A bitter stalemate over the government’s signature housing policy is no closer to a resolution after Anthony Albanese declared he won’t compromise to win over the Greens.
The Prime Minister aired his frustration over the impasse on radio on Wednesday morning and rejected claims he’s been unwilling to negotiate to land a deal.
“This has been one of their nonsenses … I talked to (Greens leader) Adam Bandt on the weekend, I talk to people in the Greens as do our ministers, with crossbenchers, right across the board there has been substantial conversations,” he told ABC’s RN Breakfast.
“What the Greens ask for though, isn’t to negotiate with us, it’s to negotiate with every state Premier and every Chief Minister about matters that are completely within the domain of state and territory governments and that’s something that can’t be can’t be done.”
Talks between Labor and the minor party on the Housing Australia Future Fund due to resume later this week but neither side is willing to budge.
The Greens have argued the $10bn fund, which would spend minimum $500m a year to build 30,000 social and affordable homes over five years, doesn’t go far enough.
It wants the government to spend upwards of $2.5bn a year to address the social housing shortfall and demanded the Prime Minister co-ordinate a nationwide freeze on rents, or caps, with the states.
Mr Albanese said the demands were impractical and declined to say he’d be willing to provide states with additional funding to implement a freeze when asked.
“States are doing their own work on support for rentals,” he said.
“I accept that we have a federation … we agreed at the last national cabinet meeting was that we have an agreement to progress, more co-ordination on renters rights but it won’t be the same in every state and territory.
“We can’t just abolish the federation in order to pass this legislation.”
The Prime Minister referenced a letter sent to him at the weekend in which the Greens wrote the impasse benefited them as they wanted to campaign on the issue.
“It’s a bizarre position which says you want people to be kept in poverty so that you can have a political campaign,” he said.
Both Labor and the Greens have made concessions on the Bill since it was first introduced.
In July, the government announced it would immediately inject $2bn in to social housing while the Greens halved its initial demand the government spend closer to $5bn to $2.5bn.
The legislation has been twice stalled in the Senate and on Wednesday, Housing Minister Julie Collins will reintroduce the Bill to the lower house in a bid to secure a double dissolution trigger.
Opposition housing spokesman Michael Sukkar took aim at the government, arguing that’s not how politics worked.
“Governments don’t get every single policy up that they would like,” he told the ABC.
“So, if you’re suggesting that the Senate should rubberstamp everything that a government takes forward, that’s an argument you should take up with the Senate, but that’s not how Australian politics has worked ever.”