this is what the Greens are standing in the way of: the $10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund that will deliver 30,000 new social and affordable homes. They are delaying homes for people in need, homes for women and children fleeing domestic violence, homes for older women and veterans who are at risk of homelessness. They are the real people that are relying on the Housing Australia Future Fund. Once again the Greens are showing that they're happy to put politics first. They're happy to play silly games and play people against each other when there is a real need for us to pass this housing bill now so that we can be a federal government that gets on with the job of delivering affordable housing for those that need it. That's what this government wants to achieve. That's what we are determined to deliver on in government.


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