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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: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday July 10, @08:09PM (9 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday July 10, @08:09PM (#1363691)

    >the state steps in and puts random, destructive squatters in his house

    They have altered the deal, pray they do not alter it further.

    The French more than anyone should be aware that blithely parading their superior wealth ("then let them eat cake!") has potentially dire consequences. While I believe that "landlording" is a sucker's game, more work than the income is worth, it is nonetheless widely perceived as fat-cats with "ownership" raking in money for nothing. If you're there making "passive income" on your real-estate holdings while the country is rioting in the streets for higher minimum wage, earlier retirement and all sorts of other social programs - do you think the writing might be on the wall? There are probably still some walls with spatter-patterns from the last time the aristocracy tested the people past their limits.

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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 11, @01:04AM (8 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 11, @01:04AM (#1363708) Journal

    The French more than anyone should be aware that blithely parading their superior wealth ("then let them eat cake!") has potentially dire consequences. While I believe that "landlording" is a sucker's game, more work than the income is worth, it is nonetheless widely perceived as fat-cats with "ownership" raking in money for nothing. If you're there making "passive income" on your real-estate holdings while the country is rioting in the streets for higher minimum wage, earlier retirement and all sorts of other social programs - do you think the writing might be on the wall? There are probably still some walls with spatter-patterns from the last time the aristocracy tested the people past their limits.

    Would Rosco agree with you that he's been blithely parading his superior wealth? Instead I think this a case where the narrative has once again outpaced reality.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday July 11, @01:55AM (7 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday July 11, @01:55AM (#1363712)

      >Would Rosco agree with you that he's been blithely parading his superior wealth?

      Of course not, but a majority of French voters do.

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      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 11, @04:57AM (6 children)

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 11, @04:57AM (#1363731) Journal

        Of course not, but a majority of French voters do.

        We'll see if that majority stays a majority.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday July 11, @12:09PM (5 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday July 11, @12:09PM (#1363750)

          The pendulum always swings, but clearly, in France, it has swung far enough to guillotine landlord profitability.

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          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday July 11, @01:29PM (4 children)

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 11, @01:29PM (#1363755) Journal
            In the meantime they can serve as a lesson to the rest of us.
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday July 11, @02:07PM (3 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday July 11, @02:07PM (#1363759)

              The rest of us... landlords? What percentage of the population is landlords? What percentage of the population actively hates landlords?

              I'm not saying the US should follow France closely in this change, France's swings to the Left are historically overly abrupt, sharp, and lead to a fair amount of chaos - but also social progress both in France and abroad after the chaos has settled.

              The US has been slowly following France for over a century in this regard... yes, we are somewhat of a backward / retarded offspring of Europe in this regard, but historically we do follow them - even if we are laggy about it.

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              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday July 12, @05:51AM (2 children)

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday July 12, @05:51AM (#1363861) Journal

                The rest of us... landlords?

                You have in the past stated that you own your own home. That makes you your own landlord. Imagine if you had to deal with the risk of official squatters every time you moved to a new home. It's stupid policy even when the state is acting in good faith.

                I'm not saying the US should follow France closely in this change, France's swings to the Left are historically overly abrupt, sharp, and lead to a fair amount of chaos - but also social progress both in France and abroad after the chaos has settled.

                The US has been slowly following France for over a century in this regard... yes, we are somewhat of a backward / retarded offspring of Europe in this regard, but historically we do follow them - even if we are laggy about it.

                Rather this shows an area where France is ridiculously lagging the US by centuries - the Third and Fourth Amendments. The US has a body of law against uncompensated seizure of property by the state with the core established over 200 years ago. It's not perfect, there's still a variety of well oiled exploits like zoning law, rent control, illegally legal asset seizure, etc, but at least when US-based governments do stuff this brazen, the issue can be settled in the courts.

                Further, "social progress" sounds like yet another example of a phrase where the noun is neutered by the use of "social". Two examples: zero sum strategies involving wealth redistribution and social programs with built in infinite growth assumptions (particularly public pensions where several workers are required to support a retiree). But I guess I shouldn't be surprised to get so many social wood [soylentnews.org] arguments here.

                Here's my take on all that. In a normal market situation (with regulation against fraud, use of force, etc), landlords and renters enter into mutual agreements. Every time the state throws bullshit into these relationships, it harms them. Here, typically by reducing the supply of rental property. Somehow that helps the homeless. Needless to say, I'm not buying it.

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday July 12, @12:23PM (1 child)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday July 12, @12:23PM (#1363869)

                  > That makes you your own landlord.

                  Stretching far for even you.

                  > Imagine if you had to deal with the risk of official squatters every time you moved to a new home. It's stupid policy even when the state is acting in good faith.

                  Well, then, I won't be buying any rentals with squatters in them, just like the rental I bid on (to convert for personal ownership use) after, and only after, the squatters had been evicted.

                  > at least when US-based governments do stuff this brazen, the issue can be settled in the courts.

                  Unless it's eminent domain, or pushing out existing land use with overdevelopment: https://www.npr.org/2024/03/16/1236266122/florida-man-refused-sell-home-developer-coral-gables [npr.org]

                  > uncompensated seizure of property by the state

                  Unless you're accused of drug possession, or harassment of protected wildlife, or any other number of offences which allow your property to be seized and auctioned.

                  > zero sum strategies involving wealth redistribution

                  There you are again, focused on money like the only meaningful measure of it is the grand total. Distribution matters. Giving every waitress in America a 100% salary increase is meaningless if there are still the same number of waitresses working - the job is the same, the hours worked are the same, oh, but now they're getting more pay and maybe they can afford to pay their car mechanic and plumber? Only if the car mechanic and plumber don't also get raises.

                  The meaningful measure of wealth is in its distribution, relative levels, the absolute numbers are meaningless.

                  > landlords and renters enter into mutual agreements

                  Like hell they do. The one time I rented a house for the family there was a "standard contract" that all landlords within 50 miles of my job used, it was written by the landlords and very tenant unfriendly. Sure, we could have refused to rent anything at all and the four of us could have tried to live in the pickup truck, maybe on one of the unused floors of my office's parking garage? Not.

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                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday July 13, @05:18AM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday July 13, @05:18AM (#1363955) Journal

                    > That makes you your own landlord.

                    Stretching far for even you.

                    I forget that we have to set the evil bit first. /sarc

                    Well, then, I won't be buying any rentals with squatters in them, just like the rental I bid on (to convert for personal ownership use) after, and only after, the squatters had been evicted.

                    Rosco didn't do that either. But it happened just the same - because the state put them there.

                    The meaningful measure of wealth is in its distribution, relative levels, the absolute numbers are meaningless.

                    The obvious rebuttal is what happens when everyone has the same wealth - but it's not enough to feed themselves? Absolute numbers that are a measure of what needs and wants can be provided are far more meaningful than relative levels that can be arbitrarily calibrated to generate grievance.

                    There you are again, focused on money like the only meaningful measure of it is the grand total. Distribution matters. Giving every waitress in America a 100% salary increase is meaningless if there are still the same number of waitresses working - the job is the same, the hours worked are the same, oh, but now they're getting more pay and maybe they can afford to pay their car mechanic and plumber? Only if the car mechanic and plumber don't also get raises.

                    I didn't mention money even once (aside from quoting someone at one point who did use the term "money"). You've mentioned it several times. The person with the erroneous focus on money is not me.

                    > landlords and renters enter into mutual agreements

                    Like hell they do. The one time I rented a house for the family there was a "standard contract" that all landlords within 50 miles of my job used, it was written by the landlords and very tenant unfriendly. Sure, we could have refused to rent anything at all and the four of us could have tried to live in the pickup truck, maybe on one of the unused floors of my office's parking garage? Not.

                    You just did in the above example. And I bet if we go through your life, we find several other times you've done the same.