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Wednesday, 24 September 2008
Page: 5452


Senator BOB BROWN (Leader of the Australian Greens) (11:01 AM) —Firstly, on the business of appropriateness, this is the right time for the amendments by Senator Ludlam. It is absolutely appropriate that this be moved at this time. Senator Ludlam has moved a social equity amendment. It simply means that, if it were to pass, there will be more money available for poorer people in Australia to be housed. The cap of $5,000 enhances the argument that Senator Ludlam is putting—that money is not going to make a big difference to rich people but putting it into housing for poorer people is going to mean a great deal indeed.

As far as Senator Bernardi’s assertion is concerned—that we want to stimulate people to save more money—let us have a bill to stimulate people to save more money. This is legislation to get more Australians into housing in a country which has 100,000 people without roofs over their heads, including very distressed families with young children. The social equity component of this is very important. Senator Ludlam is moving a means test which would simply mean that there would be more of this money going to people who are in dire straits, who want to have their own homes but cannot afford them.

As far as the tax office is concerned, having difficulty with the administration of compliance, well goodness gracious! This is the age of computers. They are tracking much more complicated pieces of legislation than this. They are not all sitting there with rooms full of manila folders and pencils. I do not accept that argument in view of the important social equity component of this very worthy amendment which Senator Ludlam has before the Senate.