Policies of the Affordable Housing Party
-First and foremost, the Australian Government must adopt a comprehensive national affordable housing strategy
-Get rid of negative gearing on investment properties
Negative gearing increases demand for housing ownership as it grants the ability to investors to reduce their taxable income which effectively subsidises their investment.
Even Paul Keating has admitted its removal did not affect the cost of renting in Australia when it was removed and the facts don't bear this out as rents did not go up in other parts of Australia, only Perth and Sydney where there was a historic undersupply of housing at that time.
What negative gearing really does is give investors a reason to outbid first home buyers at auction, because you can't negatively gear your home.
-Get rid of the capital gains discount on housing sales
This is another factor that has encouraged people to invest heavily in housing and contributes to out of control house prices, particularly in concert with negative gearing.
-Increase the rate of Centrelink payments like Newstart and pensions and increase rent assistance payments
We should have a less punitive welfare system that provides better support and is more understanding of people's individual circumstances. The system shouldn't be a nightmare to interact with. Paying welfare recipients a living payment will also stimulate jobs as that money goes straight back into local businesses.
-Restrict overseas buyers and temporary visa holders from buying housing in Australia
People who don't live in Australia don't need to own housing in Australia and temporary visa holders can just rent. Many of our regional neighbours have sensible legislation designed to stop overseas investors distorting their housing markets to the detrimental of locals and we should be more like them in this regard.
-Tax properties that are left deliberately untenanted to encourage owners to rent them out or sell them (minimum owner occupancy periods will protect holiday home owners)
"Ghost neighbourhoods" have become a problem in many housing markets around the world where overseas investors have been allowed to buy in large numbers because they are often just parking their money in foreign real estate and don't want the hassle of managing a rental property - but this artificially restricts the supply of housing available to renters and pushes prices up.
Based on data collected at the last census and research by the group Prosper Australia, there are enough of these deliberately empty investment properties to house every homeless person in the country and every person on a public housing waiting list.
If these were made available for people to live in, then house prices and rents would fall substantially.
-Ban or tax full time "Airbnb" type properties that the owner never lives in and are operated like a hotel or hostel
When property investors are allowed to "Airbnb" out entire properties full time that they never live in like an unlicenced hostel or hotel they can earn many, many times what they would from normal rental income but this is to the detriment to people in their community who need an affordable place to live.
It's fine if someone wants to rent out a spare room in their home to travelers. In the case of a holiday house that the owner rents out when they're not using it, they or their friends and family should have to be in non-commercial use of the property for a minimum number of days a year or the property should be subject to additional taxation.
-Subject bankers, real estate agents, lawyers, accountants and other associated professionals with roles in the property sector to the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006 to stamp out money laundering by organised crime in Australia's real estate market.
Our international allies have been urging Australia for years to close this loophole which effectively means Australia is profiting from overseas crime that we do not bear the impact of.
-Increased federal funding for public, social and affordable housing nation wide
If the income tax that goes uncollected through negative gearing was instead gathered by the government there would be billions of extra dollars available to fund the construction of new public housing and to maintain existing public housing to make it livable again.
-Assistance for first home buyers experiencing mortgage stress if prices correct
Taxation payments paid into Treasury as a consequence of the reduction of the concessions currently enjoyed by housing investors can also be utilized in the following manner;
The creation of a First Home Buyers Compensation Fund if there is a serious correction in the price of housing in Australia that puts first home buyers under water with their mortgages. This Fund will be utilised to provide financial relief to keep people in their homes where First Home Buyers are facing their property being foreclosed on. These interest only relief loans will not have to be repaid until either the home is sold, or it is transferred to a non-related third party.
-Nationally consistent and improved rights for renters and an end to “no fault” evictions
Australian renters have extremely few rights compared to people other countries where leases are often much longer and people have much greater security from being evicted without good reason. These rights should also be nationally consistent across the states and territories and if possible brought into the federal sphere.
-Stop people from being able to invest their Superannuation in residential property
It's dangerous to allow people to put their retirement savings into real estate in the middle of what could be a housing investment bubble.
-A diverse and multicultural Australia but not a "Big Australia"
The Affordable Housing Party supports Australia's migration program and opposes immigration policies that single out particular groups or place refugees on precarious temporary protection visas that are constantly reviewed which would prevent them and their families from planning for their futures.
We also oppose the idea that a divisive national plebiscite should be held on immigration into Australia as has been suggested by One Nation and Senator Frazer Anning.
However we do not support a "Big Australia" of 36 million people or more by 2050 as has been advocated for by the big end of town and would like to see a slowing of Australia's population growth by setting skilled migration targets to around where they were under the Hawke and Keating governments to reduce pressure on housing and infrastructure.
This would not include a reduction in family reunion migration or of Australia's humanitarian intake which we would like to see increase alongside Australia doing more to fund the United Nations refugee system and using diplomacy to encourage more countries to ratify the UN refugee convention.
We also oppose migrant workers being placed on 457 or similar temporary work visas where they have few rights and that leave them vulnerable to exploitation by employers.
Recent ABS data has found that record numbers of people are now leaving Australia due to the high cost of living in this country, and many of those are Australians from migrant backgrounds who have found themselves priced out of Australia and are looking to other countries where they can live more affordably. We don't want to see this churning of people through Australia and if Australia is growing too fast, that can be bad for migrants too.
Polling by Essential research has also found that 60% of Australians from migrant backgrounds feel that Australia's population growth has been too fast in the last decade and we believe this shows that Australia's migrant communities feel secure enough about their place in this country to have a mature conversation about the effects of rapid population growth on the liveability of our cities and the quality of life that they want for their children and for future migrants.
According to the Australian Academy of Science, "the quality of all aspects of our children's lives will be maximised if the population of Australia by the mid-21st Century is kept to the low, stable end of the achievable range, i.e. to approximately 23 million." We have already passed that threshold.
Without a change in the rate of Australia's population growth we will need to build the equivalent of a city the size of Canberra, and all the associated infrastructure to support it, every year just to keep up with demand for housing.
WHAT IF EVERYTHING GOES WRONG?
In the event of the housing bubble collapsing and a significant correction in the cost of housing in Australia, we would support a limited program of quantitative easing similar to what has been suggested by former NSW Treasury secretary Percy Allan.
This would boost Australian exports by making the Australian dollar more competitive.
It would also provide the funds to pay for major infrastructure projects and to provide financial relief to mortgage holding single property owners who had bought before a particular date in the event that they end up holding bank debts that are more than their properties are worth.
However, we do not support public money being used to directly bail out banks or property investors.
WHERE DO WE STAND ON OTHER ISSUES?
While we see ourselves as very much on the progressive side of politics, the Affordable Housing Party does not subscribe to any particular political or economic ideology.
We believe in evidence based policy making and we will listen to the testimony of the experts on the various sides of a debate and judge how to vote based on that.
We will always try to support and advance policies that provide the greatest benefit to the most Australians without disenfranchising the most vulnerable people in our society.
On social issues we believe it is very important for lawmakers to listen to and follow the will of the people.