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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Homelessness in Canberra

Canberra is Australia’s capital.

It has the highest average wage in Australia because many of its residents work for the Federal Government and unemployment is low at 3.8 percent. 

While it has the lowest level of homelessness (along with NSW and Victoria), every night in the capital city there are about 1500 people who are homeless.

Three quarters are under 35. Almost 300 are under 12. 

It is a disgrace that we have 100,00 people homeless every night in Australia and 1500 in Canberra. Here is a message from a friend of mine about this. 


Homelessness is a measure of Australia as a civilised society. That we are not is a matter of national shame.

Homelessness is a measure of our concern for each other. That we do not diminishes us all.

We are dishonouring those who gave their lives to protect Australia and promote a fair and decent society.

To have families sleeping in cars, to have, in the case of Canberra, 20 per cent of our homeless under the age of 12, is a matter of outrage.

There are empty schools across Canberra. They have roofs, rooms, electricity, cooking facilities, and toilets. Partitioning of classrooms to accommodate families would be simple and inexpensive.

Regardless, we cannot in all good conscience leave people outside at night and must look for immediate solutions.


The Canberra Greens argue for more public housing. That is one solution but won’t be good enough in the short term or even, given the Government’s current plans, in the long term.

We’d need a complete turn around in approach from Canberra Labor to ensure there is enough money to build public housing and emergency accommodation for 1500 people.

The Rudd Labor Government is giving the big polluters $12 billion for free under its emissions trading scheme. Instead of doing that why not use the money to address major social issues like homelessness, aboriginal disadvantage and creating employment through green jobs?

It won’t happen, because Labor, in Canberra and across Australia, is about market based ‘solutions’.

As Canberra’s 1500 homeless show, the market is a failure in meeting that most basic of human needs – a home.

The Minister has claimed that Canberra looks after its homeless better than other states and territories. That’s true. 40 percent find emergency accommodation. What about the other 60 percent, Minister?

And emergency accommodation is not a home.

The Canberra residential rental market is tight, with a very low vacancy rate and high rents. This automatically excludes many people from regular accommodation.

Rising unemployment in Canberra will see more people looking for housing as they lose jobs and can’t pay the rent or the mortgage.

My friend’s suggestion about empty schools is worth considering. Labor closed 23 of them in 2006 and they sit, mostly unused, as community centres. Developers look at the sites greedily.

But there is something else that could be done. There are about 5000 hotel and motel rooms in Canberra available every night.

Occupancy rates vary over time, but fluctuate around 70 percent. That means about 1500 hotel and motel rooms are vacant every night in Canberra.

Why not mandate those empty rooms for the homeless until they find permanent accommodation?



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