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Deb Foskey in Public Housing Debate Gets More Exposure

By che - 7 June 2005 68

Crikey has this piece about the continuing debate on ACT Greens MLA Deb Foskey remaining in Public Housing.

Green Grinch gets the tabloid TV treatment
Hugo Kelly writes:

Canberra Greens MP Deb Foskey’s determination to bludge on ACT taxpayers and keep her public subsidised house has reached national tabloid TV, with Today Tonight following up Crikey’s story last night.
To her credit, Foskey did her best to explain why an MP on $100,000 should continue to live on public housing while on the other side of town, a single mum and her crippled son must live out of a car boot.
There are 4,000 people on the ACT public housing waiting list, but this doesn’t move Foskey, who’s intent on clinging to her taxpayer-subsidised home in comfy Yarralumla “because I support public housing.”
And it seems the ACT government’s Chifleyite desire to end the private rental market sits well with the selfish Green. Housing ACT gives priority to emergency housing – but exists to provide accomodation to anyone who would like it, including greedy MPs. Check out the unfolding debate here (

Meanwhile, Foskey has been on the radio speculating ( about how she’s going to spend her windfall pay increase: “Such a pay rise does enable me to support those organisations that I do like to support more generously and yes if this pay rise comes to me I’ll be certainly considering how I can spread it around a bit more equitably.”

Can we make a suggestion: get out of the public housing, take up a mortgage and let some more deserving citizen take your place. In the words of Naomi Robson ( “You can tell us what you think about a well-paid pollie occupying public housing on our website.”
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68 Responses to
Deb Foskey in Public Housing Debate Gets More Exposure
areaman 4:33 pm 07 Jun 05

But Thumper if all the poeople paying rent move out you’ll reduce housing ACTs budget and they’ll have to reduce the amount of houses they’ll have, so you won’t really solve the problem will you? That being said I think it was stupid to stay in public housing afer she was elected, not wrong in any sense, but not very clever politically. Given the tight rental market currently maybe she just couldn’t find anywere (or didn’t have time to go house hunting).

Maelinar 4:29 pm 07 Jun 05

Means Testing…

Thumper 4:26 pm 07 Jun 05


you don’t just kick people out of their homes. That is ridiculous.

However, people earning as much as Foskey should be looking at alternative accomodation, simply to free up the shortfall.

The irony of this case is soooo rich….

Evictor 4:26 pm 07 Jun 05

The bit about your family getting the house isn’t quite right. It doesn’t automatically happen however as a lease is constituted as ‘real property’ under the common law, it can be passed down in a Will. That is the position of the law – not an ACT Housing policy – they fought vigorously against it but lost in Supreme Court.

Feel a bit sorry for Foskey though. She’s earning a good packet now but what about in three years when she’s out on her ear. No cushy ‘jobs for the boys’ for her. She’ll be back to earning $40K in some community organisation and being on the bread line again. If she leaves her house she’ll be back on the waiting list as well and she could well be the one living out of her car boot.
I want to know when the ‘6 millionaires’ will be named and shamed.

areaman 4:14 pm 07 Jun 05

So you think we should be kicking people out of their homes when they start earning more?

Indi 4:13 pm 07 Jun 05

yeah areaman, but this govt would have you believe you could have one. the security of tenure policy sounds like a shameless vote grabbing exercise…

areaman 4:01 pm 07 Jun 05

Because Today Tonight is a bastion of Journalistic integrity. My understanding is that tenure doesn’t necessarily transfer to the family. If they are also living there it might, but you don’t get a government house just because your mum had one.

Indi 3:17 pm 07 Jun 05

Any given govt of the day (quite soon) will be faced with less market renters who subsidise the current system.

Without the big stick approach, surely there are ways to support people (over time) to move out of public housing that assisted them to allow for others to have the right (given that shelter falls under the basic human right) to access the service at the time when they need it the most.

No doubt now this will spark ‘what constitutes the real time of need’ debate! For some market renter tenants this means all their lives – who do you know living in private rental market or someone with a mortgage who has the luxury of tenure for life?

Ralph 3:16 pm 07 Jun 05

The Today Tonight story revealed that the ACT has a policy of allowing tenants to keep a public housing property for life – regardless of how their circumstances change. Additionally, when the occupant kicks the bucket, they can pass the public housing property over to family.

Apparently there are 6 millionaires living in ACT public housing properties.

areaman 3:04 pm 07 Jun 05

I doubt anyone who’s in public housing was “rich” when they got there, but the question is should people be kicked out if they do start earning a good wage? If they can be given the boot then you’re just making more poverty traps as people wouldn’t find work if it meant they’d loose the roof over their heads.

As to the waiting list, kicking out people paying market rent would mean that ACT housing would have less money and have to sell properties to maintain the rest and you’d have the same problem with no enough housing, just with a smaller pool of both houses and tenants (arguably worse than it is currently as the people paying market rent actually subsidise the rest).

Indi 2:53 pm 07 Jun 05

areaman – as opposed to someone waiting endlessly on the waiting list (who has next to no assets or a substantial income). Govt needs to find a more sustainable source of revenue than market renters who have the desirable position of maintaining a spot on the gravy train!

The govt must be loving this, a green who naturally would support the govt current policy that secures you a house for life.

Yet in a town full of bleeding hearts, both the greens/labour should be getting a roasting for not protecting the people in the poverty trap and sustain the perfect lifestyle for middle to higher income earners who have no conscience and believe social housing is their ‘right’.

che 2:36 pm 07 Jun 05

yeah, but that doesn’t make nearly as sensational a headline areaman

areaman 2:13 pm 07 Jun 05

Wouldn’t a policy of kicking people out of the house they have lived in for years if they earn more money a disincentive to work? If they’re paying market rent and subsidising the system for other people who actually can’t afford to pay then what’s the problem.

theonlyjames 2:09 pm 07 Jun 05

She responded to Crikey in their “Corrections, clarifications, comments & c*ck-ups” section on Monday.

I cannot find it on the Crikey site so here you go (please remove if this breaches some kind of copyright/RiotAct policy).

Canberra Greens MP Deb Foskey writes:
I read with interest Hugo Kelly’s comments about my housing situation. I do not remember Mr Kelly ever approaching me about this or any other matter. Linking it to the pay rise is a long shot – I first learned of this decision when I read my Canberra Times this morning. The Remuneration Tribunal makes a recommendation which is then adopted by the government without the Assembly playing any role. This is inappropriate. As for my housing, it is ACT government policy that tenants have security of tenure. Indeed, me leaving my house will do less for the needy people Mr Kelly probably has in mind than staying in it. Paradoxical I know, but the 13% of tenants who pay market rent contribute $19 million towards housing. Attacking me for paying market rent on my home a few months after election, and then linking it to a pay rise I do not support, is really an attack on the government’s policy of secure housing for all public housing tenants. At the moment my rent goes into building, purchasing and maintaining more homes for people who need them. Under the Liberals’ policy, it would go to a private landlord and do nothing for affordable housing. We need more public and other affordable housing – there is no other way we can tackle the problem.

Canberra_unsung_hero 2:02 pm 07 Jun 05

Hmmmmm …. looks like Foskey’s back on the ‘burner’ again, ha,ha.

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