New "Teal" politician and economic growthist, Allegra Spender, promotes immigration rates of 220,000 p.a. over the next 2 years, (ABC RN 9 June 22) in the context of also promoting reduction in carbon emissions, rising energy prices, and economic growth.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore has nothing to congratulate herself on with regard to homelessness in Sydney. The City of Sydney’s most recent street count has revealed that homelessness has risen and crisis shelters are at capacity. Although the City has been collecting levies from developers to create affordable housing since 2004, it has only created 835 new affordable housing dwellings in that time. Whilst the *official* number of homeless in Sydney reached 592 in August 2019 (with so many more couch-surfing and living on credit), Australia has continued to import approximately one million immigrants every two years, pushing up the price of housing and causing pressure on Sydney's very scarce land, to the extent that NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian asked the Federal Government to halve the immigration numbers - to no avail. Lendlease private developments is forcing new suburbs into koala territory despite years of organised protests from nearby residents. It is clear that property development is disorganising human communities, extinguishing wildlife, and over-riding every democratic measure in our society. It is ironic that the City of Sydney, in a country run by property developers for their own enrichment through population growth, should give the biggest private landowner in Australia (the Catholic Church) $100,000 to pay various humble workers to telephone between services looking for empty beds each night for the homeless. The same Catholic Church is a notable property developer, owner of the oldest bank in the world, and a chronic promoter of mass immigration.
According to a press release from the City of Sydney, while the number of those sleeping rough fell by 24 people compared to the count in August last year, occupation of temporary or crisis accommodation rose by 16.8 per cent to 592 people – 94 per cent of available bed capacity.
People Sleeping Rough: 254
Occupied Crisis and Temporary Accommodation Beds: 592
People Sleeping Rough: 278
Occupied Crisis and Temporary Accommodation Beds: 495
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said that the high level of temporary bed occupancy showed outreach services run by the NSW Government, City of Sydney and non-government organisations were working, but that those numbers would remain high without the provision of more stable, long-term affordable and social housing. In 2017 she had blamed the State Government for not providing enough accommodation, and had refused to move people out of Sydney's "tent city".
In NSW State Premier, Gladys Berejiklian's defense, Ms Berejiklian had, in 2018, asked the Federal Goverment to reduce immigration to NSW by half, with no success.
Sydney's Mayor has a complete disconnect about the problem of massive immigration numbers driving up demand for housing and personally welcomes 1000 international students each year, observing that there are now more than 35,000 studying in the City's local area. Whilst homelessness is increasing, she actually describes student immigration as 'increasing Sydney's livability'.
"International students enhance Sydney's vibrancy and liveability through contributing to our city's cultural diversity. The international student community also plays an important role to grow and strengthen Sydney's global connections – today and in the future." 
According to Australia's 2016 census, the number of homeless people in Australia jumped by more than 15,000 — or 14 per cent — in the five years to 2016. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said 116,000 people were homeless on census night in 2016, representing 50 homeless people per 10,000.
Let them eat cake, eh, Clover?
“These figures tell us that people experiencing homelessness are seeking help, and know where to find the services that can offer them a bed or a free meal for the night, but these are temporary solutions to a systemic crisis,” the Lord Mayor said.
“254 people sleeping on our streets is 254 too many. In a prosperous city like Sydney, this is an unacceptable situation demanding decisive and compassionate action. To break the cycle of homelessness we need the NSW and Federal governments to fund provide more social and affordable housing in the inner city. We cannot allow Sydney to become an enclave for the rich. We need a diverse range of housing to accommodate our diverse community.”
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward, participated in the count and said the figures showed the NSW Government’s assertive outreach programs are making a real impact.
“Since 2017, our assertive outreach teams have helped house more than 450 people previously sleeping rough on inner city streets,” Mr Ward said. “Our staff are compassionate, skilled professionals and to see a drop in the number of people sleeping rough compared to last year is encouraging, but of course there is still more work to be done. The reality is that across the state, homelessness is an issue. That’s why we recently announced the expansion of assertive outreach to Tweed Heads and Newcastle and the extension of the street count to regional areas. We’re delighted to partner with the City of Sydney in tackling this issue and we will continue to work with other local councils and non-government organisations to build on the strong foundations we have set.”
Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich welcomed the joint action between local and state government on homelessness.
“Sadly, it is no secret that homelessness has reached a crisis point in NSW,” the Member for Sydney said. “The latest street count results prove once again that people are seeking help, but that the system is at capacity – we need to provide safe and affordable homes in order to truly stop the cycle of homelessness in our state.”
The homeless in Sydney count was conducted in the early hours of Tuesday, 6 August. A total of 195 volunteers made up of residents, sector workers, students, local businesses 15 advisers who have lived experience of homelessness and 30 City staff members took part in the count from 1am to 3am.
In February, the City signed an agreement with the NSW Government, the Institute of Global Homelessness, St Vincent de Paul, St Vincent’s Health, Mission Australia, Salvation Army, Wesley Mission, Neami National and Yfoundations to:
- reduce rough sleeping in the City of Sydney area by 25 per cent by 2020
- reduce rough sleeping in the City of Sydney area and NSW by 50 per cent by 2025
- work towards zero rough sleeping in the City of Sydney area and NSW
These goals are totally inadequate given the number of new migrants coming into Sydney every day plus all the overseas immigrants and the likely total by 2025.
The City has contributed $100,000 to the St Vincent de Paul Society to establish a Sydney office to coordinate the project. It says that the local, *independent* organisation is bringing together organisations and services working to reduce homelessness. The city believes that this will allow for greater information sharing and enable a more coordinated response to reduce the number of people sleeping rough and to prevent people entering in to homelessness.
It is ironic that a City in a country run by property developers for their own enrichment through population growth should give an organisation affiliated with the biggest private landowner in Australia (the Catholic Church) $100,000 to pay various humble workers to telephone between services looking for empty beds each night for the homeless.
The City has also invested $6.6 million over three years to help reduce homelessness in the city. This includes a $3.5 million contribution to the NSW Government’s Department of Family and Community Services over three years to fund specialist homelessness services.
The City of Sydney says that it has helped build 835 new affordable housing dwellings since 2004, by collecting levies from developers and selling *our* land to affordable housing providers at discount rates.
Meanwhile, between 2014 and 2017 'Cloud Arch', a single ribbon of steel shaped sculpture intended to be installed over George Street in Sydney, had its budget rise from A$3.5 million to 11.3 million dollars. It has been criticised on cost and aesthetics, but the mayor has said that it will become a "drawcard for residents, workers, tourists and visitors." She obviously hasn't figured out that Sydney isn't coping with its current population, if she wants to attract even more people.
 "On Wednesday the New South Wales premier, herself the daughter of Armenian immigrants, called for a halving of the state’s migrant intake, citing concerns about population growth in Sydney. But a Guardian analysis of immigration data shows any reduction in migration in Australia would involve hard and potentially costly choices for the state’s economy. While permanent arrivals in Australia are at the same level as they were under the Howard government, the increase in net overseas migrants has been driven by the lucrative international student market, tourists and skilled workers." source: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/oct/10/gladys-berejikilian-calls-for-immigration-cut-but-it-could-cost-nsw.
 "The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation and does not receive any direct funding from the Catholic Church. The Society enjoys a close relationship with the Catholic Church and is assisted through parishes and schools." (Source: https://www.vinnies.org.au/page/About/FAQs/Is_the_St_Vincent_de_Paul_Society_a_part_of_the_Catholic_Church/)
The Vatican, on the other hand, manages $64 billion of assets on behalf of its 17,400 customers, according to a Dec. 5, 2014, article in International Business Times .
The Vatican bank owns $764 million in equity. The bank keeps gold reserves worth over $20 million with the U.S. Federal Reserve. (Source: https://www.nasdaq.com/article/how-much-money-does-the-vatican-have-cm500605.
Referring to the HILDA Report, the author suggests that, if immigration were reduced, a precipitate decline in house-prices could probably be adequately buffered by local buyers who currently cannot afford to enter the grossly inflated housing market.
Yet another report about homelessness in Australia
Melbourne University Faculty of Business and Economics this week released a report entitled,"The Household, Income and Labour dynamics in Australia survey," (HILDA for short).
The main disturbing and most publicized finding on the day it was released was that home ownership in Australia is in steady decline and the steepest decline is in the state of Victoria. In Victoria I see the extreme manifestation of this trend, homelessness in the streets of Melbourne, every time I venture to the city or inner Melbourne areas such as Carlton. I actually know personally two people, one older and one young, who have experienced homelessness in Melbourne.
It seems obvious that for home ownership levels to recover, growth in house prices urgently needs to slow and stop. For the good of our society, prices even need to fall. Author of the HILDA Report, Professor Roger Wilkins, offered as a solution to the catastrophic decline in home ownership, the very meagre suggestion of an abolition of the capital gain tax discount, presumably as a disincentive to investment in housing. I would however maintain that people will still want to invest if a certain capital gain is to be had, even if they do pay tax! They would still be ahead!
Would a decline in Australian house prices be a concern?
For home owners with only one property and who are mortgage-free, a drop in the $ value of their houses really wouldn’t matter as long as it were part of a general, overall decline in property values. For those who are servicing a mortgage, a significant drop in property prices could be a problem, as their equity becomes less as a proportion of the amount owing.
So, can we escape a populating growth fueled housing Ponzi nightmare without collateral damage?
Initially, stabilising the $value of houses would not be as painful as a sudden decline.
I will take it as read that house price increases are due to a greater demand than there is supply. Demand has increased as net overseas migration has increased. A dramatic increase in Net Overseas Migration (NOM) dates back to John Howard’s time in power and has hardly let up. This number needs to come down.
One can also base the potential housing demand on the number of young adults in the population. In the 'best of all possible worlds, local young adults will want to establish their own households, whether singly or as couples, or with friends or siblings, as a first step. Immigrants, young or old, all need accommodation immediately on arrival.
If, for young Australians, buying a house is manageable and they enter the housing market (for many it is not affordable now) then that will actually increase demand from that age group. So reducing immigration dramatically would not be the only factor affecting prices. Lower immigration would have a downward effect and local young adults entering the market would tend to keep prices buoyant. The two effects would not necessarily at all be equal to one another and this balance would depend largely on the amount by which net overseas migration decreased.
In 2015 there were 1,054,565 people in Australia in the age group 24-26 (inclusive). At this age let’s assume young people have finished their post school education and are ready for the work force. They really need to leave home and either buy a house or rent. In 2011 (https://www.aihw.gov.au/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=60129552283) 29% of young people 18-34 were still living at home. All the young adults still living at home with their parents are potential home-grown consumers of housing.
Are vacancies as a result of deaths an adequate source of housing supply?
In Australia there are about 150,000 deaths per year. Not all these deaths release accommodation, as not all deaths are of people living alone. Some may leave a family behind! But even if 50% of them did result in a house coming for sale or rental, i.e. 70,000 houses or apartments, then there is still that potential demand from 1,054,565 people in the 24-26 age group alone (2015 ABS) and, if the cost of housing stabilized, maybe all young people would be seeking accommodation away from the family home. Even without immigration, there is still, from these figures, a much higher potential demand for housing than there is existing housing which may become vacant. This is because the present age group needing to establish themselves in their adult lives is much larger than the older group. For example, in the Baby Boomer age group in 2015, arbitrarily aged 60-63, there were 775,971 people (2015 ABS) . This is a much smaller number than the potential house hunters in the 24-26 age bracket. Even then, people in their early 60s can expect another 20 years of life and will need their homes in the interim. Even if they left their houses there would still not be enough houses for the more numerous early 20s group. If one were to expect an imminent bonanza from the group 20 years older than the Baby Boomers, one would be disappointed because there are only 223,430 in a three year age bracket in their early 80s!
Where does demand for housing come from?
1. Emerging young adults needing housing away from the family home either as newly formed couples or other arrangements. The actual number depends on which age group is selected but it is a larger number than in the age brackets where downsizing or death are likely
2. Net overseas immigration – about 200,000 every year 3. Investment – local or overseas. 4. Holiday houses or units.
Of the investment properties, many of them will be available for rental. Although this does not help home ownership, at least it means, if rents are affordable, that people may be housed.
If foreign investment in Australian real estate were prohibited and net overseas migration reduced to levels say of the 1990s - 70,000 to 90,000 or lower, it would take extreme pressure off house prices. Then local young people might have a fighting chance of getting into the housing market. Young Australians who are now living at home with a parent or parents would get an opportunity to enter the market which would keep prices buoyant but not in the extreme.
Further demand for housing in Australia is surely waiting in the wings from people now sharing dwellings who would prefer less crowded arrangements. They would, in fact, become a new market for house sellers. The housing market would become more stable and gradually Australians could get used to a climate where a house was somewhere to live and not a speculative investment. The housing sector does not need to worry. If houses are on the cusp of affordable, I maintain there are local customers who will want to buy them or rent them. People would start to be able to exercise choices with respect to housing.
We are now in a dangerous cycle of price rises and of buyers, possibly in a defensive move, taking on enormous debt (relative to income) because they expect prices to go ever higher. A crash in prices would be wonderful for some and catastrophic for others, but I believe this situation can be avoided in Australia even with a significant cut to demand from overseas because of the age distribution of the population and the 'pent up' demand from young adults in the population.
At first glance The Australian Greens’ announcement that they would abolish the negative gearing 1 tax break, in a bid to increase government revenue through increased taxation and improve homelessness and housing affordability looks like the right move. I have, however a few questions about this.
Firstly it must be pointed out that the Australian Greens advocate that the new tax regime be “grandfathered” so that current negatively geared investors could continue to be so, but that no new investors would be entitled to this. Two sets of tax rules would apply side by side.
I wonder if borrowing to buy a property would be as attractive to a potential investor if s/he could not negatively gear. Presumably, The Greens do not advocate NO tax deduction on an income-generating investment but just to the point where it goes into the red.
I see from the policy document that their ruling would apply to all asset classes. At least here is some consistency.
Negative Gearing applies to non-property investments too
Negative gearing is usually only discussed in the context of property, but of course it applies to other investments too. At present one can borrow to buy shares, which will generate an income since they pay dividends. These dividends are subject to income taxation, in many cases offset by company tax already paid, in the form of imputation credits to the investor. Any shortfall in the income from the shares compared with the interest on the loan is tax deductible. With The Greens’ policy presumably this would only work up to the point that the investor is not going into the red.
One needs to look at why people borrow to invest in any asset. The sensible reason to do this is that the investor believes that the investment will rise in value, such that equity in the asset increases and the loan starts to look small by comparison. The investor can profit in two main ways:
1. With housing, as the value rises, the rent will also increase. Eventually the investor who was negatively geared could become “positively geared” and hence will pay tax to the government.
2. The investor who sees that s/he has made a paper profit can realise this gain, pay back the bank and pocket the profit minus Capital Gains Tax.
I cannot see that abolishing negative gearing will free up housing for non-investor home buyers nor that the tax gains for the government will be as significant as the Australian Greens believe. The abolishing of negative gearing would affect Australian investors, but it would not affect foreign investors who have borrowed from elsewhere. How would that be addressed?
Greens proposal fails to address land-costs – the biggest part of housing unaffordability
The Australian Greens advocate the use of prefabricated houses as a part solution to the terrible problem of homelessness in Australia. I don’t see anything in the document about the land required to put the prefab house on. Land-costs are the major component of housing in cities and these costs are more marked in areas which would be considered to be in a “good position.” The actual house is a relatively minor thing. If people had their own land, probably most would manage to erect some sort of shelter for themselves!
The Australian Greens, in deciding that “negative gearing” is to blame for Australia’s housing woes (and the complete evaporation of “the Australian dream”) fail to address the demand factor which is fundamental to the issue of unaffordable housing.
Where do the demands for Australia’s housing come from?
1. Australians as they reach adulthood tend to need housing apart from their parents . Only about half as many people die in Australia as are born here in any one year so there are roughly only half the number of houses available from that source as there are young Australian people looking for them. Thus there is a built-in shortfall because of our demography.
2. In addition to this, with high immigration, there are likely to be more migrants invited to Australia as business migrants, as skilled workers, students or for family reunion, than there are young Australians looking for their first home.
Penalised Australians would retreat and foreign investors advance
These two groups compete in the same housing market. If Australian would-be investors retreat from the housing investment market because the advantage of negative gearing is not there, I think as long as the total demand for housing does not slump then non-Australian investors will fill the gap left by locals and compete with local home-seekers. With large numbers of people needing housing and a short-fall in supply leading to very high purchase and rental prices, home-seekers and would-be renters will “fall through the cracks.”
Scott Ludlam says that 7,000 houses “for the homeless” will be supplied by 2020. That’s great, but people need housing now. There are 105,000 homeless people on any one night in Australia, according to Salvation Army figures and according to “Kids under cover”. Family breakdown is blamed for a lot of this but if housing were abundant, as it should be, a family breakdown would not result necessarily in homelessness.
Something needs to be done much more urgently about this problem, one which used to be practically unknown in Australia. We all, including The Greens, think we have a silver bullet for this problem but it seems clear that the demand side of the equation still needs to be lightened. This can be addressed easily and quickly at little or no cost. We should not be bringing in large numbers of skilled immigrants to compete against local young people for both housing and jobs. In maintaining very high immigration we are doing our young people a terrible disservice. Surely they deserve better than this?
#fn1" id="fn1">1.#txt1"> ↑ "Negative gearing is a form of financial leverage where an investor borrows money to invest and the gross income generated by the investment is less than the cost of owning and managing the investment, including depreciation and interest charged on the loan (but excluding capital repayments)." Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_gearing
ACOSS has come to the amazing and unprecedented conclusion that for "an increasing number of Australians, housing affordability is a serious problem that affects their ability to work". A quarter of people battling with housing stress regularly skip meals in order to pay their rent.
"There's a lot of overcrowding, people are bunking up, living in inappropriate forms of housing which are not good for anybody," chief executive of the Australian Council of Social Service Dr Goldie said. (Article republished from comment to front page article.)
Surely this explosion of logic, the profound cognitive process that drew to this conclusion is well overdue? The conclusion is surely obvious, that homelessness is more than a product of "domestic violence" as it's usually portrayed.
Our cities are becoming hostile to our living standards, and the vulnerable are the first to fall between the cracks.
Our real estate and housing-construction based economy means more congestion, and negative social impacts. On any given night, more than 7000 people sleep in crisis accommodation, while more than 105,000 identify as homeless. This is in a country that touts our living standards and wealth all over the world, to lure more people to migrate here!
Dr Goldie, instead of addressing the major cause of poverty, unemployment and unaffordable housing - population growth - she's endorsing funding for the homeless, and urged a bipartisan commitment to increase housing supply to help vulnerable people afford a place to live. To "increase housing supply", or putting more heat on the housing market frenzy, won't produce "affordable housing". With budget constraints, and heavy cut-backs to public services, there's nothing set aside for more social housing either.
ACOSS have no population policy, but their methods are more funding, more more more - of fixing symptoms and not addressing the cause - greed and growth!
There is very little 'social housing' available around Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula, yet Council has suggested these people could be relocated to Mornington - in an entirely different community! Assuming that such accommodation can even be found - there or anywhere else. Despite no clear justification for a car park, Council is stubbornly insisting on continuing with the eviction.
As park resident Kevin explains below, the Cabin Park provides its residents with a supportive, caring community, which they may not have the benefit of with other 'social housing' options.
Below is an open letter, which has been sent to Council by the Seaford Community Committee and the St Anne's Parish Social Justice Group (a Seaford based group). These groups have had meetings with Council staff, councillors and the owner of the Cabin park. The letter calls upon Council to leave the Cabin Park intact and instead accept a legal assurance by the owner that the Cabin Park will continue operating for another 10 years (at least). The Community Committee and the St Anne's Social Justice group have also organised a workshop on Homelessness in Frankston and has invited Councillors, including the Mayor, to attend. This invitation is attached below along with the joint policy on social housing for Frankston produced by the two community groups.
Mayor Cr Sandra Mayer and Councillors
Frankston City Council
PO Box 490
Frankston Vic 3199
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
The St Anne’s Parish Social Justice Group and the Seaford Community
Committee have joined to consider local affordable housing and
homelessness in our area.
We are particularly concerned at what we understand to be the Council’s
position in regard to the Seaford Beach Cabin Park.
We have organised a public meeting on this issue to which we have
separately invited you, Mayor, to speak, and separately invited all
Councillors to attend. Council staff is of course also very welcome.
The meeting will be held at the Seaford Community Centre, 6.30 –
8.00 pm, on Thursday, 27 November.
We have made every effort to understand the issue, and have had the
benefit of the views of one Councillor and two Council officers who
have generously addressed our meetings.
The conclusions we have reached lead us to strongly believe that it is
time for an all-embracing review of this issue. We are appealing to
Council to take a fresh look at this matter.
The Seaford Beach Cabin Park appears to be well managed, and currently
fills an important need in Frankston for transitional low-cost
housing, especially for lone persons. It also provides emergency
We can see no need at this time to resume the Crown land on which the
park is partly built. This course would lead to removal of 21 to 40
units (depending on present title boundary negotiations with DEPI),
and the eviction of up to 60 residents. This would affect everyone
at the park, and likely jeopardise its ongoing viability. The Cabin Park is an asset to the community, not a liability. Rather
than taking action to close units, we submit that Council should (in
accordance with its Housing Strategy) be doing all it can to work
with the owner, especially as he states that he wishes to continue
In our view, for Council to persist with its proposed course would be
very harmful to the cause of addressing homelessness in Frankston.
There appears to be a stark contrast between the provisions of the
Frankston Planning Scheme and the present proposals of the Council in
relation to the Seaford Beach Cabin Park.
We appreciate that Council has a desire to increase beachside car
parking, but there are other well-located potential foreshore
car-parking sites. There appears to be little (if any) demonstrated
need for a car park in this particular location and whatever need
there is, does not compare with the clear and urgent demand for
low-income accommodation. To prioritise a car park at the expense of
vulnerable peoples’ homes, in our view, would be incomprehensible
We want Seaford to be a diverse and inclusive community. We do not see
Seaford as a community where all property should be developed for the
top end of the real estate market. For communities to be viable they
need a diversity of housing options to suit the diversity of needs of
people and their families. We do not see gentrification as a
priority of the Seaford community. Our first priority is the
residents of the community, or in the words of the Seaford Local Area
Plan: "build community connectedness".
We respectfully submit the following recommendations for Council’s
That Frankston Council recognises the valuable contribution of the Seaford
beach Cabin Park, and support its ongoing contribution to affordable
housing in the municipality:
Council should support the retention of the Cabin Park ownership and operation
in its present form;
Even if the land-swap goes ahead, the arrangement in which the Frankston
Council leases the public land to the Cabin Park should continue, so
that the current operation is maintained;
Council should take up the offer by the owner to legally commit to the site
being a cabin park for a minimum 10 years;
Council should not consider resuming the Crown land for any other purpose at
least until such time as it undertakes its Lone Persons Households
Strategy and other substantial measures to address the affordability
and homelessness issues identified in the Frankston Planning Scheme and
the Frankston Housing Strategy.
If Council determines to proceed with the land swap and build a car-park,
it should strongly support the owner in his representations to the DEPI
regarding use (lease or purchase) of the small slice of land that would
be required to save approximately 20 units;
If the Council determines to build a car-park then it should (as it proposes)
engage professionals to undertake a 'closure protocol' to find
appropriate alternative local accommodation for residents, particularly
for families with children at local schools, people who work locally,
and long term residents who identify Seaford as their home.
Accommodation options at caravan parks down the Peninsula should not be
seen as an adequate solution to the housing needs of residents. It
should also set aside any deadline for eviction to ensure that
residents are given the best possible opportunity to find appropriate
We look forward to your response and to future correspondence with
Council regarding affordable housing.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further information
concerning this issue.
Yours sincerely, On behalf of the joint Working Group on “Homelessness”
David Moloney, Chairman,
St Anne’s Parish Social Justice Group
Noel M Tudball B.Bus, Chairman,
Seaford Community Committee
(NB Image of cabin park sign derived from one taken by Derrick den Hollander. Reused without permission.
This article was orginally published in the Independent Australia.
Imagine that you had a place to call home. A place to which you had an undeniable birth right. A place to which no matter where you roamed you could always return and be welcome. A place where familiar faces would always greet you with open arms.
Imagine then that this place also provided with a little effort all your food and other needs. Imagine also, that this place was a garden paradise, cultivated by your family for generations a cultivation to which you also could contribute.
Imagine that this is then suddenly all taken away. The friendly faces of loving and caring friends and family are replaced by the cold faces of a desperate, greedy and violent people. You, and your community, are forcibly removed. Abused and killed in the process.
Over the ensuing years you watch as, midst much ugly dispute, the garden paradise is divided up and transformed. In some places the transformation is slow; in others it is rapid and dramatic. The landscape is dug up, aided by machines that belch filth and which leave enormous permanent scars.
The land that was once a mother to you and your people is changed forever. The society which nurtured you and your people permanently changed — if not extinguished.
Gammage’s fundamental point was the ‘sophisticated, successful and sensitive farming regime integrated across the Australian landmass’ – described by him as ‘a majestic achievement’ – ended with European settlement. And it is this crime that is, perhaps, still denied by many.
Not only was it a crime, but it hints at the errors of our society.
Australians now are not born with a home as an undeniable birth right.
They do not inherit the security and comfort of knowing that, come what may, there will always be a place where they are welcomed. Instead they are born dispossessed. Born into a country which has been neatly parcelled out to private owners.
A home for most Australians now is something insecure, something that takes many a lifetime to attain, and for some is never attained. Something that can coldly and callously be taken away when one is most vulnerable, due perhaps to the loss of a job or an inability to work due to personal injury or distress.
Banks can repossess if payments are not made — and even if this never happens, all those with a mortgage must live under the oppressive anxiety of this threat.
And even once a home is owned it is not safe. If one struggles to pay council rates, the home can be forfeited.
Again the essential trait of our society comes forth. Just when one is most vulnerable, our society allows them to be kicked while down. Once homeless, for tens of thousands of Australians, there is nowhere to go.
‘Authorities’ do not tolerate them on the streets, or in the parks. Even if they manage to live in these places they are subject to violence and sexual abuse.
How Australia has changed since European settlement! How it has progressed!
And now we find it is not just Australia, but the same pattern is occurring across the world. The masses are dispossessed whilst a small elite gain wealth and power, in the end corrupting the very institutions intended to check their power.
The Ancien Régime, the aristocracy, is re-establishing itself. We return to an age whereby common people are serfs – people without rights, who live in constant insecurity, slaves to their masters who possess everything, if not the people themselves.
Once again ‘commoners’ must begin the fight for basic human rights. These are the right to trial for protection against arbitrary imprisonment. These rights have been stripped back under the guise of anti-terrorist laws, along with mass surveillance. And it turns out really to be a means of protecting the privileges of the elite against even non-violent protest (even conservatives are worried about this).
Then, if a people like the Crimeans find themselves as pawns caught between two covetous global powers – both of which seek only to exploit both people and resources – and have to choose one side over the other in a legitimate referendum, propaganda machines are invoked, one power accusing the other.
This is the society we now live in. This is modern Australia, as it is the modern world.
And it is not the first time we have been here. Writing during an earlier time of inequality (if it in fact is distinct from the processes active now) Rousseau declared:
“The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naïve enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”
Whilst many aspects of his 1754 Discourse on Inequality may be questioned, perhaps there is some truth to the statement above?
Is there a solution?
So what can be done? At very least we should allow the most dispossessed, the homeless, to be visible and to protect themselves as best they can.
This can be easily done by allowing homeless people legitimate access to public land to erect tents or swags, and communities of tents, should they so choose. Thus protected from discrimination by ‘authorities’ they may be able to establish protective relationships between themselves.
It is quite possible, likely even, that tent cities – perhaps even slums - may arise, but this itself is necessary if we are to make the problems of homelessness visible to people and government. Such visibility might be the first step towards better solutions.
Would such communities be an improvement? I believe they would be. The Occupy tent encampment in Melbourne was just such a ‘tent’ city. And it was occupied by at least some genuine homeless, and many marginalised in other ways.
Occupy's tent city, October 2011, Melbourne (courtesy Graham Miln)
The Occupy community was highly organised. It was kept clean and elections were held for organisers in the community so as to ensure pathways were kept clear.
Others participated in 24 hour ‘security’ patrols (in shifts) around the perimeter. This was necessary because the biggest problems arose not within the camp, but from everyday people passing by who would occasionally try and thump a few of the occupiers.
The response of occupiers to the one incident of internal violence I witnessed in the camp has led me to believe that evictions can be dealt with non-violently simply by a crowd of people standing around the perpetrator and shouting “shame” repeatedly until he or she leaves.
Coal seam gas protestors in Australia’s Northern Rivers region were recently living in a large tent camp (on a private property) quite happily and comfortably. Why cannot our poor be able to do this?
Bentley Blockade camp, NSW
It is entirely possible that living in a tent city may actually offer the homeless better and safer conditions than in built accommodation especially given accusations that the homeless are being exploited by unscrupulous landlords.
In any case, tent encampments are not unprecedented in Australia. They were certainly common during the 1929 Great Depression. In fact, in early days, most Australian cities and towns were tent cities.
And apart from reducing vulnerability, legitimate homeless camps may also offer many other benefits in relation to delivering needed services and other assistance.
If allowed, homeless camps would not be unique to Australia as a developed nation.
As many early immigrants to Australia were haunted by the squalor of cramped London living, most Australian cities were designed with vast parkland areas. These offer more than enough space to accommodate our homeless whilst not excluding other uses.
The only barrier seems to be the sensibilities of the modern gentry and local authorities.
In 2013 foreign investors obtained permission from the Victorian government to build or to buy 4,500 houses, amounting to some $18b worth of approvals. Numbers of houses falling into foreign hands are increasing, with the Chinese the biggest buyers and builders, followed by the Canadians, Americans and Singaporeans. There were 12,025 applications to invest in Victorian real estate according to an annual report for 2012-2013. Not one was rejected. On Wednesday 19 March 2014 the Treasurer, The Hon Joe Hockey MP, asked the Economics Committee to inquire into and report on Australia's foreign investment policy as it applies to residential real estate.
Although the date for submissions seems to have passed, the committee is still receiving them. Since most submissions have come from professional organisations with a financial interest in promoting more houses, there is a great need for members of the public who cannot afford housing to make submissions. Submissions
The Committee invited interested persons and organisations to make submissions addressing the terms of reference by Friday 9 May 2014. However it looks as if they are still accepting submissions.
The committee invites individuals and organisations to send in their opinions and proposals in writing (submissions)
Low income households are becoming increasingly marginalised and excluded from opportunities. More than one third of households privately renting who access Anglicare Emergency Relief are in severe rental stress, spending more than 45% of their income in rent. The Federal government intends to fund only 1,000 new homes under the National Rental Affordability Scheme, against the real need of at least 89,000 dwellings in NSW.
2013 Rental Affordability Snapshot
Rental affordability crisis: Less than 1% of Sydney homes
affordable for low income households
Access to affordable housing continues to be a major issue in Greater Sydney according to the latest 2013 Rental Affordability Snapshot launched by ANGLICARE Sydney today.
The snapshot revealed that of the 12,880 properties available for private rental in Greater Sydney on 13 – 14 April, only 23 properties were affordable and appropriate for households on income support payments without placing them in rental stress.
The report found there were no suitable properties for single people on Youth Allowance or Newstart.
There were few suitable properties available for other household types, including:
singles on the Aged Pension (5 properties)
single parents on the Parenting Payment with two children (2 properties)
couples with children on Newstart (2 properties) and
people on Disability Support (2 properties).
Couples receiving the Aged Pension had the greatest number of suitable properties available to them – 19 across Sydney.
“People on minimum wage fared a little better,” said Grant Millard, ANGLICARE Sydney CEO. “For families with both adults earning the minimum wage, there were 208 affordable and appropriate properties available. For single people on the minimum wage, rental prospects declined substantially to only 34 properties across the city. Prospects for single parents on the minimum wage were even worse, with only 5 properties being both affordable and appropriate.
“ANGLICARE Sydney is concerned that low income households are becoming increasingly marginalised and excluded from opportunities for a better and more secure future. More than one third of households privately renting who access our Emergency Relief are in severe rental stress – meaning they’ re spending more than 45% of their income in rent.
“We’re aware that the Federal government has recently announced a new round of funding to support 1,000 new homes under the National Rental Affordability Scheme. However, with a current housing shortfall of about 89,000 dwellings in NSW, far more needs to be done in this area.
“The NSW government should also include clear affordable or social housing targets in their metropolitan strategy for Sydney 2031 and ensure Local Councils require new developments near public transport to include social and public housing,” said Mr Millard.
ANGLICARE Sydney’s Rental Affordability Snapshot was part of a national project carried out by Anglicare Australia to assess national rental affordability for low income households.
Jon Faine surprised many Victorians yesterday morning (4 September 2012) when he lambasted the abuse of 457 Visas in Victoria at a time of high local unemployment. He drew listeners' attention robustly to the folly of importing thousands of workers to industries where Australians could not even afford to train. Today, 5 September 2012, on ABC Radio 774, his guest was the Executive Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), but we heard not a word about how mass immigration is driving Australia's housing shortage nor how the property development growth lobby is driving mass immigration and the destruction of Victoria's green wedges and other greens spaces. Should we expect more of Jon Faine and the ABC or are ABC announcers constrained to toe the government line that supports the property development lobby?
Jon Faine and the abuse of 457 Visas
Jon Faine surprised many Victorians yesterday morning (4 September 2012) when he lambasted the abuse of 457 Visas in Victoria at a time of high local unemployment. Careful to underline his support of multiculturalism or refugee rights or simply the right to migrate (I cannot remember which exactly) he drew listeners' attention robustly to the folly of importing thousands of workers to industries where Australians could not even afford to train. A number of people rang in - and nurses were well represented - to say how foreign workers were taking over industries and supplanting them.
The Housing connection missed entirely with 457 visas
No-one said anything, however, about how this was driving up the cost of housing and thereby driving up the cost of wages - because people have to pay rent and mortgages in this inflationary situation. It's not like Jon Faine doesn't know about it though. He seems to be in a position where, overall, he consistently promotes 'experts' who are highly influential in the property development and population growth lobbies.
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)
What a contrast today (5 September 2012) when John had as his guest Dr Ian Winter, the Executive Director of the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI).
AHURI flies under a touchy-feely banner of social welfare housing affordability independent research, so listeners may have been surprised by the relatively supine attitude it seems to hold towards Victorians' plummeting quality of life and narrowing choices. They might be less surprised if they realised that AHURI gets most of its funding from government and that some of its board members are highly placed in the property development industry inseparable from the population growth lobby. In contrast to the people who rang in yesterday deploring what was happening with the 457 visas, the callers today seemed suspiciously keen to celebrate our declining choices. Were they for real?
If AHURI is the best Australia can come up with to defend peoples' rights to housing, then it looks like we are sunk.
Not so touchy-feely really
The reality is that AHURI is in there with Australand, the Property Council of Australia, and various state land development corporations, which everyone should realise are just property development mills with inextricable links to private interests. While Dr Ian Winter has a benign history as a former Principal Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the Chairman of AHURI's Board is Rod Fehring who is a Foundation Member & Chairman of the Residential Development Council and Director of the Property Council of Australia. He was a Chief Executive of socially and environmentally destructive Delfin Lend Lease and Head of Lend Lease Communities, Asia Pacific. As well as several similar past positions, he was appointed in 2010 as Executive General Manager – Residential of Australand Ltd. (a company more than half-owned by the Singapore Government through CapitaLand, part of the Singapore-government owned Temasek).
Some alert Victorians many remember that it was to Australand that Mr Bracks (ex-Premier of Victoria) gave away 80million dollars and 20 hectares of Melbourne's dearly loved Royal Park. In addition, the Federation-style Heritage-listed buildings of the old Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital, restored at taxpayers’ expense and promised for community use, were then included in the deal, divided into units, and then sold for up to $800,000 a unit - often off the plan - providing a portal to people not even resident in Australia. There was a minute 'social housing' component in the whole deal, but the amount of land and money and taxpayer funding given to Australand could have been put to much greater and more direct use by Australians in need of housing, and we could have retained 20 ha of parkland. If the land had not been given away to this foreign company, the standing Victorian government invitation to overseas immigrants via www.liveinvictoria.com.au could not have done as much damage.
Michael Kerry is the Executive Director of the AHURI Board of Management. He is also the Managing Director, Planning, Design and Development – Australia New Zealand for AECOM [which is an international engineering and construction corporation]. Previously he was Regional Director (Queensland) for Parsons Brinckerhoff [construction and engineering corporation], a senior executive with Babcock & Brown Australia [Investment and Infrastructure, went belly-up in 2009], a Director with the Springfield Land Corporation
"Greater Springfield is the largest privately owned master planned city in Australia. Springfield Land Corporation is the master developer of the entire 2,860 hectare (7,067 acre) Greater Springfield land parcel which has become home to nearly 23,000 residents and 8,700 students since it was established in 1991."
(Isn't that where Bart Simpson lives?)
Michael also had extensive involvement in planning urban development in Queensland from 2004 [pity about those buildings on the flood plains]. From 1992-2004 he was Divisional Manager, Urban Management, with the Brisbane City Council, a Director of the South Bank Corporation for 12 years and an inaugural Director of Brisbane City Enterprises Pty Ltd. Before joining Brisbane City Council in 1992, he was Executive Director of the Western Australian Planning Commission and Chief Executive Officer of the Joondalup Development Corporation in Perth; Planning Manager for Metropolitan Adelaide in South Australia; Director of Planning in the Northern Territory and Senior Urban Planner with the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation and National Capital Development Commission. International experience includes 3 years in the United Kingdom in environmental planning and urban renewal; local government capacity building in South Africa; and strategic planning advisor for Riyahd, Saudi Arabia. Michael is immediate Past-President of the Planning Institute Australia (Queensland Division) a Board Member of the Centre for Subtropical Design and the Urban Land Development Authority (ULDA) among other positions.
It is of course to the advantage of the growth lobby to be on boards of charitable organisations and organisations that sound high-minded. They can give advice on funding, whilst being associated with 'worthwhile causes'.
New twists and turns in the growthist philosophy of manufactured consent
The theme of the Jon Faine/AHURI show seemed to be to present as a kind of philosophy the following message: "We" have now been through the McMansion greed phase where everyone aspires to a big house. Now we are happily downsizing and looking at what we can salvage from those [enforced] decisions, because there are more on the way and resistance is futile."
The AHURI/Faine show was taking phone calls from suspiciously docile and mini-minded people. I say, "suspiciously" because the calls were in such massive contrast to those received the day before on the subject of 457 visas pushing Australians out of work.
For instance one woman rang in saying that her family had lots of money to buy a big block with a big house, but had purposefully elected to move into a small house with 'only' three bedrooms and one toilet - which she added tonily was "actually in the bathroom!" The stated reason was to avoid the division and isolation of family members that occurs when they are all distributed within a multi-lifestyle roomed dwelling.
Uncriticized was the fact that this purported lifestyle decision was really a lifestyle decision, i.e. the one-bathroom woman had a choice. For most Victorians, where they live is a Hobson's choice: it is what they can afford in an unaffordable market where 457 visas make the situation worse. It is also anti-social that our shelter, self-sufficiency and primary outgoings should be consigned to a 'market' where no-one has any political pull unless they have a lot of money. AHURI, with its government funded track record of cooperating with the big commercial developer boys can say and do nothing strong in this area.
Brave new world
Another female caller said how wonderful the retirement village was that she and her husband had chosen to move into, from a four bedroom house with a big garden in the country - which was much too big. [Such a common problem - not!]
"It's such a young place: we are only 60 and some of the people there moved there when they were in their mid-fifties!" Jon Faine asked the woman questions about what made the place so young. She gave a list of 'activities' that the residents all do there. It sounded like a holiday camp for children. Among the activities were bowls, exercises, crafts... No hint of political engagement. No hint of adult responsibility. It gave the impression that the people who go to retirement villages are totally given over to consumption and self, incidentally filling the pockets of developers, depleting their local communities of stability, and cashing in their children's inheritance. If that is really the 'lifestyle' aspiration fostered in such places, what an empty lifestyle and what an abrogation of duty when we need adults who are not too busy to go out and represent the rest of us (working too many hours to pay off huge mortgages and unreasonable rents to keep up with what is going on, let alone engage).
We need more Mary Drosts, Julianne Bells and Lady Hamers to balance out the commercial infantilisation of our elders. See "Anti-Growth Lobby: Women in politics: why don't more participate - or do they? (Melbourne, Australia)"
The truth is that those who can even afford to go into some kind of 'retirement village' are a distinct minority. "The number of households who own their home outright has fallen since 1995 from 42 per cent to 34 per cent" (AHURI "Home ownership".) A lot of us are destined for boarding houses and special accommodation homes, if not the street. The shameful fact that Australian mining billionaire Gina Rheinhart is getting a ton of media coverage as she recommends third world wages for Australians means that some of us may be picking over garbage heaps for food quite soon.
Rising cost of oil means more poverty for all
This listener also wondered what these retirement village birds have left for their children and other relatives, as they capitalise on the only family asset in a brutal land and housing market that is likely to leave a growing segment of Australians destitute. It is obvious that they have left nothing for other Australians as they sell up and allow developers to move in and bulldoze perfectly good housing stock and land that could save a future generation from starvation and feudal subjugation as petroleum gets more and more expensive.
And don't tell me about nuclear energy saving us all.
"BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers said in May this year that Olympic Dam mine expansion (to create the world’s largest copper and uranium mine) will not go ahead because general industry-wide cost increases, coupled with high energy costs, notably of diesel fuel, of which enormous volumes are required for mining, has made the project unviable. The project would have required something like five years and 2 billion litres of diesel fuel to remove a billion tonnes of overburden before ore mining could begin at more than 400m depth. Although BHP is still talking about finding another less energy intensive way of expanding, short of importing millions of low-waged immigrants with picks and shovels to dig up the uranium, ideas seem few and far between. South Australian Green,Mark Parnell, has pointed out that the costs of taxpayer subsidies for this fuel would have exceeded the royalties paid to the government by BHP to the tune of 60m per annum.
Where does that leave us?
Without power to maintain Australia's complex system of mechanised food production and transport, as well as overseas trades, Australians will need the productive backyards that many people had before the advent of cheap fuel and supermarkets. If we build over those yards they won't be productive. Food prices will skyrocket again. If you live in a high rise where will you get food if you are not one of a minority of very well paid people?
Somehow I don't think that AHURI will do anything to stop the growthist jugganaut that is bringing this situation closer every day.
Faine finished up the session by mentioning that he had recently heard of a couple who sold up and took off round Australia in a campervan to see how long they could go for.
If you sell your house for a campervan, you have liquidated most of your asset. If your campervan busts, what do you have left? Nonetheless, fewer and fewer Australians will own a house to choose to downsize or go out in a campervan.
The hold that the property development lobby has over the population and land-use planning system in this country has removed choice, and is causing continual reduction in living standards and quality of life. Even worse, this all comports concommitant reductions in democracy, as governments listen only to developers, Jon Faine and other public radio jocks massage the indigestible message by promoting the property lobby merchants as good-guys, and unregulated banks run the mortgage show. In a country subsumed to mass migration, what voice do most people really have?
What can we expect from the ABC?
I began this article with the question, "Should we expect more of Jon Faine and the ABC or are ABC announcers constrained to toe the government line that supports the property development lobby?"
I think we should be able to expect much more, but we don't actually know what the law and policy is for ABC employees. If they are allowed to express their views then we need more diverse representation of views and Australians are badly in need of better information than they are getting.
Economically rationalised charity?
The Salvation Army has joined a growing list of faith-based community aid organisations that have jumped onto the urban development bandwagon at measurable expense to wider community interest. The Salvos have lodged an urban subdivision proposal upon a heritage site in the Brisbane suburb of Chelmer. An approval will result in demolition of the site's buildings and sale of the re-zoned land.
Maybe it's time for such entities to re-examine their strategic objectives.
Should they be attacking the root of the problems they ostensibly deal with, or is it OK to actively assist expansion of the disadvantage market?
Are they primarily a charity or are they an economic corporation focused on growth?
Warrina Village aged care Chelmer closes for subdivision
An impact assessable subdivision application has been submitted for this site by the Salvation Army which includes demolition of existing buildings. A003019156
Warrina Village is an aged care facility at Chelmer owned and man-aged by the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army propose to relocate the facility to Chapel Hill and dispose of the site.
The site includes a 19th century two storey residence, originally known as Pontresina. Pontresina has cultural heritage values as a substantial 19th century villa and is entered on the City Plan Heritage Register.
The Salvation Army propose to demolish most buildings on the site and re-configure the lot (Lot 4 on RP 163091).
Back on May 17th, 2010 I wrote an article on CanDoBetter entitled 'Australia's growing underclass'.
The article came out of my personal exposure to months of abject unemployment forcing me, out of respect for my family, to humbly walk into CentreLink. To my disgust, since I was not in absolute starvation-poverty, CentreLink rejected my claim for temporary unemployment benefits. Only thanks to my broader family, we didn't come close to losing our house.
That article read as follows:
Australia's Growing Underclass
I can attest to the inadequacy of the Australian Government's treatment of unemployed people via Centrelink. The forms are longer and more invasive than a tax return. The processing took eight weeks after which I was rejected because my partner was working part-time.
Eventually I got back into work off my own bat, but the experience was humiliating, a waste of time, and has turned me vehemently against government.
So many Australians are vulnerable to losing their job and don't have sufficient financial reserves to get back on their feet, let alone meet bill payments when there is no income. When this happens it comes as a shock to find that the safety net one assumed existed, does not in fact exist. One must be in abject poverty to be eligible for government support. For men in particular, the loss of esteem as a failed breadwinner can tip many to depression and worse. A substantial number in rural Australia and on the land are isolated and particularly vulnerable.
Both Labor and Liberal argue that important numbers of people rort the system and so each of these political parties have respectively made the claim hurdles so high that the majority of applicants' claims are eliminated as they go through the Centrelink system. The unemployment benefit of $220 a week, if it is paid, is so low as to be less than most weekly rents. People with a mortgage are forced down a path of bank repossession. It is a steep, slippery slope for many families.
A large proportion of workers now work on contract terms, like me, without leave entitlements, without unions, without rights. When the contract ends there is nothing and sometimes those contracts end at a whim with a tap on the shoulder at 5pm on a Friday.
And it is not just unemployment that has many Australians placed in dire circumstances. People with a disability, widows, veterans, and older people, have been thrown on the scrap heap. So have people with mental health issues, the homeless and those who simply find themselves in poverty and in broken homes.
Many Australians do not realise how close they are to joining the growing underclass.
Labor and Liberal have lost touch with those ordinary Australians who fall from the position of being able to fend for themselves. The Greens as the main alternative seem to be stuck in some ideological utopia pressing for 'green' issues that prioritise environment and climate change over basic human needs.
Meanwhile Australia's growing underclass is undermining the health and cohesiveness of our society. It wouldn't take much for a new alternative party focusing on life's fundamentals to get up.
Later that day I added a further comment:
'I have decided to join Australia First'
I shall give them a go since I have read and support their values.
I see no reason to support Labor, Liberals, Greens or Nationals, based on their lack of performance. Over the years, I have voted for all of them at one time or another, kidding myself they will bring change. I have had a gut full.
If another party presents itself with fresh ideas I will consider that too.
Since my post, slur and innuendo followed and then CanDoBetter went off air for about two months (Nov-Dec 2010). But it was only yesterday I learned that I had been granted release from purgatory and that I now have access to CanDoBetter (hence why I have not contributed since).
And so, now at the first opportunity I herein post the reply offered by chairman of the Australia First Party, Dr Jim Saleam, to the accusations raised against him all those months ago that were denied a free hearing. I have since started my own website against injustice entitled malleebull.org, although I shall continue to support CanDoBetter since they gave me an opportunity to speak freely.
Reply by #JimSaleam" id="JimSaleam">Dr Jim Saleam, Australia First Party, 25th Nov 2010:
[This is a reply to "Can the Australia First Party help fix the plight of ordinary Australians" and other comments on candobetter - which I have not yet been able to locate. Ed.]
Freedom of speech is vital in Australia and I am pleased that this website respects this right.
Two weeks out from a federal election and the range and depth and vision on the two major parties - the LibLabs is woefully simplistic and shortsighted.
Both Lib Lab economic rationalist factions are selfishly limited to an 'ends justifies the means' approach purely to get elected. Both are indulging in election-term economics, lobbying marginal seats, pork barreling the swinging voter and trying to differentiate themselves from each other. Neither are relevant to the future governance of Australia.
They are not about the many departmental portfolios they take responsibility for. They are simplistically about two personalities - Tony and Julia.
Tony thinks it is simply about 'ending the waste, repaying the debt, stopping the big new taxes and stopping the boats'. [Tony Abbott website, 28th July 2010].
Julia thinks it is simply about 'moving Australia forward', and motherhood statements like 'securing our future with responsible economic management', 'delivering fairness for working families', an education revolution, and 'tackling climate change' (somehow). [Labor Platform].
It's dumbing down the issues as if the Australian electorate is a crowd watching a football match.
Have a read:
These policies are on the fly, tokenistic pork-barrelling for media sound grabs. They lack robust research and are reactionary. They are outputs of overpaid consultants advising the major parties to focus only on the key 'push-button' re-election issues. They are only about getting re-elected and getting the pollsters to push them a few percentage points ahead of the other.
The offerings are hollow. The LibLabs are short-sighted simpletons. They reveal the lack of ideological vision once characteristic an inspiring of politics over 30 years ago. One has to return to the Whitlam era to recall ideological vision in Australian politics. These days the LibLabs have created a political vacuum in Australia.
No wonder many Australians just tune out. We've heard it all before. We've seen the promises become conveniently forgotten and dishonoured. We've seen successive LibLabs grow on the nose four years down the track.
Where are the long term strategic visions, direction and investment plans for this great nation?
Where's the badly needed long term investment into the big picture issues?
Here are some of Australia's big picture issues that demand longterm political vision:
* TRANSPORT: Public transport infrastructure - a national fast rail network for both freight and passengers;
* ENERGY: Transition strategy into clean and renewable energy;
* POLLUTION: Carrot and stick strategies to reduce pollution particularly in industry and private transport. (climate change and greenhouse gas emissions pare just fancy words or 'pollution');
* DOMESTIC INDUSTRY: Strengthen Australia's domestic industries to restore international competitiveness, stem the flow of industrial entrepreneurship and investment offshore and to curb the unfair market controls by big business over small business;
* EDUCATION: Vocational education (TAFE) aligned to industry needs for the next 20 years, where industry is made to financial contribute and play a key role, to realign the local skills shortage epidemic;
* Public schools to bring the educational standards up to private school standards so as to address the Dickensian class inequity across Australian schools;
* University funding so Australian universities are not beholded to international student fees for their financial survival;
* HEALTH: New major hospitals to fill the chronic bed shortages in all capital cities, and nationalise health with training and infrastructure to stay one step ahead of demand, and to address the inequity of rural health.
* INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS: Fair financial compensation for the stolen generations and the stolen wages to redress the 20th Century government treatment of Aborigines as slaves;
* Strategies and resources to address the indigenous inequity of access to essential public services and to address the shortcomings in life expectancy and living standards
* Constitutional recognition of the prior occupation and sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their rights and obligations as owners and custodians
and to self determination, political representation and equity in developing and implementing public policies, programs and services that affect them. (Refer The Greens policy)
* SUSTAINABLE AND ACCOUNTABLE IMMIGRATION: Not a population policy, but a sustainable immigration policy - one that is accountable to the full social costs (costs of living, public infrastructure supply, homelessness and unemployment), one that is aligned to our Australian value system, one that is accountable to the full environmental costs, and one that is accountable to the complete immigration lifecycle - where new arrivals become self-sufficient and integrated into the broader community;
* ENVIRONMENT: Strategies for sustainable crop selection, sustainable agricultural practices (irrigation, fertilizer, land clearing, salinity, runoff), Murray-Darling irrigation buy back and local community transition support, new national parks, sustainable forestry that makes the AFS certification a national minimal standard, sustainable fishing initiatives.
* THE ARTS: Arts and culture policy to provide opportunities and encouragement of Australian home-grown talent
* DEFENCE: A defence policy that is wholly about defence of Australia aligned to the interests of our immediate regional security and peace in the Oceania region, not the current offence policy that is wrongly aligned to the militarist interests of the United States - Vietnam, Iraq, Somalia, Afghanistan.
* EMERGENCY SERVICES: Overhaul underfunded volunteer emergency services national-wide (ambulance, fire and those dealing with bushfire emergencies, storm emergencies, and other natural disaster emergencies) to give Australians a 21st Century chance of survival and recovery
* POVERTY: Addressing the causes of Australia's growing underclass - homelessness, unemployment, record incarceration and recidivism, those affected by mental health issues and substance abuse, family breakdown and domestic violence;
* ELECTORAL CONTRACT: An electoral contract to make electoral promises accountable to the people
I am sure there are others.
At least the Greens offer alternatives, but they have many shortcomings with their policies too, such as where is the economic case to show that The Greens could run the economy?
This uncertainty is why the Greens don't get a leg in.
A vote for any other party offers the hope of change.
A vote for Lib or Lab, promises more of the same crap.
'A people who are sheep get a government of wolves.'
©The Cairns Post
Q1. Why are house prices in urban Australia perpetually rising?
Demand for housing exceeds supply, particularly in the capital cities. Real estate investors, the real estate industry and property developers seek to maximise their capital gain on selling housing and so seek the highest price on an open unregulated market.
Q2. Why is demand for urban housing exceeding supply in Australian cities?
Population growth is outpacing the combined rate of sales of existing housing and construction of new housing in the capital cities.
Q3. Why is housing demand so strong?
Australian federal and state governments are encouraging business development in the capital cities and so employment opportunities are disproportionately higher in the capital cities. Australian federal and state governments are encouraging urban population growth at rates that exceed the housing supply in the capital cities. Since employment opportunities are disproportionately higher in the capital cities, population growth is disproportionately high in the capital cities.
Q4. Why is housing supply in capital cities not meeting demand?
Housing in the capital cities is not becoming available at a rate that can keep up with population growth. Housing is not being constructed fast enough to cater for the increased demand in the capital cities. Even when mass housing construction is released, governments are not funding appropriate residential/social infrastructure - schools, public transport, emergency services, recreational facilities, etc to maintain quality of life comparable to established suburbs.
Q5. Why is Australia's population growth so high?
Net immigration growth is the bulk of the population growth and this is being perpetually and recklessly encouraged by successive pendulous cycle of Lib/Lab political parties with vested interests in the short term profits of growth.
The sheer volume of immigrants to Australia are -over-demanding housing forcing housing scarcity and price rises making housing unaffordable to Australians. Governments are encouraging urban property price increases - through excess immigration, and urban-centric economic stimulus, yet all the while neglecting social responsibility for providing urban capacity. As Sheila Newman states on CanDoBetter: "Here in Australia every state government is in the business of raising the price of land beyond the capacity of most people to pay for it, creating exorbitant rents."
Just because many foreign governments allow excessive populations, this does not mean that Australia has to accept foreigners seeking a better opportunity. Beyond Australia's humanitarian obligations to accept refugees fleeing persecution, Australia does not have to accept economic migrants. It is these economic migrants who are displacing Australians from housing, employment, education. Economic migrants are not paying their way and are draining tax revenue to the detriment of indigenous and local Australians.
Once Australia's homeless have a humanitarian safety net of food, shelter, clothing, medical care and educational opportunity, only then should Australia consider extending invitations to foreigners to share the Australian dream of owning one's own home, but then only if carrying capacity permits.
"105,000 Australians are homeless on any given night."
This is a national disgrace! It is as if Australia has a 'Migrant First Policy'.
Australian Per Capita Self-Reliance Cost
What is the cost to house, feed, shelter, clothe, provide medical care, educate in literacy and numeracy a person in Australia to enable that person to become independently self-reliant and at an acceptable Australian quality standard of living? From birth to say age 22 when tertiary education will prepare a person for the workforce in the 21st Century, let's say the per capita cost is $1 million. In addition, the costs of providing social infrastructure and economic opportunities to nurture and support one's stable family environment would need to be included. Let's say the per capital cost is then $1.3 million for argument sake.
It thus costs $1.3 million in Australian taxes to get each Australian-born to a minimum self-reliance standard. Many of course will require more resources and time to achieve this and those who are disadvantaged may never reach this ideal standard, so the costs will be higher.
It is with this reality in mind that Australia's social policy and immigration policy needs to be fully realised and publicly costed. The fact that this is deliberately neglected by cyclical Lib/Lab governments at all levels that Australia's living standards are rapidly approaching those of 'Second World' New Zealand.
New Zealand a 'Second World' nation you ask?
Well, the term traditionally referred to Eastern Bloc countries, but times have changed. The term more usefully refers to countries that on the basis of economic prosperity, living standards and quality of life lie between the First World (like most of Western Europe) and the Third World (like most of Africa). Some Third World countries like Malaysia are advancing, while some First World countries like New Zealand are going backwards.
"An international report has found that a sixth of New Zealand children are being raised in poverty - a higher rate than in all but three of the world's 26 rich nations.
The Innocenti Research Centre, established by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), says 16.3 per cent of New Zealand children in 2001 lived in homes that earned less than half the national median income.
Only Mexico, the United States and Italy had higher rates of child poverty."
[Source: 'NZ's child poverty rate one of highest', NZ Herald, Simon Collins, 2nd March 2005].
Read More about the 'Second World' by author Parag Khanna in his book 'The second world: empires and influence in the new global order.'. Khanna claims this Second World comprises Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and East Asia, emerging Third World countries such as Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Colombia, Libya, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
However, just as some Third World ('developing') countries are advancing, there are some presumed 'First World' (developed) countries that have allowed their economies and societies to slip below modern First World socio-economic health standards. These include New Zealand, Greece, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Russia, and Portugal. We may refer to retrograde socio-economic as 'nation backsliding'.
The measures determining a country's socio-economic health include a factor of Physical quality-of-life index (PQLI) derived from basic literacy rate, infant mortality, and life expectancy at age one, all equally weighted on a 0 to 100 scale. The measures are also a factor of Gross National Product (GNP) as a measure of comparative economic performance and the UN Human Development Index (HDI) as a comparative measure of poverty, literacy, education, life expectancy, childbirth, and other factors for countries worldwide. HDI measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development:
A long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth.
Knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weight) and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrolment ratio (with one-third weight).
A decent standard of living, as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) per capita at purchasing power parity (PPP) in USD.
Each year, UN member states are listed and ranked according to these measures. Those high on the list often advertise it, as a means of attracting talented immigrants (economically, individual capital) or discouraging emigration.
An alternative measure, focusing on the amount of poverty in a country, is the Human Poverty Index.
Illustration: collage of icons from housing and immigration industry sites and Steve Vizard who marketed the Bracks Melbourne Population Summit in 2002
Article by Jonathan Page
The laws regarding foreign ownership were relaxed recently, ostensibly to allow temporary visa holders to buy properties at auction which was previously too difficult.
I was quite outraged after piece after piece appeared in the media with real estate agents bragging about Chinese buyers putting down their money over the phone without even seeing the properties, or purchasing several. These agents talk about how the wealthy investors are speculating on our real estate, and even letting the properties sit empty while waiting for their capital increase.
It is confusing to know exactly what is happening as only temporary visa holders are allowed to buy established properties, and then only a principal place of residence. But we hear of some of these people buying several.
I checked on the FIRB website and established that these practices are in contravention of the intentions of the foreign ownership guidelines. Foreign investors are not supposed to speculate, or engage in activity that would lead to housing stock shortage. It seems that Rudd's plan to keep the housing boom going (and possibly satisfy friends in China?!) has gone too far.
I penned a letter and sent it to all house of representatives members. I have had some good responses so I will wait to see with interest if anything happens.
We are losing prosperity when we sell out to wealthy overseas investors that we can't compete with. On top of the loss of prosperity we lose in many other ways with the associated population growth.
LINKS & NOTES BY CANDOBETTER EDITOR
Real estate speculation has been made possible on a level never previously conceived of due to the global Internet, through property dot coms like www.realestate.com.au and www.domaine.com.au, but also through very rapidly converging and mushrooming of industries and professions across government and private sector, so that we have, for instance, on the one hand, at the Federal level, the National Foreign Investment Review Board (NFIRB) positively facilitating foreign investment in local real estate and facilitating purchases by temporary immigrants for high turnover, and, on the local level, realtors touting local property internationally with the assistance of privatised migration agents and local solicitors, and at State level (where land use planning is controlled), organizations like the Property Council of Australia (APC), closely involved with determining government policy.
For more on this see "Bad Australian foreign investment laws marginalise Australians" or, for more detail, S.Newman for SPA VIC First Home Affordability Enquiry Submission, pp 16-20.