Television Interview with Peter Stefanovic – Sky News – Friday 29 October 2021


SUBJECT/S: Economy; housing crisis; Morrison-Joyce Government to stop work on housing affordability; French President tells Scott Morrison he doesn’t trust him.
PETER STEFANOVIC, HOST: Let’s bring in the Shadow Minister of Housing now, Jason Clare, for his thoughts on a few matters. Let’s start with that one, Jason. Good news for our economy this morning. Good to see you, by the way.
STEFANOVIC: Good news for our economy that update that’s come from the Treasurer this morning.
CLARE: Look, anybody who doesn’t think the lockdowns have hurt our economy isn’t living in the real world. I know from what’s happened here in Western Sydney that the lockdowns have cost thousands of people their jobs, hundreds of people have lost their lives, and it just makes you think how much of this misery could have been avoided if we’d bought enough vaccines in the first place. If we had the same number of people who are vaccinated today vaccinated back in June, so much of what we’ve experienced over the last few months could have been avoided.

STEFANOVIC: Quite the bounce back though, when you’re talking about vaccinations. We are now among some of the highest in the world.
CLARE: I always thought that we would, you know. Aussies will line up to get the jab. They’ll do what they’re asked when they can. The problem is that for a long time, Aussies were desperate to get the jab and couldn’t even get it. You would expect that when half the country is locked down and then suddenly is released, that the economy will come back and that’s a good thing. But just last month, we still had 138,000 Aussies lose their job, about the same number stopped looking for work. So, there’s a lot of work still here to do. I wouldn’t want to see Josh Frydenberg doing victory laps about this. If he thinks that everything’s fixed, then come here to Bankstown and do a few laps of Bankstown and you’ll see people are still struggling, there’s still a long way to go to get my local community back on its feet.
STEFANOVIC: Sure, and there are issues to come. There’s problems with inflation that are present, and some might expect it’s going to get worse. You’ve got wage growth, which has been flat for so long, and housing affordability, which is in your realm. So, how do you balance the good with the bad?
CLARE: You’re right to point to housing affordability. Wages have been flat now for a long, long time and house prices are through the roof. We found out this week that house prices in the last 12 months have jumped by over 20 per cent. In some parts of the country, it’s even more. I’m jumping in the car and heading up to the Central Coast this morning. In some parts of the Central Coast, prices have jumped by 30, 40, 50 per cent or even more. And on top of that, rents are through the roof. For a lot of people who aren’t getting a pay rise, things are getting even tougher either to pay the rent or to try to get enough money to buy a house.
STEFANOVIC: And now we’re learning that some government research into affordable housing has stopped. But there’s no easy fix to this, is there? I mean, demand is demand when it comes to housing affordability.
CLARE: You’re right, there is no easy fix. Anybody that tells you they can snap their fingers and fix this isn’t telling you the full story. But the fact is, we’ve got a housing crisis right now in Australia. It’s harder to buy a house than ever before, it’s harder to rent than ever before, and there’s more homeless Aussies today than ever before. And yesterday, the government tabled a report with a recommendation that it stop doing research into ways to fix this, that it stop doing research into housing affordability. Now, in a week of some pretty extraordinary stuff, this is crazy. If the Government does nothing else today, they should make it pretty clear that they’re going to knock this stupid idea on its head. One of the things you don’t do when you’ve got a housing crisis is stop working on ideas to fix it. So, this report that says that its main housing body, NHFIC, shouldn’t do research into housing affordability, that’s just a crazy idea and the Government should rule it out today.
STEFANOVIC: Just a final one. The Prime Minister and the French President have had a conversation overnight. It had to happen at some point, but there’s going to be a little bit of wrangling moving forward, a make-right, if you will. And now they have said overnight that they want us to cease consumption and production of coal at a national level and abroad as well. That’s not going to happen, is it?
CLARE: The simple fact here is that those decisions will be made by our trading partners, what they decide buy. But wouldn’t it have been great to be a fly on the wall for that conversation? The French President basically said to Scott Morrison, ‘I don’t trust you’. He said in that communique that Scott Morrison had ‘broken the relationship of trust’, and the same problem he’s got with the French President he has with a lot of the Australian people. We’ve been fighting about this issue of climate change now for a decade. The Liberal Party have been saying that it would destroy the economy and destroy people’s jobs and the Prime Minister has been one of the major architects of that, and then this week he suddenly does a 180 and says ‘Hey, we can do net zero by 2050 and guess what? We don’t have to do anything different to make it there’. It’s all a bit hard to believe and now Scott Morrison’s in the worst of all possible worlds. People on the right think that he’s a sell-out and people in the middle who want to take action on climate change, and that’s the majority of Australians, think he’s a conman. The same problem he’s got with the French President is the same problem he’s got here.
STEFANOVIC: But Labor doesn’t have a plan when it comes to those midterm targets or even the 2050 targets as well.

CLARE: Pete, this Government’s been in power now for almost a decade. It’s taken them all of this time to come up with a glossy document and now you say, ‘oh, what’s Labor’s plan?’. First, I want to see the economic modelling. We don’t even see the economic modelling that underpins the glossy document. So, show us that, let’s see what comes out of the Glasgow conference and then Labor will set out its plan to get to net zero by 2050.
STEFANOVIC: How those sleepless nights going?
CLARE: Look, the best reason not to be able to sleep at night is to have a gorgeous little baby boy and he’s packing on the beef. He got his first vaccinations yesterday, mate, and hit the scales at five and a half kilos. A little miracle.
STEFANOVIC: Wow. Okay, he’s putting on the kilos, all right. Well done.
CLARE: He’s doing all right.
STEFANOVIC: Jason Clare, good to chat. We’ll talk to you soon.