In a surprising twist, Rational Radical has made it to national TV, with yours truly appearing on Channel Ten’s The Project, interviewed about housing affordability and the ABC’s recently released figures on Australia’s property investing politicians. I can’t believe how mainstream I’ve become… My inner hipster just died a little 🙁
While the segment only contained a single quote from my interview, I answered half a dozen questions on the apparent conflict of interest enjoyed by the majority of our parliamentarians with respect to housing affordability.
I stated that it is incumbent upon the nearly 50% of politicians that own investment properties – some of whom own very large portfolios – to explain to the Australian public how their personal financial interests do not unduly influence their participation in housing affordability policy, debate and voting. Because the ABC’s figures most certainly suggest that the majority of parliamentarians have their “snouts in the housing trough”.
While there may be no explicit Parliamentary code of conduct or rules stating that residential property interests represent a conflict with related policy, it is certainly the Australian community’s expectation that such interests do not inhibit the delivery of housing and tax policy that serves the public interest. With wage growth near record lows and set to stay that way, real solutions to housing affordability necessarily involve reducing prices for residential real estate, which would directly harm the substantial financial interests of most of our politicians.
Is it any wonder that we have seen so little genuine policy action to date, but have instead had years of policy fraud intended to actually boost or maintain prices at record levels, much of which has been thinly disguised as assistance for first home buyers, but has done nothing but place further unearned windfalls into the hands of incumbent land owners, politicians chief amongst them.
In the absence of strict rules or a code of conduct addressing this issue, any property investing politician with a shred of moral fibre should vote in favour of – or abstain from voting against – policies that would reduce the cost of housing in Australia. And the Australian public should rightly name and shame those who continue to vote for higher prices in apparent service to their personal interests.
Here’s the clip, I make an appearance from 1 min, 15 secs. At least my hair was awesome…(?):