Australia’s housing system is broken, with people on the lowest incomes in severe housing stress and at risk of homelessness. Baptist Care Australia is part of Everybody’s Home, a campaign to call for a better, fairer housing system for all Australians.
We are advocating for five things the new government can do to fix Australia’s housing system so that it works for everyone.
- Support for first home buyers - Reset our tax system to make it fairer for ordinary Australians wanting to buy a home.
- A national housing strategy - More low-cost properties mean more choices, making it cheaper and easier to find a home. 500,000 new social and affordable rental homes are needed to meet the demand for affordable housing.
- A better deal for renters - Get rid of “no grounds” evictions and unfair rent rises so that millions of Australian renters have the security they need to create homes, build lives and raise families.
- Immediate relief for Australians in chronic rental stress - Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance for the thousands of Australians who are struggling to pay the rent.
- A plan to end homelessness by 2030 - With real effort, we can halve homelessness in five years - and end it in 10.
We particularly want to see action on those points that will help people on low incomes to access safe and secure housing. The reality is that the private rental market is just not up to the task.
So our campaign is especially focussing on the need for 500,000 new social and affordable rental homes to meet this demand, and a national strategy to reach this goal.
Do one thing…
Every action, no matter how small, helps to create a better for Australia. As you talk about the nation you want to live in, you help to create change.
On the Everybody’s Home website, you can sign up to receive campaign updates about our collective efforts to fix Australia’s broken housing system and solve homelessness forever. You can:
- Sign a petition to support specific fixes that will help create a home for everyone
- Find content to share on social media
- Sign up to receive further campaign information to follow the progress of this campaign to change our broken housing system.
Writing to your local federal member, a minister, shadow minister or even the local newspaper is an old campaign technique that still wields clout in the 21st Century. When an election is on the cards, these tried and true methods take on an importance they don’t normally enjoy.
- Find your correspondent and their contact information:
- Local member
- Federal Minister
- Minister responsible for housing
- Minsiter responsible for social security
- Minister responsible for domestic violence
- Minister responsible for aged care
- Shadow Minister
- Shadow Minister responsible for housing
- Shadow Minister responsible for social security
- Shadow Minister responsible for domestic violence
- Shadow Minister responsible for aged care
- Local newspaper
- Write and send your letter or email setting out how you’d like our housing system to change. You could include details about your personal experience of the issue, things you’ve seen in your community relating to the issue, and how you’d like your community to be different (you might like to read the advice from Parliament House about contacting members and senators).
- Tell us you’ve taken action!
It’s easy to call your local member’s office and ask for a meeting (you might like to read the advice from Parliament House about contacting members and senators). When there’s an election on the cards, local members are in their communities talking and listening to voters to understand what they care about. If you’re actively involved in helping to respond to the issue in your community, your voice is especially powerful, so don’t be afraid to share your experiences and ask for action!
- Find your local federal member by searching your postcode.
- Call or email your federal member’s electorate office in your local community and ask for a meeting. Include your home address so the office knows you’re a constituent, and also mention the specific topic or issues you’d like to discuss in the meeting.
- If you don’t receive a response, follow up a week after the initial call or email. Electorate offices are busy places and sometimes things do fall through the cracks.
- When you attend the meeting, dress and act respectfully, but there’s no need to be formal. Local members are used to interacting with members of the public and will generally accept you for who you are. They might not agree with you, but they will accept your right to raise it with them.
- During the meeting, thank your member for taking the time to meet with you, and give a verbal summary of how you’d like to see change in our housing system. You might like to print a copy of the summary document to take to the meeting to leave with your member for reference.
- After the meeting send an email thanking your member for his or her time, and following up any topics or questions raised in the meeting.
- Tell us you’ve taken action!
An election forum is a great way for your church or community group to hear from all your local candidates about the issues you think are important in the election. You might choose one or several of the topics in our federal election platform to raise with the candidates standing in your electorate.
- Organising an event is often easier if you have a small group to help. So a good start is to ask a few friends whether they’d like to help.
- Decide on a date, time and venue for your forum that will suit both the candidates and the members of your audience. It’s helpful to check what else is happening in your electorate to avoid clashes with other important events that your candidates or audience members
- Choose what topics you’d like candidates to speak about at the forum. A simple but effective approach is to frame questions on your topics for each candidate to answer at the forum.
- Invite all the candidates standing in your electorate to attend the forum to discuss the topics you’re interested in:
- Local member
- Other candidates – Liberal, ALP, Nationals MPs, Nationals candidates, Greens, One Nation, Katter’s Australia Party, Centre Alliance, Australian Conservatives
- There may be independent candidates standing also, and you might need to find contact information for their campaign office through an internet search or via the Australian Electoral Commission website.
It can be helpful to let candidates know the questions you’d like to ask in the forum, and whether you’ll be inviting the audience to also ask questions once you’ve addressed the main topics you’re interested in. If you’re not sure what questions you’d like to ask, some suggestions are below.
- Invite a suitable person to host the forum, ask the questions of your candidates and manage questions and discussion between candidates and the audience.
- Promote your election forum widely within your church or community group.
- Run your forum as planned.
- Afterwards, don’t forget to thank all your candidates for participating, and for the people who have helped you run the event.
- Tell us you’ve taken action!
Suggested forum questions:
- What plans do you have to improve the availability of affordable housing for people on low incomes?
- What can be done at the federal level to address increasingly high levels of homelessness in Australian communities?
- What are you planning to do about the anticipated shortfall of 500,000 social and affordable homes?
- Housing availability affects everyone across the spectrum of society. How are you going to make it easier for first home buyers to purchase their first home?
- Older single women are the fastest growing group of homeless people in Australia. How can we provide more safety and security for older single women?
- How can the federal government work more effectively with state and local governments to comprehensively tackle homelessness across the country?
- People on lower incomes are often at the mercy of a volatile private rental market. How might the federal government provide leadership to support the states to help renters have stable and secure housing?