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posted by janrinok on Tuesday July 09, @01:38PM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

There's a new bill before federal parliament calling for housing to be considered a fundamental human right.

The bill, introduced by independent federal parliamentarians Kylea Tink and David Pocock, would require the government to create a 10-year National Housing and Homelessness Plan.

One part of the bill states housing should be considered a fundamental human right for all Australians. Here's how this would work.

Since its election in 2022, the Albanese government has had to fight political battles to pass its housing policies.

This includes the Housing Australia Future Fund: a $10 billion fund to provide an annual $500 million for social and affordable rental housing. It passed the parliament last year.

There's also the "Help to Buy" shared equity scheme. Under this scheme, 10,000 households a year would be eligible for a government equity contribution of up to 40% of the purchase price of a new home. It's yet to pass the parliament.

But many in the community continue to struggle with unaffordable rents, barriers to home ownership and rising rates of homelessness.

Housing and homelessness problems are complex because they crossover different areas of policy and different levels of government. There are many agencies that do housing policy.

But so far, the government has not had a clear plan. Its election promise to develop a National Housing and Homelessness Plan is still under development. And at the moment, it does not appear to be addressing important policy areas like tax and finance.

[...] Tink and Pocock have also taken up our research and turned it into the National Housing and Homelessness Plan Bill.

The bill would require the housing minister of the day to develop and implement a ten year National Housing and Homelessness Plan. This would mean taking a view of housing policy beyond three-year election cycles.

The legislation would also set some basic directions for the government's plan, including "ensuring that everyone in Australia has adequate housing," and "preventing and ending homelessness." This reflects the legislation's human rights-based approach.

The legislation would also require the housing minister to be collaborative and establish some new sources of information and advice for government. This includes a "consumer council," including people with experience of homelessness. This would operate alongside the existing National Housing Supply and Affordability Council: an independent group providing the government with expert advice. The consumer council would be able to escalate matters directly to the minister to ensure it's heard.

The existing government agency Housing Australia would be nominated as the lead agency assisting the minister with the plan. A new government officer, the National Housing and Homelessness Advocate, would independently investigate housing policy issues and monitor the progress against the plan. The housing minister would also be required to periodically report to parliament on progress.

At the end of the ten years, the minister would be required to review and develop a new plan.

Importantly, it would still be for the government of the day to decide what's in the plan. The legislation sets objectives and directions, but not policy details. The legislation does not say, for example, "thou shalt repeal negative gearing"! One government might devise a more market-orientated plan, while another might plan for greater non-market housing provision.

[...] The bill formally recognizes housing as a human right for two reasons.

First, it serves as the constitutional basis for the legislation. The right to adequate housing is a human right under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Australia ratified almost 50 years ago.

This brings it within the parliament's "external affairs" power. The parliament relied on this power and the human right to housing when it passed the original legislation establishing the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (now Housing Australia). Basically, it gives the government the legal authority to make such a plan.

Secondly, an effective plan that's going to work across different policy areas and bring in the range of institutions needs a place to start. Human rights provides a way to organize the policy across all the different branches of government that need to be involved.

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  • (Score: 5, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday July 09, @11:36PM (4 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday July 09, @11:36PM (#1363597)

    What right do you have that is infringed upon by homeless being housed?

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by ChrisMaple on Wednesday July 10, @04:48AM (3 children)

    by ChrisMaple (6964) on Wednesday July 10, @04:48AM (#1363613)

    My right that is being violated is my right to my own property, property that is stolen from me to pay for somebody else's housing.

    Generally, the only proper function of government is to protect rights, and the only instance it is acceptable for a government to violate a person's rights is to protect an even more important right. The fundamental and highest right is the right to life, upon which all other rights depend. Note that the right to life means the right not to be prevented from living; it does not mean a right to have your life supported by others. This applies to adults.

    • (Score: 0, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 10, @11:47AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 10, @11:47AM (#1363633)

      My right that is being violated is my right to my own property, property that is stolen from me to pay for somebody else's housing.

      What "property" might that be? Taking your house? Your land? mean taxes. Pay up you cheap bastard! Want to live in a civilized country? [] That's what taxes buy you, assshole.

      As for your "rights":

      “Ah, yes, the "unalienable rights." Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What "right" to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What "right" to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of "right"? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man's right is "unalienable"? And is it "right"? As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost. The third "right"? - the "pursuit of happiness"? It is indeed unalienable but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can "pursue happiness" as long as my brain lives - but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it.”

      ― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday July 10, @12:33PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday July 10, @12:33PM (#1363638)

      >My right that is being violated is my right to my own property, property that is stolen from me to pay for somebody else's housing.

      O.K. John G, let's just put you on your own tax-free continent and see how you do without any government services.

      >highest right is the right to life

      Yes, and h. sapiens: hairless apes, require shelter in most climates of the Earth or they will die. Most countries if you are prevented from having shelter, or the ability to fashion your own shelter due to the "property rights" of others, you will be dead within the year.

      Back "in the day" when h. sapiens could strike out from the village and make their own way in the woods, they could effectively build their own housing. Today that is impossible in most any country that enforces "quiet enjoyment" property rights for land owners, ergo: those land owners and their government are killing their homeless countrymen by denying them access to their land.

      Would you rather pay some (more) tax to house the homeless, or permit them to squat on your lawn in a tent?

      🌻🌻 []
    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday July 11, @03:05AM

      by sjames (2882) on Thursday July 11, @03:05AM (#1363719) Journal

      I (the generic I, I personally am doing OK) have the right to food. I can hunt for it, but you probably don't want me doing that in the neighborhood. If fact, it's illegal. So you owe me some other way. That could be enough decent paying jobs that are at least as respectful of me as a human being as hunting is combined with cheap enough groceries. Or it could be a free grocery store, or an adequate monthly check. Or you could drop the whole no hunting in the neighborhood and stop destroying wildlife habitat. Note, many areas also frown on keeping chickens and cows in the back yard or planting crops instead of lawn. Your choice.