Friday, November 02, 2007

"Public Housing not a Right" says Labor (!) Minister

Responding to the news that the Islamic Council has been caught placing cronies in community housing, rather than refugees, Housing Minister Matt Brown apparently ended an otherwise sensible press release detailing plans to stop the rort, with State Labor's new mantra:
"Social housing is a privilege not a right."*
Friday, 02 November, 2007
By Edwina Bartholomew
as relayed by National TSN (see below)
While the majority of voters in this country are desperate to see Howard and Co thrown out, comments like the above from the new generation of rightwing Labor careerists, who seem to be totally ignorant of Labor history, are not making it easy for Labor supporter to keep it together.
One effect of the long election year is that the ALP left are sitting on their hands, zipping their mouths, and barely holding back the torrent of reckoning that will come to this bunch of big-talking amateurs running the state, (who, DH is sure, are at this moment, quivering in their white shoes at the thought of the challenge from the handful of relics of the sixties who still hang on in their ineffectual branches)
Proving again why he is Public Houso No 1, Garry Mallard, PBIC (Pooh-bah in Chief) of the National Tenant Support Network comments:
Comment from Garry Mallard:

Yes folks, the Minister has uttered the magic sentence. Took longer than expected, sure, but there it is above, NSW Labor's official mantra for all social housing occasions - "Social housing is a privilege, not a right".
Carl Scully said it first, betraying the depth of his ignorance.
Jo Tripody followed Scully. He said it often and in that way that is peculiar to arrogant bullies.
Cherie Burton she said it too... but then, it is said she sought the assistance of an American television medium to contact her dead grandfather to see if he could recommend a good date for the Minister and her partner to marry (Daily Telegraph). Speaks volumes, doesn't it!
Now Matthew Brown has said it, and as the word spreads across NSW, our sector heaves a collective sigh that is shorthand for, "The honeymoon is over. Here we go again!"
The human right to housing is explicitly set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other international human rights treaties and Declarations.
The Human Right to Adequate Housing guarantees all people the right to live in security, peace and dignity. It involves more than the right to access to shelter and includes the following indivisible, interdependent and interrelated human rights:
  • The human right to adequate shelter.
  • The human right to an adequate standard of living.
  • The human right to access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
  • The human right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
  • The human right to a safe and healthy environment.
  • The human right of the child to an environment appropriate for physical and mental development.
  • The human right to access to resources, including energy for cooking, heating, and lighting.
  • The human right of access to basic services, schools, transportation and employment options.
  • The human right to affordability in housing so that other basic needs are not threatened or compromised.
  • The human right to freedom from discrimination in access to housing and related services based on sex, race, or any other status.
  • The human right to choose one's residence, to determine where and how to live and to freedom of movement.
  • The human right to freedom from arbitrary interference with one's privacy, family or home.
  • The human right to security, including legal security of tenure.
  • The human right to protection from forced evictions and the destruction or demolition of one's home including in situations of military occupation, international and civil armed conflict, establishment and construction of alien settlements, population transfer, and development projects.
  • The human right to equal protection of the law and judicial remedies for the redress of violations of the human right to adequate housing.
Oh well, maybe we'll do better next time....or the time after, or.....?
Garry Mallard
The National TSN
TSN Bulletins ©The National Tenant Support Network


Ian said...

Where is the alternative to Labor?

At a time when some are turning away from conservatism, the failure of the ALP underlines the foolhardy decision by the leadership of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) to liquidate itself and turn into an intellectual debating society.

Such a poor decision made in the early 1990s.

Especially when, for so many decades, the CPA, as an alternative organisation to Labor, had been supported by workers financially, morally and through sweat and tears.

Garry said...

I think it's most interesting that Labor bashes the Coalition, mercilessly, over its failure to endorse Kyoto, while Labor doesn't even endorse something as basic as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' statement on housing, in fact going so far as to reverse the Declaration's statement on housing, ridiculing it in the media when it suits its cynical political/electoral purposes to do so.

I'm always tempted to chat to the meeja, citing a few instances of social housing consumer "privilege" that I'm aware of. There's the woman who tiptoes up the stairs every night to go to bed. Not because she's conscious of the possibility her footfall echoes through a shared wall and could disturb her neighbours, but because she's frighted that if she doesn't tread softly she might go through the stairs that are riddled with white ants. A problem the Department has ignored for several years. One assumes that as "Housing NSW" it still knows about the problem. Or what about the family whose sewer backs up into the hall every time they flushed the toilet. Now that's the sort of privilege that's rely hard to quantify!


DH said...

I think it's important to push Labor over the line. It was the liberals who gutted the Commonwealth State Housing agreement and ripped out 3billion over their tenure. Labor has come up with some creative housing policies. The Libs have done nothing other than shove the blame back on the states. However we do need a full accounting from the ALP and the heads of the Dept of Housing. Exactly why is DOH so inefficient? Who is doing an internal efficiency audit of DOH, what are their methods, what are their findings, what are the problems and constraints, what are the opportunities, what are their remedies, where are the maintenance backlogs, can the public have access to these figures. If not, why not?