Greens can’t have it both ways over housing, says PM

Tess Ikonomou |

The Greens have been told they “can’t have it both ways” by blocking Labor’s $10 billion housing fund while opposing new developments.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese criticised Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather for his attacks on proposed new housing developments in Queensland’s capital. 

“One of the things that I find remarkable is at the same time as the Greens are blocking additional support for social housing, they’re also running petitions of their housing spokesperson to block … development of more housing supply in Brisbane, ” Mr Albanese told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“You can’t have it both ways.”

Mr Chandler-Mather, who holds the Brisbane seat of Griffith, has joined community residents to oppose proposals to build new apartment buildings, including the Bulimba Barracks site.

Launching a scathing rebuke of the prime minister, he said voters were fed up with “petty politics” and wanted the government to tackle the housing crisis rather than “launch into personal attacks and tirades”.

“You (Albanese) get up at a press conference and you attack me personally, rather than working out a way to use the wealth in this country to lift people out of poverty and get them into homes right now,” Mr Chandler-Mather said.

“That is frankly a disgrace.”

Labor’s Housing Australia Future Fund aims to build 30,000 social and affordable homes over five years, including 4000 dwellings for women and children experiencing domestic violence. 

The government’s efforts to bring on a vote for its signature election policy were defeated by the Greens and the coalition in the Senate last week. 

Asked about reports Labor was facing an internal push to limit negative gearing at the party’s national conference in August, Mr Albanese ruled out any changes. 

“The government’s position is very clear and it’s a position for which we received a mandate at the 2022 election and I’m someone who keeps the commitments that we made,” he said.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Labor was involved in an “internal wrangle” which amounted to a divide between the prime minister and Treasurer Jim Chalmers over tax breaks for housing.

“If you want your house price to go down, Jim Chalmers is working up the solution to kill off negative gearing, which will undermine investment,” Mr Dutton said.

“If you don’t have investment properties, renters don’t have accommodation to rent.” 

The 49th ALP national conference will be the first to be held face-to-face in five years.