Dick Smith blames his generation for housing crisis, calls for reduced immigration in new book


9 August 2017
Robbie Patterson for The Manly Daily

MILLIONAIRE businessman Dick Smith has taken aim at his own generation, saying its greed has crippled young people’s ability to own their first home.

He launched a scathing attack on Australia’s politicians, accusing them of being too scared to make tax changes that would be unpopular with the generation already on the “homeownership gravy train”.

“These people may be aware that the system that has skewed the game so heavily in their favour is locking the next generation out,” he wrote in Dick Smith Fair Go released this week.

Dick Smith at his Terrey Hills home. Picture: David Swift.

“But, along with property developers, they want to hold on to their investment properties and milk younger Australians for all they’re worth.”

The former Australian of the Year’s manifesto calls on the Federal Government to reduce immigration and make changes to tax breaks such as negative gearing and capital gains laws.

He also argued for a land tax to replace stamp duty so that people with multiple houses pay a percentage of their land’s worth annually to even out the playing field.

In the book, Mr Smith points out that older Australians who had benefited from tax exemptions, made up 68 per cent of the electorate so politicians were unwilling to change tax laws.

“Why would a turkey vote for an early Christmas?” he wrote, citing that investment properties had risen on average about 70 per cent since 2012.

It follows the former retailer’s public support of controversial One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson last year, in which he described her zero-net immigration policy as “spot on”.

One Nation leader Senator Pauline Hanson’s policy has gained support from Dick Smith. Picture: Mick Tsikas.

Zero net immigration means Australia takes in only the same amount of immigrants that leave.

Yesterday, the 73-year-old from Terrey Hills highlighted population growth as the single biggest issue impacting housing affordability.

“Every Australian family has a population policy, they don’t have 20 kids, they have the number of children they can give a good life to,” he told the Manly Daily.

“But our politicians have no equivalent plan — you must have an appropriate plan. We need to bring immigration down to the long-term average which it was at in Paul Keating’s time as prime minister — about 70,000 people a year.”

He argues most of the — roughly 4000 — immigrants coming to Australia per week, were picked for high-level skills meaning they could immediately compete with Australian first-home buyers, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.

“Land and house prices depend on supply and demand. Australia’s housing supply clearly has difficulty keeping up with our breakneck population growth,” Mr Smith wrote.

Mr Smith denied that his sentiments were racist.

“The reason I wrote the book is to talk about what no one talks about,” he said.

Dick Smith published a 64-page book on housing affordability.

“If you mention population growth they say you are racist … it has nothing to do with racism, we need to live in balance. You can’t have endless population.”

He said the book was a warning to politicians that they will “destroy Australia” if they do not take heed.

“You need to get immigration down to that level so young people will be able to afford houses,” he said.

He added there would be 100 million people in Australia by the end of the century and 30 per cent of people will be unemployed if things don’t change.

In the book he also takes aim at “turbocharged bank lending”; overseas investors; and tax benefits as causing an “almost impossible-to-fix” situation of housing affordability.

Mr Smith pointed out that in just two generations, the price of a house had increased eightfold from 1.5 times the average annual income to 12 times the average annual income.

“A dramatically increasing population, a tax regime that unfairly subsidises the wealthy and overseas investors are the key drivers of the crisis,” the book, says.

The book can be downloaded for free at: dicksmithfairgo.com.au

Read the original article HERE.

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25 Comments

  • Politicians are the same as every other human being on the planet called earth. They are driven by selfishness and greed. Ausaid and any other government departments that get paid by aussie taxpayer, to give away other peoples money should be closed. Imagine having to borrow money, then someone wants you to borrow more so they can have some. I cant afford to send money overseas nor do I want to. This should be left to the individual and they can donate as much as they like.

  • I am a lady in my late 70’s and would like to leave Australia the way i remembered growing up. I remember having parks and backyards to play in. I would dearly love to leave Australia not being surrounded by high-rise unit building. I wish you all the best in your endeavours.

  • Well done Dick Smith. Finally someone has the courage to speak up about the insane policy of never ending growth within the boundaries of a finite planet. Our society and environment are both spiralling out of control.
    Our political leaders are failing to act on climate change, the most critical and challenging issue mankind has ever faced. We are fast running out of time to break free of our fossil fuel addiction and transition to an era of clean renewable energy if we want our civilisation to survive. We need strong leadership in these dark times to facilitate this transition and our Federal government is failing dismally.
    I see the media is hysterically screaming racism to your proposal of reducing immigration. The proposal you have put forward has nothing to do with people’s ethnicity and everything to do with a sustainable population. You only have to look at places like India to realize that increasing the population exponentially only leads to millions of people being forced to live in poverty, despair and misery. Humanity needs to understand this concept and we need more courageous people like you to stand up and be counted.
    Humanity is at a crossroads where thoughtful people everywhere are realising that our current economic model is doomed to failure and will only lead to the dire consequences you predict. Bring on the New Age of living gently in our beautiful world rather than plundering the only earth we have as we barrel blindly towards our own oblivion.

    • India as an example is groaning under 1.3B growing at an exponential rate! …..and they’re all scrambling to get over here, the US and UK. That is the problem. Had they controlled that like Singapore did, despite do-gooder world criticism, they would be in better shape at 400M.

  • I just read your fantastic book on Housing Affordability with great facts & charts.

    I have 4 adult children who can’t afford to live in Sydney due to the high demand from immigration and investors with tax breaks. Is it fair that we subsidise investors with multiple properties when our children can’t even afford a home to live in.

    Congestion is the other major issue from high immigration. We all cram into Sydney & Melbourne with no plans from government to decentralise or house the extra population.

    The Federal Government could easily reduce demand from immigration and investors; improve housing affordability and the budget all in one go. They do nothing but argue over marriage equality & their citizenship.

    Thank you so much Dick for bringing this up with concrete facts. You have a lot of support

  • I agree with all intelligent comments above and support Dick Smith with this crusade. We know and understand that those belonging to that famous 1% won’t be very happy and it is because they are so greedy that cannot see the impact these policies and lack of good policies are creating around the majority. If the resources are distributed more reasonably, we would have a better world and all individuals in our society would be more happy and there would be less problems or no problems at all. Greediness is dominating all corners of this wonderful planet and it will be the main cause of destruction. Words of Wisdom as shared by our brothers Native Americans:
    “When the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught, the last river poisoned, only then will we realize that one cannot eat money.”

  • It beggars belief how the so-called professional politicians remain blind to this issue; looks like there is too much sand in Canberra with too many heads stuck in it. This is why parties like One Nation get votes because, despite their obvious lackings in many areas, they are the only ones who listen to real people and not just pressure groups, professional lobbyists, etc.

    This is not a matter of Left Vs Right, or Rich Vs Poor, or Educated Vs Unskilled; its pure numbers and the numbers of people on the planet as a whole are too large. So, we can either deal with this in an ordered, thought out manner, or let war, famine, and disease do the job for us.

    How do we deal with it:

    1 – no foreign aid to any nation that does not have a human population program
    2 – bring immigration down to ZERO until our infrastructure is brought up to scratch
    3 – education
    4 – political pressure

    Its no point taxing people out of having children, because its the children who will suffer and they didn’t decide to be born. Its up to us, the people, to demand our so-called representatives represent us and so I implore all readers of this, irrespective of their political leanings, to demand action from their local representatives at all level of government. If you found this web site, you can find the email address of your local MP!

  • I have always known that excessive immigration has been a problem to our country.Eg. the welfare system. the health system is paying for thousands of immigrants that have not contributed to the economy of the country and the cost to each citizen has been spread far too thinly, eg taking more money from pensioners and low-income earners to pay the burden of excessive immigration.eg …outcome–poverty… Why do we allow people to pay no tax at all. Primary income should always be taxed and if you want a second source of income, the second business should not be offset against the primary income to reduce tax…outcome …lower tax receipts for the Government.
    Our country has been sold off to foreign investment. only Australian citizens should be allowed to own property.
    ..outcome …higher housing prices for young people…

  • Yes i totally agree with you all.It is just that everywhere i look there are more ISLANDERS ,KIWIS around that are taking up everything they can,JOBS FOR US,AUSTRALIANS, health care HOUSING,NEED I GO ON. I am NOT a racist but it is about time we AUSTRALIANS looked out for AUSTRALIANS FIRST. I just had my eyes opened again when i went to centrelink to fix some paperwork and i was so bloody angry at what i saw,it is not pick the immigrants any more,it is pick the AUSSIE.
    It used to be ASIANS that we were worried about,they are still taking over everything WE NEED. But the problem is more than that, we need to stop immigration now,full stop.Why is it that now instead of flyers,information leaflets stating you must be AN AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN to apply, they now also say you MUST be a New Zealander as well.I didn’t know we were new zealanders now,when did that happen,where will it all end.
    There is a lot of problems happening in Australia that are not our doing and we need to do something about it all. Pauline Hansons one nation has been very quiet lately,i wonder why.
    We need people with a BACKBONE to run this country,any suggestions?Keep on going Dick ,you are one of a rare breed.

  • What Dick says is common sense and many of us have had this view for a long, long time.

    It’s just not Australia but much of the world. But it’s just not people who will suffer. Imagine being a tree, river or wild animal in this world? People have become the cane toads of our world. Sad but true.

    • It’s sobering when you think of the resources needed to provide a decent existence for a human being. The person must be provided with food, clothing, shelter, education and medical services. But that’s just the elementary needs of the human being. We all have hopes, dreams and aspirations that we expect to realise too. That’s a lot of pressure placed on a society. And then, of course, we make waste – lot’s of it.

      • To “People are Cane Toads”: I think we are much worse than cane toads, as the human species is the most destructive, cruel and perverted life form on this planet. Earth is the ONLY planet with an abundance of life, yet we create extinction, and other horrific and cruel events to each other & every other living entity on this planet. We poison our air & water & cause massive destruction to mother Earth so that Homo sapiens, the insane species, can exist in an unnatural environment.

  • I am a Geography teacher and also make Geography video programs (Pro Doco/Kanopy) looking at environments and the effects of people, as Dick Smith did some years ago in “Population Puzzle.” My students wonder why the term “sustainable development” does not seem to enter the population discussion as they study the World’s most rapid population growth, highest housing prices and increasing congestion in Australian capital cities. They do see why a billionaire apartment developer openly says that we should have 100 million people(to make more money from sales) and therefore supports high levels of immigration. Dick and others including myself know this is unsustainable as would the projected 36 million plus by 2050 on current trends . Geography students know much of Australia is arid and there is rising youth unemployment and casualisation of jobs yet the politicians have no plan for sustainable population growth to stop the pressure on infrastructure, jobs, housing,the environment and society. Clearly they see every migrant as a taxpayer, and if they are young, no pension to pay. Never mind the resulting issues including lack of classrooms, hospital beds, parking spaces, traffic congestion.

    • 100% correct! Even intelligent Indian Dr Sam Pitroda understands this. Simple common sense. Australia is 85% blazing desert. Send the 100M migrants to live there (greedy apartment builders take note)

  • I am 49yrs old married with 3 children .I want to be able to help in any way possible. i feel the country is heading into a train wreck.It makes me sick to the core that as i am writing this these bastards in charge and labour and the greens are being paid with tax payer money concerning them selves with gay marriage and recently parliament citizenenship rules.There has been nothing meaningful done in this country since they oust Tony Abbott. I think you are a true hero Dick smith,you are saying what myself and way too many Australians in my age group have been thinking for a long time.We must help and educate our young to see how they are being conned by the selfish,powerful and greedy.

    ,

    • Agreed. Canberra is wasting our $$$ pandering to the lunatic fringe (gay votes), than focussing on migration control.

  • My family and I totally agree with Dick,who by the way would make a great prime minister,you cannot keep exchanging one family dwelling for oversized apartment blocks containing forty families,at my place of employment with a staff of around three hundred ,our lunchroom discussions are always the same but nothing ever changes,its time for change,we support Dick all the way,lead on mate.

    • Well said Rick i also think that he would be the best and most decent prime minister this country has ever had. Furthermore when i see the existing & previous bunch of goons that are running this country, it makes me ashamed of being an Australian.

  • I have just sold my house as part of down sizing in the northwest of Sydney. In the last 3 months there have been 5 sales in my cul de sac. All in the 1.5-2M range and all to Chinese buyers. A friend of the family works for one of the largest property valuers in Sydney. He suggested anecdotally that “over 50%” of the valuations being carried out appeared to be for Chinese names. The anecdotal evidence is that the suggested 7% of Chinese purchases in the market the government quotes is way too low. It would appear that mainland Chinese purchase through local resident proxies.

    Agree with dick on
    – Reduce immigration to long term average. Allow the infrastructure to catch up and young to have a chance to purchase a house
    – Remove negative gearing. It gives my generation far too much of an advantage.
    – Dial capital gains tax back on property. We dont need need these incentives to invest in property. It encourages far too much money into residential property
    – Broad based land tax. Discourage land banking and unproductive use of capital
    – Tax foreign nationals significantly when purchasing residential property. 15% is not probably not enough. This is not a level playing field.

    I cannot see sensible policy happening until we have a recession. Given the way that private debt is climbing this may be inevitable. As more capital is chewed by mortgage payments debtors will have less to spend elsewhere. Demand will fall off. China could sneeze. Trump could make a wrong move. The Euro could collapse. Having so much debt makes us more sensitive to many world events.

    The current generation of 35-45 year olds have not seen a recession in Australia. They are the ones making the biggest financial commitments at that point in their lives and have only known a growing economy and low interest rates. If these last two elements change this cohort with their average 600K sydney mortgages are going to feel a world of pain.

  • Dick Smith is spot on. Australia is being sold off by traitors and is being run for greedy, already wealthy oldies who disgust me no end. I welcome the coming recession and housing price crash because if it doesn’t happen, there will be a revolution on the streets.

    • Yes but Chodley, even if houses become more affordable, there’s still too much demand for them and building houses chews up land – farm land and, worse, bushland. There are too many people wanting housing.

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