How our Public Housing system is creating Australia’s Public Housing Crisis.

Public housing was never meant to be seen as being a life style choice.

Yet unfortunately for far too many, that’s exactly what it’s become.

Many politicians and welfare groups consistently claim that Australian’s in need are experiencing a public housing crisis.

To further bolster this claim, every year at Christmas time there are ads on TV from welfare groups showing families living in cars complete with the said children of these car dwellers asking their parents the question “will Santa be able to find us this year”, as they sit in the middle of a car park.

At first these ads made me cry.

This is, of course, exactly what they’re designed to do.

Then I moved into a suburb that’s mostly filled with public housing or housing commission homes as we call them in Australia.

The neighbors to the right of me are a couple who have been living in their housing commission home for over 30 years.

No doubt they qualified for their 3 bedroom home when their now adult children were much younger.

However, for the last 15 years or so, it’s just been the two of them living there.

They have two brand new cars, one a 4 wheel drive, the other a shiny silver dual cab Ute.

As well as having these luxury vehicles, they also have a huge recreational fishing boat with all of the latest mod cons, which they take out and about with them almost every weekend.

Despite owning all of these things, plus one of the largest wall mounted plasma TV screens I’ve ever seen, their house looks desperately rundown and un-cared for.

It looks this way because they simply put no effort what so ever into making it look nice.

There’s no garden at all and their backyard consists of a consecutive line of shabby and incredibly ugly makeshift sheds.

They are loud and bossy people who insist on getting everything that they possibly can for free.

Even though they are both in full-time employment.

Opposite my house, there’s an 18-year-old girl living in a housing commission home that’s actually supposed to be her mothers’.

Her mother does not live there and has not done so for several years.

Undoubtedly the mother applied for and received her housing commission home many years ago, when her children were small.

Her children are also all adults now and she too works full-time.

Yet rather than being honest and telling the housing commission that she no longer needs the home and has indeed moved out, she’s simply passed it down to her daughter.

As if it were some kind of hard earned family heirloom.

The daughter would never legitimately qualify for a 3 bedroom housing commission home at all today.

Never the less, there she sits, living in a 3 bedroom tax payer funded home all on her own.

At the same time as all of this misuse and abuse of government housing is going on all around me I’m being bombarded with ads showing families who are in such desperate need of accommodation in Australia that they’re forced to live in their cars.

Is it just me or can anybody else see something terribly wrong with the new version of a desperate crisis in public housing that’s being portrayed, whilst such wanton abuse of the system is being so openly displayed?

Just to make it clear, here’s yet another example.

The older woman behind my home, is also living in a 3 bedroom tax payer funded housing commission home all on her own.

Last year, whilst I paid to have a new fence built between us because her dogs kept pulling the palings off the old fence, she contributed absolutely nothing toward the cost of the fence, then turned around and demanded that she be given half of the old palings for her wood heater.

The fact that I have a wood heater too and that I’m the one who paid for the new fence to be built because her dogs destroyed the previous one,  barely seemed to register with her.

She’d become so used to getting everything for free that she was no longer even able to recognize how abominable her own behavior towards those around her had become.

Yet this same woman also works full-time as a teacher’s aide and was, in fact, one of my son’s aides whilst he was in high school.

So she knows exactly what my son’s conditions are and that I am his full-time carer.

Which means I live on a minimal income.

Yet even knowing all of this she displayed a remarkable lack of compassion toward our situation and remained steadfastly interested only in latching on to whatever she believed she was “rightfully” entitled too for free.

I.E. half the palings off a fence she didn’t even own, had never paid a single cent for and had to be replaced, at no cost to her, due to her lack of regard towards it’s upkeep.

This inability to take responsibility for her own neglect of the property, along with her expectation that someone else will carry the burden of fixing it for her for free is a common theme.

The key understanding that seems to be missing among all of my neighbors is the fact that living in public housing doesn’t absolve them of all responsibility for the property for ever and a day.

Access to public housing is not a “right” that they earned once a long time ago and therefore never have to give up.

Nor is it a home that once loaned to them somehow automatically converts into being an “entitlement” that is owed to them.

Hence they never view themselves as being required to try and improve the value of the property as this is a task that they feel the  housing commission should do for them.

This is also often a point that most media commentators get entirely wrong when it comes to the housing crisis debate.

The media often portray young families as being the destroyers of a public homes value, rather than seeing them as the potential builders of it’s value.

Young families are the ones who are doing public houses up, to improve them so that they’ll be safer, cleaner places for their children to live in.

They’re not the ones leaving the houses to literally rot around them simply because they’ve become so ingrained with the  idea that they’re “entitled” to a hand out for anything and everything to do with public housing the way older housing tenants are.

It’s not young people and young families who are abusing the welfare system and treating public housing as if it’s something  they’re automatically “entitled” to.

It’s those people who are over forty, whose children have grown up and moved out and who are in full-time, paid employment that are abusing the system.

They are the people who need to be moved on and made to face up to the realities of trying to live life in the public rental market.

They are the ones who have full-time jobs and no children to look after.

They have cars, boats, furniture, and clothes.

It’s not like they’re being asked to start all over again from scratch.

They’ve had the benefit of being supported for years and years by tax payer funded housing.

Young people view public housing as  a short term welcome reprieve from their existing circumstances.

They do not view remaining in public housing as a life long, over all goal.

They recognize and appreciate the gift of  tax payer funded housing support.

So my question is why aren’t older, working housing commission tenants  being moved on to make room for young families in need?

Why are people who no longer have children to bring up and who are working full-time being enabled via our current public housing system to continue living in housing commission homes long after their years of need have passed?

Aren’t they now guilty of taking up the very homes that were meant to have been set aside for those who are currently the most in need in our society?

If so, why is it that those who run the housing commission aren’t doing something about moving these people on so that young families, the ones whom we are told are currently homeless and living in their cars, can experience the same safety net benefits that once helped people such as my neighbors all those years ago to get by?

By letting this practice of long-lived and unchecked occupation of housing commission houses continue unabated, the housing commission system itself has created the very breeding grounds for the abuse of tax payer funded homes.

It’s the systems inability to monitor its own machinations that has created the sense of “entitlement” that many of my older neighbors feel and which continues to allow them to believe that they have the “right” to live their lives in public housing if they so choose.

It has completely blinded them to the point that being able to access public housing is neither a right nor an entitlement.

It’s supposed to be a form of support for those who need it the  most.

Under this  once valid understanding of the purpose of public housing, none of my neighbors would qualify for public housing today.

A single, fit and healthy, 18 year old teenager with no children to support and a mother with her own home else where, has no right being placed in public housing before a family that’s living on the streets.

All it would take for the public housing system to right itself again would be for the housing commission to put in place a mandatory five-year re-evaluation period for every tenant to weed out the genuinely needy from the compulsively “entitled” greedy.

This seems like such a logical solution to me yet all we hear about on the news are the governments on going proposals to build more and more housing commission homes and apartment blocks to cater for the so-called growing need for public housing.

Yet there would be less of a “growing need” if they simply turfed out all of those who no longer genuinely require public housing.

So why aren’t they trying this approach instead?

Is it simply because any government of the day is so scared of losing votes that it dares not open up the flood gates of reason?

Whatever the rational for their inconsistency, one simple fact remains and that is that due to the governments continued desire to placate the “poor” they themselves have created a generation of older Aussies who feel entitled to take and take and take some more.

And all because no one ever said “no, you’ve had more than you’re fair share of support, it’s time to give someone else a go” to them.

Well I’ll say it.

All of you who are over forty and living in housing commission homes whilst working and earning a decent enough income to have new cars, boats, motorbikes, holidays abroad or whatever else your little heart’s desire, it’s time to get your snouts out of the public trough and give young families the same fair go you got when you were first starting out.

If you all did the right thing, there simply wouldn’t be a public housing crisis.

So come on older Australian’s.

Fair go.

You’re better than this.

Public housing was never meant to be seen as being a valid life style choice.

So wake up and stop being so darn selfish.

Utopia…. Australia’s Shame

Utopia is a documentary that successfully  strips back the layers of disgrace that have, for far too long, been applied by successive governments within Australia, to both oppress and dispossess native aboriginals, not just of their land, but of their  very culture.

John Pilger’s documentary shows just how this malevolent practice of dispossession is taking place today.

Here are just some of the topics covered in the broadly sweeping documentary.

Many Australian’s are familiar with the acts of atrocity committed by governments against Aboriginal women, children and families that are now collectively known as the”Stolen Generation”.

For those of you who are not familiar with the language of the “Stolen Generation”, this was a time in which government policy insisted on the enforced removal of aboriginal babies and children from their families.

Those babies and children were then placed in government-run “institutions” and either adopted out to white families or trained in the fine are of becoming house slaves.

The idea being to eventually breed the “black” out of not just Aboriginal beings but also to bread within those stolen children an indelible ignorance of their true culture and it’s ways.

Eventually the Australian Government, under Kevin Rudd said “Sorry” whilst at the same time saying…. there will be no compensation paid to those who suffered either the indignities of having been stolen or  of being stolen from.

It also covers the racist intervention campaign that took sway against Aboriginal Communities in the 90’s during which Aboriginal men were labelled pedophiles, drunks, wife basher’s and on the whole were portrayed by both the government and the media of the time, as being nothing short of the blackest most evil villains to ever walk the earth.

Decades later the truth of the whole affair slowly emerged.

Aboriginal men, it would seem, were not the villains after all. The Australian government and it’s shameful attempt at yet another land grab of sacred Aboriginal lands, were the villains.

The outback, the red center, and many of the arid dry lands in which remote Aboriginal communities were banished too, are now known to be full of valuable minerals.

Minerals that mining companies would, and quite possibly already have, kill for.

But unlike the native Indigenous people’s of other nations, Australia’s Aboriginals have never signed a “treaty”, this means, they have never signed away their land.

Rather their land was invaded and  then stolen from them.

Australian Aboriginals are now the most highly persecuted Indigenous people in the world according to UNICEF.

They live in the most unsafe and unsanitary conditions imaginable.

Yet nothing is being done by the Australian government, even in this new millennium, to either acknowledge or address this issue.

Utopia in short, is a must see documentary for anyone who has a passion or interest in issues surrounding social injustice, displacement, or the oppression of native people’s.

It is a documentary that should be shown in every Australian classroom across the land.

Ignorance should no longer  be used as the  excuse for the many injustices perpetrated against Australia’s Aboriginals.

Perhaps then both the truth and the tragedy  that Aboriginal women are still having their babies and children taken off them, today, in this current age, will sink in.