Page 2606 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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I think that part of it is that he is quite conflicted about this policy. He does not agree with it, but of course, in public, he has to; and he has to support it and he has to support this flawed policy that has been rejected around the country and rejected recently by his New South Wales colleagues. Permanent security of tenure has been taken away by the New South Wales government. Mr Hargreaves is becoming increasingly isolated, and I think he knows it. We are seeing that through his ridiculous bluster, not only in the estimates process but also here tonight.

He talks about the greedy market renters, but then he allows them to have a public house. He talks about greedy market renters, but then he bases what he charges public housing tenants on the market that he claims is infested with greedy landlords. It is just ridiculous. As I said, the policy that Mr Hargreaves is defending is getting harder and harder to defend. And it is becoming very evident to everyone that he is all over the place on this issue. I think, over time, we are going to see that come out more and more and we will see the divisions in the Labor Party on this issue more clearly in the public light.

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (8.46): I want to respond to a couple of things that were said earlier. It is interesting to hear the Liberals say that I keep raising this issue. I am raising it here in the Assembly tonight to put it on the record. I do not think it is okay that we shove under the carpet the yuckiness that has been this media campaign. I think it has to be owned right here in the Assembly. We need to have—and I do not think tonight is the time to do it, but we can anticipate it—the proper policy debate about this issue.

That is the only good thing that we can retrieve out of what has been going on. It has to be acknowledged that I do not think any of you would have liked to have been me lately. I do not want to talk about it particularly. I have not talked about it. I am talking about it tonight. That is it.

I have been told, by someone to whom I believe the Liberals are close—and I believe that I hear them utter some of the things that he said to me—that the property owners and developers will not be happy until they get rid of the policy of security of tenure. I would anticipate that the Labor Party can expect to be hammered over the next term on this issue, and I can see that you, the Liberals, are doing your job—I acknowledge that—because you see your job as representing that section of the community. I believe I heard it here tonight.

Mr Sesejla: No. We represent the whole community, not just five per cent.

DR FOSKEY: Okay, that is my perception. I believe that the government should be prepared and should be aware that that is the nature of what is going on here.

I want to address some of the things that were said, because I do think they show an incredible lack of understanding regarding housing and housing viability. Words were said that people living in public housing paying full market rent are soaking up public assets. I love the language, guys! But the public house, that house, remains the property of ACT Housing. The house is an appreciating asset. It can be borrowed against or can be kept for future reallocation for sale. It is the property of the government; it is an appreciating asset. Anyone who knows anything about property knows that.

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