Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

Exiled Liberal MP Moira Deeming has landed a blow against her former parliamentary colleagues from the crossbench, siding with the Andrews government to block a parliamentary inquiry that was set to scrutinise Victoria’s rental crisis.

The inquiry would have examined the factors driving high rents in Victoria, the options available to increase the supply and standard of long-term rentals and hand down key recommendations by the end of the year.

Victorian upper house MP Moira Deeming during her inaugural speech.Credit: Joe Armao

The final vote on the joint Greens and Coalition motion was 19 votes to 19, meaning it failed because a clear majority was not reached. Animal Justice MP Georgie Purcell and the two Legalise Cannabis MPs voted for the failed inquiry.

Deeming, Democratic Labor MP Adem Somyurek, Liberal Democrats MP David Limbrick and Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Jeff Bourman sided with Labor.

“You’re a disgrace,” someone from the public gallery shouted at MPs after the result of the vote was announced.

Asked if she was disappointed by the way Deeming voted, Liberal upper house leader Georgie Crozier said the government regularly did “deals” with the crossbench.

“So it’s up to those crossbench members to answer why they sided with the government,” she said.

During the debate, Deeming said politicians needed to stop wasting time researching questions they already knew the answers to.

“We need to be releasing more land and incentivise middle-class investment in the property market,” she said.

Greens MP Gabrielle de Vietri said the government had turned its back on renters.

“Rather than find the solutions to help them, this government has sided with the property industry and the right-wing crossbench to stall any meaningful reform,” she said.

Before Deeming was expelled from the Liberal parliamentary party room late last week, the Coalition – when voting as a bloc – only needed the Greens and three other crossbenchers to control the numbers in the Legislative Council.

Tuesday’s motion was savaged by the property industry and Labor before the vote, with Housing Minister Danny Pearson labelling it “dodgy”.

“If the Greens political party are serious about tackling the challenges around homelessness and housing, they need to get off their arse, get on the phone, call their mate in Canberra – Adam Bandt – and tell him to pass [Labor’s $10 billion housing] bill,” Pearson said.

He stressed that the Andrews government had delivered hundreds of reforms to strengthen renters’ rights since it came to power, including banning landlords from increasing rent more than once every 12 months and allowing renters to have pets.

Property Council boss Cath Evans said politicians did not need to spend time examining policies such as rental caps – a key platform for the Greens – when the problem was the lack of new residential housing stock.

“Inquiries into rent-capping pushed by the Greens will distract from the broader need to focus on cutting through planning to boost housing supply.”

About one third of Victorians were renters in the 2019-20 financial year, paying an average $388 per week on rent, according to the Bureau of Statistics.

Last month, it was confirmed Melbourne apartment rents soared 23.1 per cent over the previous 12 months, leaving tenants struggling to find and afford somewhere to live. Last week, The Age revealed staff at Monash University were being urged to offer rooms to international students due to the rental crisis.

It’s not the first time this year the Coalition and Greens have teamed up in the upper house. In February, the opposition and crossbench used their numbers to establish a fresh inquiry into the October floods.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in Politics

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article