Let's make safe, secure & DECENT housing a HUMAN RIGHT in Australia!
Let's make safe, secure & DECENT housing a HUMAN RIGHT in Australia!
Why this petition matters
Once a generation or more ago - owning a home was something that was seen as an IMPLIED RIGHT for EVERY Australian!
Sure, it's never been an 'official' Right in Australia. In fact, Australians may be surprised at how FEW rights we do have under our Australian Constitution - we have ONLY five explicit individual rights.
And the RIGHT to shelter, food, water and medical care are NOT among them! Even though Australia was a founding member of the UN and played a prominent role in the negotiation of the UN Charter in 1945 and Australia was also one of eight nations involved in drafting the Universal Declaration!
Actually since the late 1990s owning a house has gone from being something that ALL Australians of the PREVIOUS 2-3 generations KNEW would be one day definitely possible - if they just worked hard and saved - to something that MANY younger people can't even dream of.
Homelessness was once something that was seen as only an issue for people REALLY down on their luck - intransigent alcoholics and drug users - which many in Australia over our history have had little empathy for sadly (because not having empathy means society is more likely to view funding ENOUGH rehabilitation centres as somehow LESS worthy!)
But increasingly we are becoming like America - where we have WORKING POOR who are at RISK of HOMELESSNESS - or are NOW becoming homeless!
Don't think our Politicians DON'T KNOW!
As was pointed out by Olivia Killeen - Victoria's Sacred Heart Mission’s social policy officer in August 2019:
"The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) measures household affordability and housing stress, which is when households spend the majority of their income on housing costs. AHURI do this by using the 30:40 indicator; for households in the bottom 40 per cent of income distribution, spending any more than 30 per cent of income on housing (mortgage or rent, insurance and other taxes) indicates housing stress.
For households who are on higher incomes, but who can just afford to spend more than 30 per cent of their income on housing, this limits their ability to save money and prepare for the proverbial “rainy day”. The 30 per cent rule may not be the threshold of housing stress for the entire community; but no matter where you fall in income distribution, the risk of falling into housing stress is more apparent than you might think.
Recent research from Finder shows almost HALF of Australia’s workers would run out of money in under a month if they lost their job. One in five of us has less than $250 in our savings accounts, according to AMP Bank.
The reality is, it wouldn’t take much for many of us to find ourselves struggling to stay afloat or be at risk of homelessness – the housing crisis is everyone’s problem."
WE KNOW it is so MUCH WORSE in 2022!
Why has this happened?
Because despite the Human Rights Commission in Australia agreeing that Housing is a Right - there has never been a RIGHT to safe and adequate housing in Australia!
Because of THIS - successive Governments we've entrusted to care for future generations - have WRITTEN and enacted POLICIES that have turned owning a home from something that MOST Australians COULD do - to something that more and more is now OUT OF REACH for MANY of us.
As Justice Connect pointed out in in its article on 16th March last year:
"There are a number of International treaties to which Australia is a signatory that enshrine the right to adequate housing. The right to adequate housing is enshrined in article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also enshrines the right to freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence.
However, Australia has not embedded these into our domestic law, despite our international commitments. This means that many people in Australia don’t have access to affordable, secure housing and are often evicted into homelessness because our laws don’t protect them.
Nearly 14 years ago, the United Nations condemned Australia for failing to implement the human right to adequate housing."
For the past THREE decades our Politicians have only thought about short-term gains for THEMSELVES. They have cared ONLY about popularity and being re-elected in the SHORT term - WITHOUT ANY thought of what this may lead to for MANY Australians in the LONG TERM!
Governments have promoted and enacted POLICY that has turned Australia's residential housing from something people bought to LIVE in - into one of the most generously subsidised investments in the world!
Investments that ENCOURAGE those who earn higher incomes compared to other Australians - to REDUCE their tax, while also increasing their wealth substantially - at the expense of those who want to just buy and LIVE in A HOME.
Capital Gains Tax reductions also enable people to buy/improve MULTIPLE houses for increased profit.
Successive Federal Governments have also NEVER LIMITED the number of residential houses that can be Negatively Geared to decrease higher-income earners' taxes - and THIS has just encouraged investors to buy MULTIPLE houses - enabling them to CONTINUALLY out-compete and out-bid those who ONLY want just ONE home.
STATESMEN our RECENT Politicians were NOT!
Even THOUSANDS of years ago educated people UNDERSTOOD that a FEW having a LOT of private property - was AGAINST the best interests of the WHOLE of SOCIETY!
"That the equalization of property exercises an influence on political society was clearly understood even by some of the old legislators. Laws were made by Solon and others prohibiting an individual from possessing as much land as he pleased."
Aristotle Greek Philosopher ~ Lived from 384 - 322 BC
WHY have the few been ENABLED to become property hoarders?
Could it be because we have MPs and Senators who reduce THEIR income Tax by owning MULTIPLE investment properties?
As well, instead of being expected - FOR these tax PRIVILEGES granted - to INCREASE our housing stock - investors have been REWARDED for buying existing run-down houses (that previous generations of young people bought and renovated) and without ANY improvements (or insulation!) - renting them at exorbitant rates to those THEY have PRICED OUT of the market!
Because more people renting means - in a competitive market with NO social housing to reduce demand - rents keep going up!
As reported by Peter Martin in April last year:
"We're chipping away at Menzies's legacy From when Robert Menzies stepped down as prime minister in 1966 until the end of the 20th century, about 71 per cent of Australian households owned the home they lived in — one of the highest rates in the world.
Since about 2000, owner-occupation has been sliding. The latest figures (themselves some years old) put it at 66 per cent.
Among those aged 35 to 44, it has fallen to 63 per cent."
And remember for previous generations post WW2 - for those who couldn't afford to buy and so had to continue to rent - it was mostly PUBLIC housing that they tenanted - for life!
Now we have hundreds of thousands on waiting lists!
In October 2020 there were approx. 430,000 people across Australia on social housing wait lists. Add this to the THOUSANDS on the NDIS waiting list and it is estimated there is a shortfall of 450,000 social housing dwellings across Australia!
CONGRATULATIONS major party Politicians of Australia!
You have ensured the lives of the current generation who are working - and those after THEM - BACK into a situation similar to the post-depression era pre-World War 2 working-class - who unless their parents were WEALTHY - had no choice but to LIVE for years with their parents!
If this current generation don't have children because they have no job or housing security - who will be the workers & taxpayers of the future?
You have UNDONE ALL the work by past STATESMEN of BOTH major Parties - who wanted to improve the lives of FUTURE generations!
IT IS ABOUT TIME THAT AUSTRALIA BECOMES THE TRULY PROGRESSIVE SOCIETY THAT WE HAVE ALWAYS 'THOUGHT' WE WERE & LIKE FINLAND - WE ENACT A 'HOUSING FIRST' NATIONAL POLICY FRAMEWORK THAT ENSHRINES THE RIGHT TO SHELTER, FOOD, WATER & HEALTH CARE AS HUMAN RIGHTS IN AUSTRALIA!
Embedded formal RIGHTS to housing, food, water & medical care would help to prevent FUTURE Governments making POLICIES that HARM the lives of the MANY - for the BENEFIT of a FEW!
- Andrew Wilkie MPFederal Independent Member for Clark
- Jacqui LambieSenator for Tasmania
- Dr Helen Haines MPMemberfor Indi
- Senator Larissa WatersSenator for Queensland
- Adam Bandt MPMember for Melbourne