Journal article

The ‘Politics’ of Australian Housing: The Role of Lobbyists and Their Influence in Shaping Policy16 Jan 2014

Rental housing Housing Lobbying Private rentals Social security Australia

It is often taken for granted that governments intervene in the housing market to address social need and affordability concerns, but is this conceptualisation sufficient to capture the processes that inform housing policy-making? In this paper, I argue that an appreciation of the roles performed by interest groups and lobbyists is necessary to understand not only how housing policies are determined, but also how they are maintained. The paper begins by setting out the context of Australian housing policy-making and the arrangements currently in place. Drawing upon interviews with influential lobbyists and policy advisors, the main part of the paper considers: the tactics deployed to inform policy-making, recent examples of successful interventions, the tensions between welfare and industry lobbyists and the barriers that undermine reform. The final part considers the wider significance of the lobbying process and its relevance for future research.

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