Housing affordability and the empty homes scandal

The inspiration to start writing (again) about housing affordability came from left field. I was sitting back enjoying an American roots band, The Brothers Comatose, at the Blue Mountains Music Festival in Katoomba. Lead singer and front man Ben Morrison introduced the band, saying they were from San Francisco but maybe not for long. “The price of houses is crazy there (man) and most of the musicians I know are moving out because they can’t…

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John Hewson and integrity in a post-truth world

Nobody can call out an errant politician better than former Liberal Opposition Leader John Hewson. In the 22 years since he resigned from politics, Hewson has become a respected academic, the darling of TV panel shows like Q&A, and a regular on the celebrity speakers’ circuit. Yesterday, Hewson was a keynote speaker at Griffith University’s two-day summit, Integrity20. Who better to address the opening topic “Post-Truth, Trust and the Ethics of Deceit?” Hewson has been…

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Homeless for a rainy night

For some, today is a reminder that anyone can become homeless, with various agencies (and reality TV) bringing this urgent issue to light. It also marks the end of the financial year, a kind of witching hour for those engaged in financial markets, investing in rental housing, or running Australia’s businesses, large and small. For seventy-nine intrepid souls, our charity sleep-out on Maroochydore beach was thwarted by early morning drizzle turning into heavier rain. Some…

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Homelessness and affordable housing

Last week I was walking from Roma Street Station to the top end of George Street, the hub of State Government. I was meeting friends for lunch and on the way passed a few apparently homeless young men on park benches, one tucked inside a doorway, others hovering around intersections, nervously smoking. One young person was sitting on the footpath with a cardboard sign that read “homeless – please help”. I was too preoccupied on…

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