Flat White

Property management, Greens-style

24 March 2017

1:01 PM

24 March 2017

1:01 PM

Now and again the world gets a real life opportunity to catch a glimpse what would happen if the inmates actually managed to take over the asylum. Unfortunately, these glimpses are gained at a high economic and social cost. Fortunately, a recent event in Brisbane has given us a relatively cost-free insight into what lies in wait for us, not down a dark alley but down a Green lane.

Greens Brisbane City Councillor, Jonathan Sri, who thinks that ‘colonisation’ and ‘holocaust’ are synonyms’ and hands out free marketing advice to local hotels, apparently moonlights as a real estate developer of sorts. Jo (as his friends call him) likes to ‘facilitate’, serial tenancy rotation through other people’s properties.  On March 23 The Courier-Mail revealed that Jo has helped to establish ‘about’ six squats throughout the Gabba Ward area.

It was a relief to discover that Jo himself had never actually broken into any buildings. Phew. He said:

I’ve never broken any locks. I’ve definitely trespassed on properties that weren’t locked up – I’ve done that a couple of times.

Thanks for clearing up the distinction. Jo continued:

I think the bigger crime is that these properties are sitting empty when people are homeless.

And here we get that all important insight into Green policy, thoughts and intentions. You see your property is only kinda yours. It’s yours in the sense that we’re allowing you to have it in social trust until we decide it can be used better, and we ALWAYS know better.

Take for example the suggestions from Richard Di Natale earlier this month. The Greens want to a better work-life balance for Australians like the way they’ve done it in Tasmania, where they have no work and no life so it’s all in perfect balance. Unfortunately, Australia doesn’t have an Australia to subsidise us like Tasmania has.

Now the Greens know how to make sure we all get it with…. drum roll…. you guessed it, a central planning edict from big government utopians! Like most Green announcements, it all seems compassion and love on the surface until you look at the green ink in more detail. The mechanisms that would aid with this wonderful work-life balance is a ‘Universal Basic Income’ and employees right to request flexible hours with the earnest being on employers to prove why they can’t have them (imagine the solicitor’s picnic with that one). Apparently, the tasks performed by people working too much now, would be taken up by people who are currently underemployed.


It’s a bit like watching the evil genius in the spy movie expound on his incredible plan for world domination that can somehow be unravelled by one man and a toothpick within five minutes.

The topic of Councillor Jo’s real estate hobby and Di Natale’s employment edicts are different, but betray the same underlying impulse of the authoritarian ideology. Namely, you and your property are not your own. Now you might think it’s drawing a long bow to read so much into Jo’s work, however, the story is further enlarged by the Courier Mail’s online edition. There, Jo kindly explores further his philosophy on private property:

There was one old flat that we went into but we never went into newer apartments. With the intercom security, you can’t get into them easily.

Gee, how mean of the owners! Jo leads us further into the inner sanctum of Greens thinking:

I’m calling for a citywide audit of long-term empty dwellings, whether they’re apartments, houses or even commercial properties that could be refurbished as emergency accommodation for people on low incomes.

And if any should try to spin this and suggest that Jo’s only talking about government housing, he really lets the cat out of the bag. Another solution Jo’s suggesting is ‘vacancy taxes’ to ‘encourage’ investors not to leave homes empty as they waited for the value to rise.

A moment of reflection will show what lovely directions this type of ideology could take you. If an unused rental property is up for grabs, then what’s the next step?

Oh, got a spare room in your house? How selfish of you. Don’t you know there are needy people out there?

You’ve got two cars and you only use one per day? Tsk tsk.

Lots of space in your back yard I see. Plenty of room for tents or other temporary accommodation.

You don’t use your kitchen during the day while you’re at work, hmmm…

Let your imagination run free (Greens style) with the possibilities that will abound when private property is an old textbook discussion point. The guise will be social good and opposers will be cast as the villains in the great social drama. Selfish haters who won’t comply will have online campaigns run against them. If that doesn’t work then they can set up protests outside their homes or places of work and punch people as they walk in because they’re ‘fascists’ and we all know that it’s OK to hit fascists right? Key terms they could use are equality’, ‘fairness’, ‘inclusivity’, ‘social responsibility’, ‘corporate citizenship’, and ‘compassion’. The list goes on. You may have seen this type of thing already when authoritarians want to ‘encourage’ you to do what they want. It’s the same type of ‘encouragement’ kidnappers use when they force people into their basement.

And while we’re on the issue of selfishly hoarding resources, what about those evil national borders we have? Just how selfish is that! When we’ve got so much land and there are so many people on earth who want land. Just think about how we could become an uber compassionate global citizen, totally full of equality.

Councillor Jonathan Sri has given us a wonderful opportunity to see what Greens policy implementation would cost us without having to actually pay for it. So I suppose we can say, “Thanks for the warning”.

Stephen Cable is a writer with LibertyWorks.

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