The Greens have agreed to support the Albanese government’s $10bn Housing Australia Future Fund bill, guaranteeing it will pass the Senate after months of bitter negotiations.
On Monday the Greens leader, Adam Bandt, and housing spokesperson, Max Chandler-Mather, said the minor party would support the bill after securing a further $1bn for public and community housing.
In June the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, announced a further $2bn for social and affordable housing, but the Greens withheld their support and continued to delay the bill with Coalition support while demanding a freeze on rents.
Bandt told reporters in Canberra that now there was $3 billion being spent on public, social and affordable housing “that is not dependent on a gamble in the stock market” the minor party had agreed to support the bill.
“The Greens were not able to get the government to shift on rent caps or rent freezes,” he said.
Chandler-Mather, who in June wrote in Jacobin that allowing the bill to pass “would demobilize the growing section of civil society” angry about poverty, declined to say whether he had recommended the deal to the Greens party room.
Chandler-Mather denied vowing to sink the bill if Labor refused to freeze rents.
“We said we would negotiate in good faith,” he said. “We wanted extra funding for public and community housing and wanted action for renters.
“We secured [that] funding and now we turn our attention to fighting for a freeze and on rent increases. We haven’t stopped.”
In question time Albanese said he was pleased the Haff bill “now has majority support in the Senate”.
Albanese personally thanked Bandt “for the constructive discussions that we have had” and accused the Coalition of being of “great irrelevancy in Australian politics” for having opposed the bill.
The $10bn future fund is designed to build 30,000 more social and affordable homes. It has been strengthened after months of negotiation, including by Labor promising to legislate to ensure the fund will spend at least $500m of its earnings every year.
In August the national cabinet agreed to limit rent increases to once a year, but Chandler-Mather continued to warn that Labor was failing renters and allowing increases of unlimited size.
The bill, which Albanese had suggested could be a trigger for a double dissolution, was due to be debated again in the October sitting weeks. It is now likely to pass parliament this week with Labor, the Greens, Jacqui Lambie Network and David Pocock in favour.