Join the Affordable Housing Australia Party free

A message from Andrew Potts, national convenor of The Affordable Housing Party:

The Affordable Housing Party was founded by former South Melbourne City councillor and retired Victorian state Liberal MLC Reg Macey. Reg quit the Liberal Party in 1992 when the party swung too far to the right for him. Reg founded the Affordable Housing Party party before the 2013 election along with a group of mature voters who were concerned about their adult children’s ability to become first home owners but he was not able to recruit enough members to register the party in time to take part in that election. Reg remains the president of the Affordable Housing Party and continues to play a mentorship role for the party.

Andrew Potts, a freelance journalist and former newspaper editor, joined the party in June of 2015 and in a short time was able to grow the party’s social media following from under 200 people to nearly 2,500 people as the party’s principle spokesperson and national convenor. Andrew is a former Australian Greens supporter and a former editor of the Sydney Star Observer weekly newspaper and has written for a variety of community print publications for over a decade in Australia as well as being published overseas.

Andrew was able to recruit the required 500+ members to register a party and submitted registration paperwork to the AEC in May of 2016. However the AEC suspended the registration process when the election was called.

The party had believed that its registration process would be expedited if it submitted paperwork before the AEC deadline and had recruited candidates to stand for the senate in New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, South Australia, and also had members who had expressed an interest in taking part in several House of Representative contests to raise the profile of the party. But that was not the case.

Reg and Andrew believed that the party would be successfully registered after the 2016 election in plenty of time to run candidates at the next federal election and had submitted a party logo to appear on the ballot. However on December 6 Andrew was contacted by the AEC who informed him that they had decided to disqualify 64 of the party’s members as they were unable to match them to the electoral roll and that the Affordable Housing Party had just two weeks to resubmit a refreshed member list of between 500 to 550 members or it would lose its $1000 registration bond and have to begin the party registration process all over again.

The party will be able to convert some of these disqualified members by reaching out to them individually to update their details. However more members will be needed to give the party the best chance of being successfully registered.

Having turned to its supporters on Facebook the Affordable Housing Party is conducting a final membership drive to ensure that the issue of housing affordability in Australia will be on the ballot at the next federal election.

The party is recruiting multiple new members every day but it is calling on MacroBusiness readers who are concerned about the housing investment bubble in Australia and the housing affordability crisis to join the party so that we will get over the line.

Joining the party is free and people can sign up by going to and clicking through to sign up as members via GroupSpaces, the website the Affordable Housing Party uses to maintain it’s membership database. The only requirement for membership is that people be on the electoral roll in Australia and not currently a member of another political party.

HOUSING PARTY MANIFESTO

In 1986 in the Inner West Sydney suburb of Dulwich Hill you could buy a newly renovated three bedroom home with a big backyard for $150,000 and pay off the mortgage in under a decade.

In 2016 to buy the same house newly renovated would cost you $1.5 million and you will probably be paying off the mortgage for the rest of your life.

Wages in Australia didn’t increase by 1000% in the two decades since 1986. What happened to make Australia have the least affordable housing on the planet?

Negative gearing (where an owner treats his investment property like a business that is losing money to avoid paying tax on the rental income) and the capital gains tax discount (where housing is taxed less than other forms of investment) have turned housing from a fundamental human need in Australia into a tax minimisation scheme for the wealthy.

Negative gearing by property investors reduced personal income tax revenue collection in Australia by $13.2 billion in the year 2010/2011 and that number is only rising. Most of Australia’s politicians are property investors. The 226 members of the Australian Parliament own 563 properties – a combined property portfolio worth over $300 million. Our politicians have a vested interest in keeping this tax minimisation scheme in place and not intervening in other areas that are driving up property prices in Australia.

One factor driving up property prices is Australia’s weak enforcement of its laws banning overseas investors buying property in Australia which has made this country a haven for illegal buyers and for international money laundering by organised crime.

Even just temporary residents in Australia are allowed to buy property and there is no checking that they sell those properties when they leave.

At the same time domestic issues are driving capital flight out of mainland China which has seen many ordinary Chinese people choose Australia as a safe place to park their money in real estate in case the Chinese Government clamps down on their banks because of economic instability at home.

Many of these buyers do not want the trouble of managing a rental property remotely and do not get tenants in so the property will be in pristine condition when it is sold again.

A study of water usage in Victoria found that there were 82,724 homes in Melbourne that are being left deliberately empty by investors. That’s nearly 20 percent of the investor owned homes in Melbourne and it is likely that there are similar numbers of deliberately empty properties in our other capital cities as well. These unavailable properties creates an artificial scarcity of housing for renters and buyers which pushes prices up even higher.

Adding to the pressure is record high immigration under the Liberals while they simultaneously demonise refugees – adding a quarter of a million new people each year who need to find housing in Australia.

Fear of missing out and easy lending by the banks has driven more and more people into the housing market, paying more and more ridiculous prices in the belief that property prices will always go up – but they don’t and all these things combined are fuelling a dangerous property investment bubble that will send hundreds of thousands of Australians broke when it finally bursts.

It is now estimated that property in Australia is probably overvalued by 30 to 40 percent over its real worth. So if you’re buying that $1.5 million house in Dulwich Hill it’s probably only worth $1 million and you might as well have burned your deposit.

However a controlled demolition of house prices in Australia by making property a less attractive investment option compared to other forms of investment over time can prevent this kind of economic disaster from occurring and better policies by government can make sure another bubble does not occur.

So what are the solutions? The Affordable Housing Party proposes the following:

-Phase out negative gearing and the capital gains discount on property -Introduce a tax on properties left deliberately empty by investors

-Make sure real estate agents must check that buyers are legally able to buy in Australia and punish anyone found to have facilitated an illegal sale to an overseas investor with heavy penalties

-Fix the money laundering loopholes in Australia’s laws that make us a financial haven for international organised crime groups

-Lower immigration from 250,000 a year to around where it was under the Hawke and Keating governments until infrastructure and housing can meet demand to preserve the quality of life that attracts migrants to this country while raising Australia’s refugee quota for UNHCR registered refugees to 20,000 a year and boosting Australia’s international aid commitment to the United Nations refugee system to support refugees in other countries

-Increase federal funding for more public and affordable housing developments for low income people, the elderly and the disabled

-Get rid of stamp duties that raise the cost of buying a house by thousands of dollars and get rid of first home buyer grants that really only benefit sellers. Buying a home can be made more achievable by other means

Join here.

David Llewellyn-Smith

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

Comments

  1. Credibility is a bit shot with this statement:

    “Get rid of stamp duties that raise the cost of buying a house by thousands of dollars and get rid of first home buyer grants that really only benefit sellers. “

    • The stamp duty should be increased with the property price. A 200k property selling for $400k should have a stamp duty of 50%. Kill off a few specufestors and solve the tax revenue problems in one hit.

      • Your $200K property is someone else’s $400K property.

        My $300K property is someone else’s $1m property.

      • Stamp duty is a split of the cost of acquisition (of say 105) between the seller (who gets 100) and the state govt (who gets 5). If you reduce the state’s share to 0 the seller will get 105 (reflected in a higher sale price).

        And that’s before the ability to leverage the 5 comes into play.

      • Yes, but getting rid of FHB grant & adding a land tax in place of stamp duty should lead to lower prices in the longer term …….. though Australia is different of course!

  2. I will re-iterate my point from yesterday. Affordable Housing is the wrong term. NSW State Government are pushing affordable housing and are doing it very successfully but this is via low cost accommodation for the disadvantaged, boarding houses, granny flats and rental assistance… Your message will be lost as the Federal Government will point to those initiatives and show an increase in “affordable housing” and the increase in supply from the Greater Sydney Commission and your message will be left in tatters.

    Change the name or struggle to get 500 members again…

    Maybe go for something like The Great Australia Party or Homes for Grandchildren.

    • I’d rather vote for the “No Immigration Party”. That’ll make property affordable and solve most other issues in the process.

      • Absolutely, does Australia really need more and more people? The proposed party has a soft policy on immigration and One Nation’s immigration policy is more likely to help with housing affordability.

    • +1 Lab
      The HIA/REIA/PCA lobby have corrupted the term “Affordable Housing”
      They have tricked the government into conflating it with “Public housing” and obfuscated true reform for years
      Classic bait and switch
      You guys have to differentiate yourselves from this fraud
      It has to start with the name

      • Agree on “Affordable housing” party name problems
        Disagree on “Sustainable Australia” party name problem
        I think they have got it right
        Sustainability can be economic and social as well as environmental

    • Andrew, can I suggest an alternative to
      “Make sure real estate agents must check that buyers are legally able to buy in Australia and punish anyone found to have facilitated an illegal sale to an overseas investor with heavy penalties”
      instead
      1. Have the ANAO conduct a comprehensive and transparent audit of residential land titles for FIRB compliance.
      2. Require proof of purchaser’s FIRB compliant residency status/approval to register the transfer of title.
      No proof, no title.
      Fixed.

      • +1

        Would suggest a name change to Australian Owned Property Only Party

        a name which would have enough bite for you to actually represent

        Affordable Property? What does that even mean if there are no jobs?

      • hey Pat, you know & I know they will eventually do this. Our polity are sharks, not enough tuna (Chinese investor) has been penned in the kill zone yet…

      • deeez, I don’t know that they will eventually do this.
        In fact I doubt they ever will given the appalling track record of both parties on this over a long period of time.
        The sham continues

    • Why not “cherry pick immigrants to those with skills the country needs” or “reduce immigration to zero until we get our infrastructure sorted”?

      • Even if skills need to be imported, they should only be imported from New Zealand, England, Canada.

        Why do they have to import truck drivers from the 3rd world? Oh yeah, they are willing to work for $10/hour.

    • Are foreigners still buying Aussie houses illegally?

      And are non-citizens given the negative gearing handout?

      • “Even if skills need to be imported, they should only be imported from New Zealand, England, Canada…”

        Jacob….Australia does NOT need to import skilled workers. This is the con of all time and the general public have fallen for it hook line and sinker.
        If Australia was a third world country then yes maybe. But we are not and we have many skilled workers here that because of the bullshit con about the “need” to bring in “skilled” people, are having to accept much lower wages and thus living standards than ever before.
        You may hear the argument that we need people with STEM or IT savvy individuals – utter bullshit. Outsourcing and the cloud have decimated the IT industry so think again before you hear them preach to you to “teach your kids to code”.
        We need to understand that only having a property market and sweet fuck all else is a recipe to catapult us to third world status.
        We need a fucking kick up the arse, and a realisation that many Australians ravenously are having their snouts in the trough of “property mate” frenzy and kidding themselves that Australia is still a prosperous advanced economy.
        We ain’t.
        We are a selfish lot that are hellbent on selling our children down the drain in favor of appeasing the Chinese and cashing ourselves up with an industry that should revert to its original purpose viz. to put a docking roof over ones head instead of being a wealth creation tool and sport that plays with our children’s future prosperity.
        Housing should not be expensive especially in a country so vast.
        It is an absolute disgrace and warrants a fucking revolt against these political bastards that have done sweet nothing to address it while collectively pouring millions into their own speculative interests in property.
        Revolt against this system that sells out its own children.
        When non-residents can get 0% interest loans to buy property in Australia while our kids have to save for as long as it’s taken baby boomers to own their own home outright. When the world is truly globalised now and you’re competing against the world for a job instead of locally only. When all you’re doing is treading water week in week working multiple jobs to cough up exorbitant rents to predominantly baby boomer landlords. When our youth are told to suck all this shit up.
        Our youth need to fight back and not take this shit anymore.

  3. The manifesto does not include anything about reforming planning/zoning laws and infrastructure financing and only addresses the demand side of the equation. As explained by Phil many times over, without supply, demand measures can only do so much and their effect will only be temporary while supply is strangled. There must be adequate supply side reform.

    The policy proposals are better than nothing but don’t go far enough.

  4. If I have signed up before, do I need to sign up again? The previous outfit was very poorly organised and will have trouble organizing a BBQ.

  5. Yes, reset the bar!
    (though we could give a 5yr window for offenders to action so as to minimise the possibility of crashing the housing market (so that legit home owners will support this also, else you will loose lots of potential votes)

    • can say maths party are staying out of the palaver as the game theory model we have doesn’t get better if we join the fog of disparates

    • Last night I took your note quite seriously and reviewed policies of ALL parties. I ended up joining SAP as they are more mature with a comprehensive set of policies and achieved 26k senate votes at last election.

      I hope you take your own advice and work together. Your policies are more specific in the area of social housing. But the same warning I gave last night that workers who cannot afford a house of their own will not be receptive to additional taxes to support social housing.

  6. innocent bystander

    capital gains tax discount (where housing is taxed less than other forms of investment)

    is that true?

    • In certain circumstances yes. If I leave my savings in the bank, they get taxed at 100% of my tax bracket. Whether you call a savings account an investment, i guess is up to you. If I start a small business, I will be taxed at 100% of tax bracket on any profit. Even worse is that I can’t claim my investment back unless I meet a range of criteria. However, if my investment property is negatively geared I can claim tax from day one. So yes, the rules are extremely geared towards speculative property investment.

      • OK, so yes, If I invest in gold, or in US dollars, I have to pay 100% my marginal tax rate on any earnings.

      • innocent bystander

        so, No.
        if interest is on a bank account that is added to your income and you pay full marginal rate.
        if you make a profit on gold, or an art piece, shares, or an investment property the capital gain is halved (known as the discount) and you pay tax at your marginal rate on that CG.
        the article implies/says the CG tax is more advantageous for investment property than any other investment which has CG, and to my knowledge it isn’t.
        and, a point lost of a lot of MBers is the so called “discount” isn’t a discount at all – when the 50% formula was brought in it replaced a formula that reduced the CGT payable using other criteria such as time held, CPI for that period etc. In fact at the time in some situations the so called discount formula resulted in more CGT being payable than the old formula. people forget.

      • There is no CGT discount on gold or currency. They are taxed at full marginal rate! The only things that are given the CGT discount as far as I am aware is property and shares held for more than a year.

  7. I was a paid-up member last time.
    Andrew Potts had 2 years and he couldn’t even register the party for the last election.
    I’m sorry but these people are worse than the encumbent politicians.

    Now that we can all see that central banks are complete failures in preventing tough times, let’s see the Bear clear the markets and bring all asset prices down so that we can get back to some sort of normalcy.

  8. I know membership is free, but it doesn’t mean the website has to look so poorly.

    There are so many good WordPress themes for free out there. Polish lends credibility.

    • Yep, hit the eject button on Sydney, let it burn and move to other capitals where prices are only 2-3x Sydney’s 1986 price rather than 10x.

      That said given the policy hole left by the majors in ‘affordable housing’, I can see good reason for a party like this or SAP if done right.

      • It is the same Party that’s been there for the last 2 years.
        Did you think it was a good idea then?
        If so, why didn’t you join then?.The election was only 6 months ago.

      • @athalone, there are other parties more aligned with my policy interests e.g. LDP.

        If I lived in Sydney (or was struggling to get into the local property market) I would give some serious consideration to joining AHAP or SAP.

  9. “Negative gearing by property investors reduced personal income tax revenue collection in Australia by $13.2 billion in the year 2010/2011 and that number is only rising.

    Not accurate AFAIK. I believe the figure stated is deductions claimed, actual tax revenue reduced by a smaller amount in the FY, but potentially losses would be carried forward without negative gearing. Also think the number shrunk in more recent ATO stats…

  10. And where did the discussion about the banking royal commission go? Something needs to be done about regulating easy credit IMO. That is where this house price madness starts. I am sure if banks come up with a ‘product’ so an average salary household can borrow $2Mil – this is where median property price will be. Do not underestimate bank’s ability to come up with schemes to print $2Mil loan to an average Joe Blogs. This can easily happen with proposed dipping into super for housing, or 50 year loans, etc. And while we are at it, stop any leverage in super. Force banks to separate deposit banking from high risk invement banking. And no taxpayer guarantee of the high risk stuff. Unbelievable this high risk investment banking hasn’t been put in a cage after 2008.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Yes all of what you say will happen to protect the bubble.

      As for the royal Commission into the banks – a total waste of time. they have an arse-shield conveniently provided by mortgage brokers. Why spend all that time and money on a Royal Commission only to discover that the mortgage brokers are supplying the banks dodgy information?

      • Dodgy information as demanded by the banks, ie facilitated via the apps they give the brokers to put on their laptops.

  11. Yep. It’s a great idea to make housing affordable. But the name is wrong.

    What group does this affect the most?
    What group have been considered far less than any other?
    How about the Youth Advocacy Party?
    Most current day politics centres around the ageing population and favours genx and boomers interests at the expense of …..our kids.

    It’s about time our youth were thought of far more.

    Instead of flooding our nation with people to put downward pressure on wages and stifle opportunities for our kids, stop immigration, in so doing lower house prices, increase job prospects for our kids not those from another nation that import wealth here just to drive up property prices.

    The housing affordability party name is too simple and only focussed on one issue.

    By renaming it to the Youth Advocacy Party, you nail housing affordability, immigration, jobs…everything that is sending our children to the back of the queue right now.

  12. I agree with comments about the name. It needs to project to a wider audience than “affordable housing” as this term has been hijacked already by established parties, both major and minor. How about…
    The Australian Housing Party. AHP for short.
    This shorter name could appeal to the concerns of the 1/3 of the electorate that are renting, many/most of whom believe they will always be renting. Rental reform is crucial to reforming the housing sector. Ditto reform of state planning policies and the provision of infrastructure. All dovetail into the overall “Housing” portfolio.
    AHP: The Australian Housing Party

  13. Terror Australis

    AHP screwed the pooch this year.
    I registered as a member and helped their social media efforts on the understanding that they would field candidates at the 2016 Federal election. Despite having PLENTY of forewarning that an election date was on the way, for some reason they submitted their election registration papers at the eleventh hour and missed out on getting on the Senate ballots.

    That was a monumental piece of incompetence given that the Double Dissolution represented a UNIQUE and probably not to be repeated chance to get elected on the lower DD threshholds.

    I will vote for them and wish them well but this year’s stuff up was extremely disappointing.

    • DDs come and go, albeit rarely. The substantive change for this and all subsequent elections is the Senate voting rules. The effect was muted by 2016 being a DD (imagine the swing to minor parties if it had only been half-Senate!) but given that most elections are half-Senate, the majors know this (Malcolm T was fearless in calling the DD) and have gamed the system for their duopolistic benefit.

  14. Jumping jack flash

    “… all these things combined are fuelling a dangerous property investment bubble that will send hundreds of thousands of Australians broke when it finally bursts.”

    Lol. I don’t think this is going to happen, at least not in my lifetime.
    And even if it did, the fallout would be disastrous. I don’t wish it to happen even though I will never be able to afford to buy a house.

    Our economy is an inflating debt bubble secured against house prices.

  15. How about “Housing Australian’s Party”
    I agree that the term ‘Affordable Housing’ is now badly tarnished, and should not be used.

  16. Gee folks. Someone is trying here on a very problematic issue. Suggestions, yes – but negativity, no.

  17. Housing Reform Party is great name, my 2c.
    You won’t be hearing the RE lobby using that term, sounds too much like making changes.. as others have said, they have hijacked the term “affordable”.
    Having negative gearing, capital gains tax and overseas investors mentioned in your manifesto makes it 99%, no, 100% there.

    Keep up the good work.

    I’m a member already, and by evidence of the last election I was on the electoral role, so I’m sure I’m not one of the slouchers.