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Viv Forbes, “Government committee a sick joke,” The Australian Financial Review, January 3, 1986, p. 9, as a letter to the editor. A similar version appeared as Viv Forbes, “The sick joke of the year,” The Weekend Australian, February 15-16, 1986, p. 14, as a letter to the editor.

SIR, For the Government to set up a committee to plan the “Year of the Homeless” is surely a sick joke, (AFR, December 18). Government committees have probably created more homeless people in Australia than Cyclone Tracy and the Brisbane flood combined.

The problem starts at the land development stage, where the maze of regulations and the ponderous decision making process delays most developments for up to three years. For many projects, it can take longer to complete the paperwork and get the approvals than to do the job.

Then, when approvals are obtained, they specify standards that an increasing number of homeless Australians cannot afford. Moreover, the insistence by government committees on minimum sizes for housing blocks has forced urban sprawl and increased the cost of water, roads, sewerage, power, transport and land for all home-owners.

Should the poor home buyer get to the building stage and need finance, he finds that well has run dry. If he had the time to investigate the reason, he would find that other committees of bureaucrats had already seized the funds to build billion dollar parliament houses, huge “cultural” centres or ivory towers overseas for recipients of foreign aid.

Should he be so lucky as to get his house plans and his finance approved, he then is forced to use only the high-cost builders and lawyers who are licensed by the government. If he passes this hurdle he still has to find thousands of dollars in stamp duties for which no recognisable service is received.

And it is no use for our homeless regulation refugees to seek to rent a home. There are battalions of bureaucrats ensuring that few rental properties reach the market. The unfortunate landlord is hit with a bevy of taxes, rates, fees and inspectors and is also forced to contend with an avalanche of hostile legislation designed to “assist tenants”. Since when are tenants helped by harassing landlords out of business?

The biggest single cause of homelessness in Australia is political. Appointing another government committee is like trying to cure a sick man by giving him a more powerful dose of the same poison which made him sick in the first place.

The homeless of Australia know that more laws, more regulations and more taxes do not build more houses — they build fewer. Apart from ensuring a fair field and no favours, the housing regulators should stick to politics and let the creators and the builders get on with the job of housing the homeless.

Tax Payers United,
Taringa, Queensland.

(in order of appearance on
  1. Lang Hancock's Five Point Plan to Cripple Australia
  2. Put Windmills in National Parks
  3. Magnifying National Disasters
  4. Please Don't Feed the Animals
  5. Buy Birdsville Made?
  6. The Economics of Flood Risk
  7. Touring Bureaucrats
  8. Our slip-shod laws to blame
  9. Why Wind Won't Work
  10. A Profusion of "Prices"
  11. R.I.P. Ron Kitching - pioneer, explorer, author, family man, entrepreneur, scholar
  12. The Carbon Pollution Lie
  13. Closing Down Australia
  14. The Anti-Industry
  15. The Pyramid Builders
  16. Carbon Tax Bribery
  17. Crown Monopolies
  18. Carbon Tax Job Losses
  19. What Next, a Tax on Water?
  20. Carbon Health Warnings Coming Soon
  21. Growth Mythology
  22. The Tax Collection Industry
  23. Propaganda Puts Paid to Proof
  24. The Milk of the Welfare Teat is Watered Down
  25. "Crops for Cars" as Bad as Everlasting Drought
  26. Poll speech sets record
  27. The Emissions Trading Casino
  28. The Contract Society
  29. A Model Ministry
  30. The Five Point Plan to kill the economy with High Cost Electricity
  31. Put a Sunset Clause in the Carbon Tax
  32. Stuck on Red
  33. Time to Butcher "Aussie Beef"
  34. Carbon Tax Lies and Bribes
  35. The Middle of the Road
  36. United against taxes
  37. Call for Govt administrator
  38. Property & Prosperity
  39. "The Science is Settled" BUT Durban Climate Summit Not Cancelled
  40. No End to Fuelish Policies?
  41. The Right to Discriminate
  42. Sell the CES
  43. Free Water Costs Too Dam Much
  44. Creating Unemployment
  45. Viv Forbes Wins 1986 Adam Smith Award
  46. 1985 news item on Tax Payers United, Centre 2000 and the Australian Adam Smith Club
  47. Having the numbers is not the same as having the truth
  48. Who's Who in the Workers Party
  49. David Russell Leads 1975 Workers Party Queensland Senate Team
  50. Caught in a welfare whirlpool
  51. Global Warming Season
  52. Mining in Queensland, Past, Present and Future
  54. Political branch formed
  55. Ron Manners on the Workers Party
  56. Viv Forbes on Libertarian Strategy and the Constant Resources Myth
  57. The New Brisbane Line?
  58. Carbon Lies
  59. We Mine to Live
  60. Save the taxpayer
  61. Solving Three Canberra Problems
  62. Vested Interests in the Climate Debate
  63. Carbon Tax Retrospective?
  64. Carbon Price Propaganda Taxes the Truth
  65. Don't Burn Food for Motor Spirit - Feed People not Cars
  66. Two Big Climate Taxes
  67. Greens Rediscover Hydrogen Car
  68. Atlas of Australia
  69. Shutting Out The Sun
  70. Safety Mania
  71. Coal - Sinking in the Swamps
  72. Hobbling the Competition
  73. Cubic Currency Coming
  74. "Dear Government"
  75. Viv Forbes mocks Flannery in 1988
  76. What we have is not a drug problem but a drug law problem
  77. Smoking, Health and Freedom
  78. Privatise Now! while they are still worth something
  79. The Electoral Act should allow voters to choose "none of the above"
  80. The New Federalism
  81. Sunset for Solar Subsidies
  82. The mouse will roar
  83. The Road to Homelessness
  84. Planning & Prosperity
  85. Viv Forbes and Jim Fryar vs Malcolm Fraser in 1979
  86. Quip, Quote, Rant and Rave: four of Viv Forbes' letters to the editor in The Australian in 1979
  87. Australia's First Official Political Party Poet Laureate: The Progress Party's Ken Hood in 1979
  88. Our homeless regulation refugees
  89. Beware the monster in the attic
  90. Progress Party and Workers Party lead The Australian
  91. Viv Forbes in 1978 on loss-making government, the Berlin Wall and misdirected blasts of hot-air
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(in order of appearance on
  1. The Road to Homelessness
  2. Our homeless regulation refugees
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