Friday, November 7, 2014

Some thoughts on mutual obligation

In an interesting follow-on from our recent discussion on underemployment and housing insecurity, The Monthly magazine has published an excellent article about Australia's contradictory approach to mutual obligation for welfare recipients. It's recommended reading on the Brown Couch - you can find the online version of the article at this link here. It's a long read, but it really is worth giving it some time over the weekend.

Much obliged

In a nutshell, the article explores our expectations of those who receive government assistance at each extreme of the welfare spectrum - individuals receiving some level of income support at one end, and multinational corporations structured for maximum (sanctioned) tax avoidance at the other.

Somewhere along that spectrum - towards the end where tax avoidance happens - we might also add landlords. Landlords who lost nearly $1.2billion in a single year, as part of their tax avoidance strategies. Landlords who have been wearing these losses in exchange for eye-watering capital gains. Landlords who will tell you that they'll stop investing in housing if you even hint at making life a little bit better for tenants...

The social responsibility that comes with being a landlord is something we've occasionally talked about here on the Brown Couch. We think it's far too easily overlooked. It's worth keeping that in mind, as you're scrolling through The Monthly's article this weekend.

Go on - give it a read.

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