by Michael Kennedy

Anyone with a worldly outlook and an independent mind would be acutely aware of how the media play a pivotal role in determining for other people what is to be considered an issue and what isn’t. The media set the tone of discussion. If the media brings something up, it must be an issue. If they don’t, it mustn’t be important. So some obscure issue which has always been around suddenly becomes ‘water cooler’ discussion because of its appearance on the front page. Yet a slowly unfolding revolution is considered worthy of being ignored, because the media choose not to focus on it. We take the view that it’s not what newspapers, television or mainstream press which dictates what important, which problems we must tackle, but it’s our own judgement and position.

One issue which has been glossed over, mentioned but never explored in the depth it deserves is the housing crisis. While the global financial crisis gets in depth coverage and the ‘crisis’ with Lindsey Lohan gets valuable airtime, this crisis is perhaps felt far more keenly by Australians is only time to time mentioned with no one seeming to even consider that it is a problem that we as Australians should consider resolving. The state of housing affordability in Australia has truly become a crisis. A financial crisis because of vast amounts of credits pumped into an unsustainable asset bubble which will cause economic problems when it pops, and a social crisis, as young Australians seeking to start a family and construct the very social fabric of the future of this nation find they are unable to do so.

Historically house prices have always oscillated but have always, with the exception of periods of economic recession and depression, been affordable to the working class. Yet in the 21st century, we saw housing reach new levels of unaffordability, during an economic BOOM. During a period of time when working hours were increasing, when the economy was growing rapidly, market forces were conspiring not to give Australians the opportunity to use their hard earned wealth to secure a residence, but to use property as a vehicle for profiteering.

The Generational War

The housing market as it is now, is generationally skewed, with the older baby boomer’s standing the most to gain from overinflated prices, and the most to lose from housing becoming affordable. For many younger “Generation X” and “Generation Y” Aussies, there is a clear sense of anger over the fact that they cannot achieve the Australian dream that their parents could. For many Australians who had working class parents, who paid off the ¼ acre block in the suburbs, they grew up and studied and worked hard to be able to afford the same. Now with many having gone through the education system, worked the entry level jobs they find that these very same houses, which were paid off by brickies, labourers and office clerks are not out of reach to young professionals. The houses which sold for $10,000 many decades ago, or even those which sold at $150,000 only two decades ago are now well over half a million. The property owners, who would still profit from selling the house at half its current ‘market value’ refuse to take anything less than the overinflated and grossly unfair market value. For these baby boomer’s using property to fund their retirement, they are borrowing, and that’s putting it nicely, money from a future generation. To put it more aptly, they are utilising the fact that housing is a basic necessity to set sale terms which are completely unreasonable.

The baby boomer generation claims that ‘hard work’ gave them their status, when in reality it is nothing more than the sheer luck of being born at a time when housing which was suitable for family life could be afforded on one wage. These conditions simply do not exist now, and younger Australians are being blamed for this inequity. It is supposedly the reluctance of “Gen X” and “Gen Y” to work hard or start small, according to these self righteous children of the hippie era, which is to blame for their predicament. But the truth is vastly different. The current generational inequity is the result of nothing more than the timing of economic and social change, with the older generation finding itself on the favourable line of the divide, and the younger ones drawing the short straw. Canberra University’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling showed that during the financial boom of the 2000’s, the one which most people missed out on, the divide between rich and poor grew further, with this divide having a generational angle too.

People over 65 increased their home equity by an average of $80,000 in the 10-year period – four times as much as for people aged 15 to 34. i

How has the government sought to address this, to ensure that hard working Australians are able to secure basic shelter? By giving home owners grants which did nothing apart from line the pockets of real estate agents, property speculators and investors. This divide is turning into anger between generations, turning children against parents, parents against children and reinforcing the worst form of individualistic, me, me, me trains of thought. Unfortunately, the growing anger baby boomer’s and the older generation is justified, as while they have profited immensely, obscenely, they are showing no regard at all as a collective demographic for the plight of the younger Australians who are doomed to worked well past 65 in order to fund the baby boomer retirement.

The Population War

Another contributing factor is the insane, reckless and poorly though out mass immigration policy. Hard as it is for new infrastructure and public transport to be put in place, as full as our roads, trains, hospitals and schools are, as competitive as the job and housing market are, the government nevertheless ramped up immigration, doubling and trebling it in the past decade or two. In a big ‘up yours’ to the Australian people, it completely ignored these concerns and opened up the country to ‘skilled workers’, without even mentioning how they would look after those who were here. The population grew immensely and Australia experienced the fastest population growth. Yet no plans were made to house these people, and no mention of how Australians would be ensured space and opportunity to make a workable life in this country. The government just didn’t care, and many Australians are finding life less and less workable. Aaron Gadiel from Urban Taskforce Australia says that local councils are indifferent to the plight of home buyers and that

“Every credible independent report on the housing shortfall has found that the planning system and the restrictions imposed by local councils are front and centre to blame for the current situation we find ourselves in.” ii

The Speculators War

The third aspect is property speculation. Financial opportunists using property to further enlarge their asset base have pushed Australians out the market even further. People who already own a house, in a act which is nothing more than pure greed, buying up other properties for the sole purpose of profiteering. Buying an already overpriced quarter acre block in the suburbs for $550K, only to tear the house down, erect 3 units and sell the units at $400K each. People who are up in arms over a few cents per litre extra on the price of petrol and demand the blood of oil companies become silent and overlook this vastly more insidious gouging. The economic divide is growing, as people who already own multiple properties and obtain income through rent and subdividing the land, use this leverage to obtain even more properties, to drive up the price and push out first home buyers. It really is just greed and avarice which compels people who own multiple properties, who are aware of the housing unaffordability crisis to continue with this socially destructive practice for the pursuit of filthy lucre. The Liberals, in their true style helped kick off the speculative bubble, with Peter Costello in 1999 saying

“Work for a living and we’ll tax you at close to 50 cents in the dollar; speculate and we’ll only take 25 cents. Not only that but, as a special deal – while stocks last – we’ll pay half your speculating costs.” iii

Halving the capital gains tax rate and negative gearing has been a boon to those who least need to enter the so called property market, those who already own a property. Meanwhile, first home buyers were given a first home buyers grant, which only served to allow buyers to leverage themselves even more applying for easy credit, and bidding up prices and succumbing to the spruiking of the only “profession” that doesn’t require an education, the Real Estate Industry.

Yet such greed is rewarded through tax benefits such as negative gearing and lauded in economic circles. Financial analysts perversely call unaffordable housing a “strong market” and celebrate its further “growth”. From a nationalist viewpoint, any economic condition which weakens the social make up of the nation, which undermines the ability of people to secure a future for themselves is to be avoided, regardless of how profitable it is to the already rich, already well off social class.

What has the government done about this? It opened up property investment to the foreign market and we saw real estate agencies spring up whose sole purpose was to sell properties to Chinese nationals.

Nationalist Alternatives war against the housing crisis

We are unashamedly against greed and profiteering. Every other party treats this issue with kid gloves. The Liberals wouldn’t dare upset cashed up investors and the boomer’s, and besides, they champion market forces and value them over the welfare of the nation. Labor has been completely inept and uncommitted, showing that they care not one iota for the many Australians struggling to afford just an extra bedroom for a child, or those facing the prospect of never being able to afford to live in a house which doesn’t belong to someone else. The Greens have said nothing, but while they might fight on behalf of Australians against speculators, they wouldn’t dare fight on behalf of Australians for population control. Without addressing the immigration issue, any effort made is worthless. Socialists just don’t care as the issue doesn’t affect trans-gendered lesbian indigenous people in Africa fighting against imperialism.

We at Nationalist Alternative are wholly committed to affordable housing. It IS a right, just as clothing, food, medicine and education are a right. It is just as detestable in our opinion to use the market to price a vital product such as housing out of peoples reach for profit, as it is to auction food to the highest bidder for profit and leave others hungry. There is quite simply no excuse, nor any good reason for such a crisis to occur. The free market has failed, free markets being an abstract ideology that in real life is unworkable. Australia needs a government which as the courage to do its job and govern for the welfare of the nation.

Quite simply, housing should be MADE affordable. That’s not to say that the government should pay for peoples housing, but the cost of constructing a house is still affordable and within reach. It is the price of land which has lost all control. As land costs nothing to produce, it is entirely reasonable to expect Australians to pay fairly for construction costs. Such a demand even today would not be unreasonable, but it is not reasonable to expect one to pay $800K for an empty block in a traditionally working class suburb by Altona.

Nationalist Alternative is committed to ensuring that our economy serves US. There is no room in our society for practices which destroy our social conditions, even if they are of benefit to the few. Australians have fought and died to protect their nation, worked hard to pay taxes to their country, worked hard to build it up from arid sands into one of the best countries on earth. This work should not be in vain. Those who work to secure a future should not see their efforts destroyed.

ii “20yrs of poor policy blamed for housing crisis”

iii “How tax system egged on property speculation”

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