Page 537 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 23 March 2022

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a public exposure draft bill has been developed. I am pleased to say that this is expected to occur in mid-2022.

Going specifically to Mr Pettersson’s ask—and as the motion draws attention to—it is the case that landlords will often ask tenants for extensive information on their employment and on their rental history, while tenants often are not in a position to obtain information about landlords’ treatment of previous tenants. I note that Mr Pettersson’s motion is about the consideration of a change here.

Indeed, any changes to rental laws giving renters the right to receive references from landlords’ previous tenants does need to be considered practically. This includes due consideration of how the intended impact can be achieved and any other consequences that might arise and ensuring that, if this is pursued, a balance is struck in strengthening the rights of renters while also reflecting that landlords need the freedoms and rights to effectively manage their properties.

I commend Mr Pettersson on bringing this motion to the Assembly and look forward to learning further of the information power imbalance review, together with the consideration that will be given to landlord references, when it is reported back to the Assembly in November.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (3.55), in reply: I appreciate the opportunity to rise in closing because I want to thank, first and foremost, all members for their contributions—definitely some more than others. I want to start first, Madam Speaker, by addressing Mr Parton’s speech. Mr Parton I would describe as a nice guy. He is one of the friendly guys around this building, which is why I am quite genuinely surprised by the very ferocious and personal attacks that Mr Parton led with.

Generally speaking, personal attacks and process arguments are the place that you find yourself when you actually cannot argue on the substance of the issue. When you do have an argument of substance, that is what you lead with. If you actually think you have got a point, that is the point you try and make. But when you stand up and all you can say is mean things about someone else, I think that says more about you than it does about the other.

Very specifically to the point Mr Parton made about our interaction in the hallway, where Mr Parton claimed that he had asked the comedian a question about this motion, I would urge Mr Parton to reflect that there is a reason that I believed he might have spoken to this TikTok comedian, while with others I might not have so easily assumed that that would have occurred.

I think there is something that needs to be addressed in this debate and it has come up with some of the questions that I have received today. I think references are a great thing for landlords and for tenants. When a landlord asks for references, I think that is a good thing. It allows them to get more information to make an informed choice. I completely understand and am empathetic towards landlords wanting to make the best choice for their property. Good. No objection to landlords. I have friends who are landlords. They are not bad people. Overwhelmingly, landlords in Canberra are great people. Canberrans are wonderful people.

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