Page 533 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022
MR PARTON (Brindabella) (3.39): I am absolutely staggered by the efforts of Mr Pettersson in bringing forward this motion today. Madam Speaker, we are in the middle or at the height of a housing crisis—a time when putting a roof over your head in Canberra has become so unaffordable, when people are sleeping in their cars or leaving this great city of ours because they cannot find a place to live. Our current rental vacancy rate is actually 0.4 per cent, according to the Real Estate Institute this week. There are dozens of applications—indeed Mr Davis has just said there would be at least 100—for so many of these properties. I cannot believe that at this point in the crisis, this is what we have from a Labor member. The only thing that this motion calls on the government to do is to force landlords to provide references to tenants. That is it; there is nothing else.
I read through it a number of times, thinking, “There’s got to be something else.” I know others in this place read through it, thinking, “There’s got to be more to it than this,” but that is it. This motion is actually a joke, and that is how it started. That is genuinely how it started. That is how it should end.
It is all well and good to come in here and say that it is desperately important for us to do whatever we can to make sure that landlords do the right thing by their tenants, and certainly they should, but if this were actually important to Mr Pettersson, he would have consulted with the various advocacy groups. Those who I have spoken to did not hear from Mr Pettersson. They read about it in the paper; they indicated somewhat similar feelings to me, in that they are not necessarily opposed to this call but is that all there is? Is that really all there is?
I actually think it is time for Mr Pettersson to have a good, hard look at himself and ask himself what it is that he is doing here. I enjoy Mr Pettersson’s company; I think we all do. He has been here for five years now. How does he see his future in this place? I like having a laugh as much as anyone, but when I come into this place as an MLA, I take my role very seriously when it comes to bringing forward motions, and debating bills and motions.
Mr Pettersson can be seen on a social media platform answering the question, “Why did you become a politician?” Mr Pettersson’s answer is, “Because I thought it would be funny.” That is why he is here, according to Mr Pettersson; he is here because he thought it would be funny.
So it is no great surprise that the inspiration for today’s motion came directly from TikTok. This motion is inspired by Sydney comedian Tom Cashman, who has posted a series of TikTok videos about him almost jokingly asking the landlord for a reference, rather than the other way around. Mr Cashman posted the video to get laughs and to get views, and that is exactly what he achieved. I cannot get away from the fact that I think that is why Mr Pettersson has brought this motion forward today.
Let us get this straight. When it comes to seeking policy advice in this particular housing space, I paid my own way to get to the National Housing Conference in Melbourne earlier in the year. I bought my own ticket to the conference, and paid for my airline tickets and accommodation—it totalled around $1,500—so that I could