Thursday 20 April 2017

The Problem: Houses of Parliament!

Housing affordability has been a big issue in Australia for a long while. It was a big issue before the Lehman Brothers collapse in September 2008 in the US and has remained a big issue for many Australians ever since:

Why is that so important? For several reasons. Two years ago, Gavin Wood and Rachel Ong pointed to one:

"Back in 1982, the ABS Survey of Income and Housing revealed that 168,000 or 10% of home buyers spent more than 30% of their gross household income on housing costs. Nearly 30 years later in 2011 these numbers had soared to 640,000, equivalent to 21% of all home buyers."
The truth is that nobody in Australia can claim to ignore that housing prices in Australia are crazy, least of all parliamentarians, who get research results like those below delivered to them by Australian Parliament staffers:


And, yet, nothing ever gets done about that. Prices just keep going up and up.


The ABC News Online released a report today on parliamentarian home-ownership:

This is part of what they found:

  1. 96% of parliamentarians own home, almost double the 50% for Australia as a whole.
  2. Only 10 out of 226 parliamentarians do not own homes.
  3. 48% of home-owning parliamentarians own homes as investment: nearly five times the 10% for Australia.
  4. The average home-owning parliamentarian owns 2.4 homes.
  5. Some own a lot more: the Nationals' Barry O'Sullivan owns 33; the Nationals' David Gillespie owns 18; and the Liberals' Karen Andrews own 13.
That goes a really long way into explaining why Parliament does nothing to tackle housing prices in Australia. The official inaction behind housing affordability never was because only a few intellectually privileged (us) could understand the problem and parliamentarians were dumb. It never was rocket science. It's that parliamentarians are part of the problem.

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