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Archer and Jaensch Both Responsible for Decision to Weaken Tenancy Laws

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Tags: Tenant Rights, Housing Crisis, Homelessness, Ministerial Accountability, Misleading Parliament

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens Justice spokesperson

The Minister for Building and Construction, Elise Archer, today refused to reveal the reason for her proposal to strip essential tenancy protections from the Residential Tenancy Act

Minister Archer is just as responsible as Housing Minister, Roger Jaensch – who misled the Parliament about the Cabinet decision to unwind tenants’ protections. 

The Cabinet document inadvertently sent to the Greens, and revealed in Parliament, is evidence that Minister Archer was party to a pre-COVID Cabinet decision to make it easier for landlords to evict social housing tenants from their homes without a ‘genuine or just’ reason. 

Under Administrative Arrangements, Minister Archer is responsible for the Residential Tenancy Act. It would have been her sign-off on the proposal that led to the government’s decision to remove tenancy safeguards. 

Instead of accepting the decision of the full bench of the Supreme Court last year, which found the government had acted illegally by evicting an intellectually disabled tenant without a ‘genuine or just’ reason, the Liberals doubled down. They made a decision to change the law to make it easier to evict tenants, and that was only reversed because of the pandemic. 

In the midst of a housing and homelessness crisis, no Minister should have approved a decision that would have made tenancy protections more precarious for 13,000 social housing tenants. Despite Ms Archer’s unwillingness to answer the Greens’ question in Parliament, it appears she – along with Minster Jaensch – did just that. 

While we welcome Minister Archer’s commitment to not revisit the proposal to remove the ‘just and reasonable’ provision from the Residential Tenancy Act, it is totally unacceptable it was considered at all.