Senate debates

Monday, 19 June 2023


Consideration of Legislation

11:32 am

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

We can see the anti-housing coalition in full effect! We know that those opposite have been opposed to affordable housing for more than a decade, because they were in government and did nothing about it. But they've partnered up with the Greens—and that's the disappointing thing in this chamber here today, but we've seen it consistently from the Greens now four months. They have used every trick in the book to delay having a vote on this. This is a new low today, where they're actually going to partner up with those opposite, who did nothing for a decade on affordable housing, and delay this bill further. And that's not delay it for days, it's delay it for four months. It's four more months before we can have a discussion about this! We've been trying to debate this bill in this chamber for months now, and they've used every trick in the book to oppose it. They say that they're happy to vote against it, and yet it doesn't seem like it because they constantly come in here and try to come up with new ways to delay having the vote on this. But today is a new low for them.

When you think about it, those opposite have been opposed to affordable housing—it's basically in their DNA. But if you think about the Greens and the role that they've played in their local communities, they're always finding ways to oppose new developments in those communities. They've done that consistently since they've gained a foothold in communities. We know that the member for Griffith has been doing it locally and we know that Greens councillors have been doing it in communities all across the country. I've seen it in Brisbane as well; I've seen what they've done in South Brisbane since they gained a foothold and elected people to parliament. But it's a new thing for them to oppose it in the parliament. We know they've been doing it in the community—the NIMBY, not in my backyard. They do what they can to oppose housing being developed, but it's a new low for them to come into the chamber and delay action on this bill.

So they do now have to be accountable for their actions, and that's what the government are doing. We're very proud about our housing bill and we're proud about what the Prime Minister announced on Saturday, because we do see it as an urgent and as important. But it's disappointing that the Greens continue to play games and tricks rather than actually having a proper debate on this, bringing it to a conclusion and supporting more affordable and social housing in the community. We know that the Greens' housing spokesperson has used his voice locally to oppose new developments in the Griffith electorate. We know that they've been doing that consistently in other parts of the country as well.

We are being held back by the Greens' opposition to new housing developments in communities but also by what they are doing now in this chamber. It is only the Labor government that wants to take action to address affordable housing challenges. This is a policy we took to the election. It's one that we're absolutely passionate about delivering on because we know there is an urgent need across so many communities, not only in capital cities but in regional communities across the country. That is what is at stake in this debate. We have been keen to have this conversation and debate in this chamber for months. We have been frustrated about it. We've been trying to deal in good faith with those concerned about the bill. We have been doing that as best as we can, but they still can't bring themselves to do the right thing to start tackling this issue.

With regard to some of the myths they've been running, it's disappointing to hear the opposition and the Greens consulting on and using the same lines. If they really believe that this is a gamble on the stock market, why do they support superannuation? That is the basic principle of how this works. If only I had a dollar for every time I heard Senator Whish-Wilson mention the sovereign wealth fund. It works on the same basis and principle. That is how these things can be funded, on a long-term basis, that will actually make a difference for the country. So these lines are rubbish. They don't belong in what is an important debate that will start solving some of those challenges that we inherited when it comes to social and affordable housing. This line about a gamble on the stock market is nonsense. That is something that has been used. People use the Future Fund for their superannuation. They know the power it can have by investing in it the right way and using that money to invest in more affordable housing. We know that that is a way that it will start to provide more social and affordable housing in more parts of the country where it's so urgently needed at the moment.

I would urge the Greens to drop off their support with the opposition and support the government's proposition. We know that this will start to deliver more social and affordable housing in more parts of the country, where there is such a desperate need for it.


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