Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Quote of the Week


High rents are a major contributor to household insecurity, personal stress and the risk of people, including children, slipping into real poverty and even homelessness. The North Coast rental market disadvantages many people because the competition for decent and affordable housing greatly outstrips supply. The reasons for this crisis are varied, including a general lack of rental stock, many houses in coastal towns becoming holiday rentals and the need to accommodate workers on the road projects, which results in inflated rents that stay that way after the workers move on.”  [St Vincent de Paul regional executive officer Michael Timbrell quoted in The Daily Examiner, 18 July 2019]

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Climate Change creates risks for Australia’s financial stability warns Reserve Bank deputy governor


The Guardian, 12 March 2019:

A deputy governor of Australia’s central bank has issued a stark warning that climate change poses risks to financial stability, noting that warming needs to be thought of by policymakers and business as a trend and not a cyclical event.

As a debate over coal and energy fractures the Morrison government, Guy Debelle warned a forum hosted by the Centre for Policy Development on Tuesday that climate change created risks for Australia’s financial stability in a number of different ways.
“For example, insurers may face large, unanticipated payouts because of climate change-related property damage and business losses,” he said. “In some cases businesses and households could lose access to insurance.

 “Companies that generate significant pollution might face reputational damage or legal liability from their activities, and changes to regulation could cause previously valuable assets to become uneconomic.

“All of these consequences could precipitate sharp adjustments in asset prices, which would have consequences for financial stability.”

Debelle noted Australia had traditionally come at the climate change debate largely through the prism of its impact on agriculture, but he said the changing climate created “significant risks and opportunities for a broader part of the economy than agriculture – though the impact on agriculture continues to be significant”.

He said policymakers and businesses needed to “think in terms of trend rather than cycles in the weather”.

“Droughts have generally been regarded, at least economically, as cyclical events that recur every so often. In contrast, climate change is a trend change. The impact of a trend is ongoing, whereas a cycle is temporary.”

He said there was a need to reassess the frequency of climate change events, and “our assumptions about the severity and longevity of the climatic events”.

He said the insurance industry had already recognised the frequency and severity of tropical cyclones and hurricanes in the northern hemisphere had changed, and this reassessment had prompted the sector to reprice how they insure and reinsure against such events.

“We need to think about how the economy is currently adapting and how it will adapt both to the trend change in climate and the transition required to contain climate change,” Debelle said.

He said the transition path to a less carbon-intensive world was “clearly quite different depending on whether it is managed as a gradual process or is abrupt”.

“The trend changes aren’t likely to be smooth. There is likely to be volatility around the trend, with the potential for damaging outcomes from spikes above the trend.”
Debelle noted the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had provided “strong evidence” that another half degree of warming was likely in the next 10 to 30 years.

He said work from the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO pointed to an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events, and noted “extreme events may well have a disproportionately large physical impact”.

“There is also a greater possibility of compound events, where two or more climatic events combine to produce an outcome that is worse than the effect of one of them occurring individually,” Debelle said.

“Combined with the increased volatility, this increases the likelihood of nonlinear impacts on the economy.”

Debelle said assessed through that lens, climate change-induced shocks to the economy would be “close to permanent” if droughts were more frequent and cyclones happened more often. “That situation is more challenging to assess and respond to.”

On 13 March 2019 ABC News reported that a leading climate analyst warns that extreme weather risks mean nearly 1 in 10 Australian houses may be uninsurable due to climate change within the next few generations, that is in est. 30-90 years.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Quotes of the Week


“If you want to know what caused those conditions, I’ll give you an answer – it’s called climate change,” the Queensland premier told reporters. “It is only the LNP who could watch Queensland burn and then blame the trees.”  [Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk quoted in The Guardian, 7 December 2018]

“Last year, more Australians bought their seventh home than those who bought their first”  [Journalist Timothy Swanston quoting an incorrect statment by Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Mick de Brenni, ABC News, 8 December 2018]

 Most people just consider Assange a spoilt-brat egomaniac with murky motives, a limelight habit and some profoundly questionable political affiliations.”  [Journalist Elizabeth Farrelly writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 December 2018]

“Both Brandis and Turnbull were regularly labelled, and probably were what passes for, ‘moderates’ in the neoliberal alt-right nativist populist Trumpist tribal world, or whatever white patriarchy is called these days.”  [Academic and blogger Ingrid Matthews writing in oecomuse, 27 November 2018]

“Scott Morrison reminds me of a belligerent & angry Sunday School teacher. Protected by his Christian reputation but in reality just a nasty, angry, vengeful man”  [Elizabeth Marr on Twitter, 9 December 2018]


Monday, 10 December 2018

Australia 2018: Is long-term rental destroying the wellbeing of low income households?



Across the nation, people who rent are living on insecure tenancies. Almost 9 in 10 Australians who rent (88%) are on leases of a year or less, and are not certain of where they will be living in a year’s time. This impacts a person’s ability to feel part of the local community and establish roots.







The Land, 1 May 2018:

AFFORDABLE rentals on the state’s North Coast are increasingly few and far between, but the continued rise of the Airbnb-model now sees 3000-plus homes sit empty while low-income and government-assisted tenants are shut out. 

Anglicare’s latest Housing Affordability Snapshot says the region’s rental crisis has worsened as property owners in Ballina, Byron Bay, and the Tweed are incentivised to target short-term holidaymakers through web-based booking companies instead of potential long-term renters. 

The Anglicare report, released on Sunday, showed available North Coast rental properties were in steep decline (down from 795 in 2017 to 660 in 2018) with all family groups on income support, and single households on minimum wage, likely to struggle to find housing for themselves and their children.

Clair, A. et al, 24 May 2016, The impact of housing payment problems on health status during economic recession: A comparative analysis of longitudinal EU SILC data of 27 European states, 2008–2010, excerpt:

Transitioning into housing arrears was associated with a significant deterioration in the health of renters…..

Housing arrears is one of the so-called ‘soft’ ways in which housing influences health (Shaw, 2004), especially mental health, alongside the ‘hard’, physical impacts of the infrastructure itself, such as damp, mould, and cold. A growing body of scholarship indicates that people who experience housing insecurity, independent of other financial difficulties, experience declines in mental health (Gili et al., 2012Keene et al., 2015Meltzer et al., 2013Meltzer et al., 2011Nettleton and Burrows, 1998). 

In Australia, analysis of the longitudinal HILDA dataset found that those in lower income households who had moved into unaffordable housing experienced a worsening in mental health (Bentley, Baker, Mason, Subramanian, & Kavanagh, 2011), with male renters faring worse (Bentley et al., 2012Mason et al., 2013).

One has to wonder if being a long-term renter affects quality of life to such a degree that on average renters die earlier than home-owners.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

I knew there was a reason why I don't watch Channel 9......


Never a fan of Channel 9 programming, this news report has turned my indifference to the existence of this television channel into active dislike.

ABC News, 21 November 2018:

PHOTO: The Block's contestants on auction day for the renovated Gatwick Hotel.   (AAP: Nine Entertainment)


The lights, cameras and crowds have finally cleared out of St Kilda following the auctions last month at the Gatwick Private Hotel, a run-down three-storey rooming house that was transformed into six multi-million-dollar apartments for this year's season of the popular home renovation show, The Block.

But as the new owners collect the keys and prepare to move in to their luxury lodgings, ABC News can reveal an "alarming" number of women who used to live at the Gatwick — a place of "last resort" for some of Melbourne's most vulnerable — are currently in jail.

Channel Nine's purchase of the 1930s mansion, which in its prime could house up to 120 people, was welcomed last year by St Kilda residents who blamed the Fitzroy Street boarding house — one of several to close in recent years as part of the area's gentrification — for local problems with "rampant" drug-fuelled violence and anti-social behaviour.

At the time, the local council and state government worked with housing services in St Kilda to find new accommodation, mostly outside the area, for its remaining occupants, who were evicted in time for filming to commence.

But many of those tenancies were unsustainable and fell through, homelessness support workers say, and because of an acute lack of crisis accommodation across Melbourne, dozens were dispersed onto the streets.

This includes at least 32 women who have since been charged and imprisoned for offences lawyers and support workers say are directly related to their homelessness — an issue that affects all genders but which leaves women particularly vulnerable.
Now, with the state preparing to head to the polls after an election campaign dominated by debate over law and order, advocates are calling on the government to urgently boost funding for crisis accommodation and homelessness services to break a vicious cycle that is causing the number of women in Victoria's prisons to soar.

One worker who runs a program supporting under-privileged women in St Kilda told ABC News that, since the beginning of 2018, 32 of her clients who were living on or off lease at The Gatwick have since been incarcerated at the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, Melbourne's maximum security women's prison.

Though 17 of those women have been released in recent months, she said, 15 still remain, many of them on remand.

"There is absolutely no doubt that The Gatwick's closure has had an effect particularly on women in the city of Port Phillip," said the worker, who asked not to be named because she feared speaking out would jeopardise her organisation's public funding arrangements.

"I'm not necessarily saying that The Gatwick was the best place for people to live because there were a lot of issues — there were some deaths there, there was violence. But everybody needs a place to stay."

The majority of the worker's clients in Dame Phyllis have been charged with drug-related offences which are believed to be a result of their homelessness, she said. "Many women with involvement in the justice system offend to fund their drug habit and use substances to self-medicate," she said.

"Sleeping rough is extremely unsafe for women so many use drugs to keep themselves awake at night, which provides them with a false sense of security."

Forced homelessness is not confined to Victoria,

As the Pacific Highway Upgrade works its way up the NSW North Coast there are reports of people couch surfing after their landlords gave them notice in favour of road worker tenants capable of paying higher rents.

Monday, 21 May 2018

The Turnbull Government has the solution to its poll number blues already at hand - but will it act?


lesterlost.com
State and federal governments have known for years that there is a correlation between unoccupied residential housing, negative gearing of investment properties and capital gains by individuals in the higher income percentiles.



An est. 11.2 per cent of residential properties were unoccupied, up from 9.8 per cent in 2006.

There is currently an artificial scarcity of residential housing in this country which governments seem intent on ignoring.


It has been reported in 2018 that 250 people are turned away from crisis centres across the country every day.

Again, governments are not paying enough attention to the social and economic costs to their own budgetary bottom line this growing problem will cause.

The latest Newspoll published on 13 May 2018 was conducted from Thursday 10 May to Sunday 13 May with 1,728 survey respondents.

It shows the Lib-Nat Coalition’s primary vote standing at 39% to Labor’s 38%. However the Coalition trailed Labor 49 to 51 on a two-party preferred basis, with that margin the coalition's best position since September 2016. 

That is the 32nd Newspoll in a row where the Labor Opposition was ahead of the Turnbull Government on a two-party preferred basis.

If Turnbull & Co really wanted to turn primary and two-party preferred polling numbers around they would announce some substantial new policy measures in the months following the 2018-19 Budget.

The phasing out of negative gearing of investment properties over a ten year period, reforming capital gain provisions and creating more tied grants for social housing would be a good start.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Rental housing affordability in regional Australia, 2017


Anglicare Australia’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot, April 2017, does not offer good news for individuals, couples and families in regional areas who cannot afford to purchase their own home:


Single income households

Single people in regional areas are still hard hit by housing unaffordability. Regional areas generally have fewer services and higher unemployment rates, raising the dilemma of “if you can afford to live there, there are no jobs and if there are jobs, you can’t afford to live there!”

Of the 13,739 regional properties analysed on the collection weekend, there were fewer than five properties that would be suitable for a single person on Youth Allowance (#9 or #10) (n=2 & 3). For those on Newstart, the appropriate properties ranged from 0.1% for singles on Newstart (#8) (n=18), increasing to 1.7% (n=235) for a single parent on Newstart (#5). Singles on the Disability Support Pension (#7) could access 3.49% (n=542) of properties surveyed. An age pensioner (#6) could access 5.0% (n=687) of properties surveyed, however, many of these properties were share houses so there are questions about how successful an application by an age pensioner for this property type would be.
Singles living on the Parenting Payment with one child (#4) could access 7.2% of rentals (n=986), while those on the same payment with two children (#2) could access 5.5% (n=751).
Singles living on the minimum wage might apply for 1,207 properties (8.8%) if on their own (#13) or 2,534 properties (18.4%) if they have two children (#12).
Double income households
A couple living in regional area with two children on the minimum wage (#11) might access 46.7% of all rentals (n=6,422). However, the same family living on Newstart (#1) might only access 8.2% (n=1,133).
An Age Pension couple (#3) could afford 16.7% (n=2,295) of the 13,739 properties.
Couple households living with two children on minimum wage and parenting payment (#14) might access 28.1% of the rentals (n=3,854).

Monday, 1 May 2017

Looking for all those vacant residential dwelling being deliberately kept out of the Australian housing market


In the 2011 Census there were 2,297,460 rented private dwellings recorded. This was 29.6 per cent of the 7,760,322 private dwellings declared covering an est. 8,420,000 households.


Simple maths shows there was possibly around 534,000 private dwellings for which there were unlikely to be tenants and which were potentially available for sale.

Given these excess dwellings are likely to be unevenly spatially distributed, a number of metropolitan suburbs and regional urban areas would still be experiencing limited availability of housing stock for rent or sale and therefore demand may be unmet.

However, according to BIS Sharpnel; In 2017After a record breaking building boom in most capitals, Australia will have 24,039 extra homes above what are needed and will be oversupplied for the first time in more than a decade, a new report shows.

So why is it so hard to find a place to rent in large metropolitan areas and why is housing for sale so expensive?

It appears there is an artificial drought which can only be explained by the high percentage of investment properties in the housing stock mix which had reached 23 per cent by 2015, comprising one quarter of all house stock and two-thirds of apartment stock.

Domain.com.au released a ball park estimate of all vacant properties on 4 April 2017, based on Prosper Australia  research:

QUEENSLAND

An estimated 59,000 properties are standing empty in Queensland.

NEW SOUTH WALES

There are an estimated 121,000 properties vacant across New South Wales (with up to 90,000 properties standing empty in Sydney suburbs).

VICTORIA

The president of Prosper Australia, Catherine Cashmore, who has collected data on water usage to show there are 80,000 empty homes in Melbourne, said an empty home tax was an intuitively appealing policy that could pave the way for greater reforms.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

There are an estimated 23,000 properties vacant in South Australia.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

An estimated 21,000 vacant properties.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

There are an estimated 2,000 vacant properties in the Territory.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRIOTORY

An estimated 5,000 vacant properties.

TASMANIA

An estimated 7,000 vacant properties.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 28 March 2016:

Vacant properties were among the "perverse outcomes" of tax incentives that encouraged some investors to favour capital growth over rental returns, according to the analysis by the UNSW's City Futures Research Centre.

"Leaving housing empty is both profitable and subsidised by government," researchers Bill Randolph and Laurence Troy said. "This is taxation lunacy and a national scandal."

The ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods analysed Australian Taxation Office data and found at least 4,204 “legislators” who owned investment properties of which more than 13.87 per cent appear to negatively gear their properties.


So it is not hard to see why the Turnbull Government is dragging its heels when faced with the “perverse outcomes” arising from negative gearing and capital gain tax concessions.

Or why a Coalition state government like the NSW Government would decide that the best way to address a perceived housing shortage is to give its political supporters free rein.

Sky News, 9 January 2017:

The NSW government will be able to fast-track developments under a massive shake-up of the state's planning system aimed at tackling Sydney's chronic housing shortage.
Councils will determine fewer development applications under the proposed changes but will be responsible for devising more planning strategies with local communities.
Other proposals include providing incentives for developers if they consult with neighbours and the community before lodging development applications and simplifying building regulations.

It defies belief that the NSW Coalition Government would believe that just building more private housing for investors to warehouse for financial gain is a solution to rising house prices and limited availability.


Realestate.com.au calculates that it requires at least one person in a marriage/
partnership, presumably without children, to be in full-time employment - and earning more in wages each week than half the current workforce - for the couple to have any hope of saving for a deposit within a reasonable time period:


So if our multimillionaire prime minister, Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, and his parliamentary fellow travellers won’t act to ease housing affordability by removing taxation loopholes which allow the greedy to manipulate the housing market to their advantage, then it is up to voters to apply a cattle prod to their privileged haunches – and vote them out in 2018-19.

And if state governments won’t move to penalise investors who deliberately leave residential dwellings vacant for a trouble-free capital gain as well as a tax deduction, then voters with an eye to the future of their children and grandchildren might consider letting them know how they feel about the situation.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Quotes of the Week


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Donald Trump averaged 41% job approval during his first quarter as president, 14 percentage points lower than any other president in Gallup's polling history. Bill Clinton had the previous low mark of 55%. The average first-quarter rating among post-World War II presidents elected to their first term is 61%, with John Kennedy's 74% the highest. [Gallup, US analytics firm established in 1935, 20 April 2017]

Australia is particularly exposed to developments in North Korea with commitments as a signatory to the Armistice, and sitting precariously at the mercy of the whims of two "mad men". [Former Liberal MP & former leader of the Liberal Party, John Hewson, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald on 28 April 2017]

"If you can afford to live there, there are no jobs and if there are jobs, you can't afford to live there!"  [Anglicare Australia, Rental Affordability Snapshot 2017]

"“If you march but you don’t vote you are a f*ckin’ idiot.” 
[Australian comedian Adam Hills on The Last Leg, Channel 14, 21 April 2017]

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Ninety-six per cent of Australian federal parliamentarians own a property


ABC News, 20 April 2017:

There's no housing affordability crisis in the ranks of Federal Parliament's members and senators.

The politicians charged with tackling the thorny issue of spiralling house prices are among the nation's most aggressive property investors, an analysis by the ABC has revealed.

The 226 individuals own 524 properties between them and about half of them own investment properties.

That means many of our politicians have a very personal interest in any changes to negative gearing and the capital gains tax discount……

Ninety-six per cent of parliamentarians own a property. Only 10 out of our 224 elected officials aren't in the game.

Compare that to the rest of Australia, where home ownership is expected to dip below 50 per cent sometime this year.

Register of Members’ Interests for 45th Australian Parliament.

Although a number of investment properties are listed in the members’ register this does not necessarily mean that additional property is not owned as part of superannuation schemes (other than that operated by the Commonwealth of Australia) or included in the assets of a private corporation in which a member has a significant shareholding.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

GREED Inc: rental income & negative gearing in Australia


The Guardian, 12 April 2017:


The ATO stats also show the number of landlords with an interest in six or more rental properties has grown quickly in the last three years, up 8.6%, from 17,671 to 19,198 individuals.

Landlords with an interest in five rental properties have grown even faster, up 9.8%, from 16,600 to 18,231. Those with an interest in three or four properties have also grown quickly, up 7% each.

By comparison, the largest number of landlords are those with an interest in a single rental property, at 1.5 million. Their number increased by just 2% over the last three years.

The Conversation, 13 April 2017:

The latest data from the ATO is consistent with what we’ve seen in the past. It shows that people with high-income occupations – doctors, lawyers, and others – are more likely to use negative gearing than the nurses and teachers on whom Treasurer Scott Morrison focuses when he tries to justify retaining negative gearing. It also shows that negative gearing is typically worth four to five times more for doctors and lawyers than nurses and teachers.



The Guardian, 13 April 2017:

The release of the taxation statistics for 2014-15 reveals that, while the number of people negative gearing has levelled in the past three years as interest rates have fallen, the greatest share of the benefits of negative gearing goes to above average earners – and the biggest growth is to those owning multiple properties.

With housing affordability and negative gearing the hot topic in the run up to the May budget, the annual release of the taxation statistics by the ATO on Wednesday served to reinforce how greatly negative gearing figures in people’s tax affairs.

In 2014-15, 1.27 million people recorded a rental net loss. This was down slightly from the 1.3 million in the years before and meant that 12.8% of taxpayers were negative gearing.

Again that was down from the previous year and the peak of 2012-13 when 13.4% of taxpayers were recording a rental loss…..

The reason for the drop is mostly because the main way to achieve a loss on your rental investment is through payments on the interest of the mortgage. But, as interest rates fall, that cost also falls, which means it is actually harder to record a loss.

Over the past four years, the number of people claiming a deduction for payments of interest on a rental property have increased but the total amount claimed has fallen…..

The median rent in NSW in the December Quarter of 2014 for housing ranging from 1 bedroom to 4 or more bedrooms was $420-$500 per week. With the median rent being $450-$600 in Greater Sydney, $230-$433 in the Greater Metropolitan Region and $230-$245 in the rest of NSW.

During the same quarter median rents across the NSW Northern Rivers region ranged from $180-$580 per week.

In 2014 the gross rental yield for apartments in Sydney CBD, Paddington, Darling Point, Double Bay, Kirribilli, Rose Bay, Tamarama, Bellevue Hill, Point Piper, Potts Point, and Vaucluse, i.e., the gross return on investment in a apartment if fully rented out, ranged from 2.8 per cent to 5.0 per cent according to Global Property Guide.

Want to know the average rental loss claimed for taxation purposes by landlords in your postcode? Then use this interactive map.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

See that furtive chap in the dark glasses? He's a negative gearer!


Just a reminder of the cost to the rest of us of the out-of-control negative gearing of investment properties.     


The re-analysis of the 2013-14 tax data, the latest available, shows that each negative gearer claimed an average loss of $8722 per year. Seven out of 10 had income before deductions in the top or second-top tax bracket. The average amount of tax saved by each of the 1.2 million negative gearers was $2900 per year.

Spread over the remaining 11.7 million taxpayers, the average cost was $310 each. The total, $3.646 billion, is about as much as the government spent on assistance to jobseekers and vocational training, and twice what it spent on assistance to indigenous Australians.

Haven't heard any negative gearer bragging about this around the barbeque lately.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Tony Abbott MP: the man who lied about a carbon tax is preparing to lie to voters once again


The week former chief of staff to Tony Abbott, Peta Credlin, confirmed that he had deliberately lied when characterising the Gillard Government’s price on carbon as a "carbon tax", The Sydney Morning Herald reported this:

Tony Abbott has laid out a five-point plan for the Coalition to have a chance at the "winnable" next election, including cutting back immigration and scrapping the Human Rights Commission.

In a major speech in Sydney at the launch of a new book, Making Australia Right, on Thursday evening, Mr Abbott gave the clearest signal yet he believed the Turnbull government is failing to cut through with voters, and that the contest of ideas - and for the soul of the modern Liberal Party - between the current and former prime minister has a long way to run.

Mr Abbott noted nearly 40 per cent of Australians didn't vote for the Coalition or Labor in the 2016 election: "It's easy to see why".

In a sign a return to the leadership was on his radar, Mr Abbott set out ideas on how to take the fight to Labor and win back Coalition voters thinking of defecting to Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

"In short, why not say to the people of Australia: we'll cut the RET [renewable energy target] to help with your power bills; we'll cut immigration to make housing more affordable; we'll scrap the Human Rights Commission to stop official bullying; we'll stop all new spending to end ripping off our grandkids; and we'll reform the Senate to have government, not gridlock?"
He said the next election was winnable for the Coalition, however, "our challenge is to be worth voting for. It's to win back the people who are giving up on us". [my highlighting]

So let’s look at this jumble of potential three-word slogans being readied for the next Coalition federal election campaign.

RET –renewable energy target

In 2014 the Abbott Government ordered a review of RET. This review found that RET tends to lower wholesale electricity prices and that the RET would have almost no impact on consumer prices over the period 2015–2030.

Despite Abbott's downgrading of RET targets when he was prime minister, in 2017 the Turnbull Coalition Government (of which Abbott is a member) continues its support of these targets.

According to the Dept of Industry, Innovation and Science network costs are the biggest factor driving up the cost of electricity and  a large part of these higher costs has been the need to replace or upgrade ageing power infrastructure, as most electricity networks were built throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

Housing affordability

In December 2016 the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recorded 11.3 million houses/units/flats purchased by investors for rent or resale by individuals and a further 1.3 million for rent or resale by others. [ABS 5609.0 Housing Finance]

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) in June 2015 clearly indicated that purchase of housing stock by investors had increased to almost 23 per cent of all housing stock and, that increased investor activity and strong growth in housing prices were occurring along with an increase in negatively geared investment properties. [RBA, Submission to House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics Inquiry into Home Ownership]

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) put the matter bluntly in Fuel on the fire: negative gearing, capital gains tax & housing affordability - The tax system at both the federal and state level inflates housing costs, undermines affordability, and distorts the operation of housing markets. Tax settings are not the main reason for excessive growth in home prices, but they are an important part of the problem. They inflate demand for existing properties when the supply of new housing is insufficient to meet demand. Ironically, many public policies that are claimed to improve affordability - such as negative gearing arrangements, Capital Gains Tax breaks for investors, and first home owner grants for purchasers – make the problem worse.

Competition between investor-developers recently saw $1.3 million added to the sale price of an older house at a Sydney metropolitan auction.

Although population growth is a factor in competition for housing stock, nowhere in reputable studies or reports can I find mention of immigration levels significantly contributing to this competition.  Which is not surprising, given that natural population increase and increase through migration do not occur uniformly within Australian states & territories and natural increase will outstrip migration in some states and territories in a given year.

Human Rights Commission

On 26 December 1976 the Fraser Coalition Government announced its intention to establish a Human Rights Commission which would provide orderly and systematic procedures for the promotion of human rights and for ensuring that Australian laws were maintained in conformity with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and in order that citizens who felt they had been discriminated against under specific Commonwealth laws such as laws relating to discrimination on grounds of race or sex (but excluding laws in the employment area) would be able to have their complaints examined.

The Commission was created in 1981 by an act of the Australian Parliament and later rebirthed as the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in 1986 by another act of the Australian Parliament.

Whilst ever no Commonwealth statute exists which sets out the core rights of Australian citizenship the federal parliament continues to fail to guarantee protection against its own legislative or regulatory excesses.

The Human Rights Commission is one of the few points at which ordinary citizens without considerable financial means can seek redress of a wrong or harm done to them.

No new spending

I simply refer readers to Tony Abbott’s economic record in the slightly less than two years he spent as Australian prime minister, when on his watch economic growth was slowing and living standards were falling.

Senate reform

This is Section 57 of the Australian Constitution which would have to be amended and is required to be taken to a national referendum before reform can occur:

Disagreement between the Houses
                   If the House of Representatives passes any proposed law, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, and if after an interval of three months the House of Representatives, in the same or the next session, again passes the proposed law with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may dissolve the Senate and the House of Representatives simultaneously. But such dissolution shall not take place within six months before the date of the expiry of the House of Representatives by effluxion of time.
                   If after such dissolution the House of Representatives again passes the proposed law, with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may convene a joint sitting of the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.
                   The members present at the joint sitting may deliberate and shall vote together upon the proposed law as last proposed by the House of Representatives, and upon amendments, if any, which have been made therein by one House and not agreed to by the other, and any such amendments which are affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be taken to have been carried, and if the proposed law, with the amendments, if any, so carried is affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, it shall be taken to have been duly passed by both Houses of the Parliament, and shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent.

The last national referendum held in Australia was in 1999 and cost $66,820,894 according to the Australian Electoral Commission for a vote on two questions.

Like 34 of the 44 referendum questions before them these two questions did not carry. In fact the last referendum questions to be carried were in 1977.

Prospect of successful right-wing reform of the Senate?