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Evidence, Please

I rather feel that in the past few days I have become increasingly disappointed by the intellectual partisanship shown by others. This includes encounters with racists, with anti-vaxxers, and - perhaps the most disappointing of all - by ignorant political partisanship by those who lack experience in housing economics but have become enchanted by the Australian Greens' policy of a rent-freeze (also argued, quelle suprise, by the New Zealand Greens). I am sensitive that I have a visceral reaction to housing matters; I spent a good portion of my childhood in some pretty basic State housing accommodation, and did much of my final year of high school under what is euphemistically called "no fixed address", and there is definitely a part of me that says, with more than a little anger, "if you haven't been homeless and hungry and not known where your next meal is coming from, please STFU".

Despite this, I refuse to be dominated by such emotions - they may provide motivation and passion, but not reason and evidence. So when confronted by political partisans of the verdant variety I have managed to ask whether they could explain why, if the Housing Australia Future Fund ( is to be rejected, it is supported by those very organisations that have consistently advocated for secure and affordable housing, especially for those who need it most, such as the Community Housing Industry Association, the Housing Industry Association, the Urban Development Institute, and National Shelter - so far the only answer I've received is from one plonker who says that such bodies are "neoliberal", as if that attempted slur is reason enough to avoid providing evidence.

This is "the problem" with evidence - rather than political partnership, it suggests solutions. Try as I might, there are no contemporary studies that show that a rent freeze will result in improved housing supply or housing quality. But there is plenty of empirical studies that say the opposite (such as a meta-analysis of 60 - count them - studies from Econ Journal Watch ( But some prefer ideology even if it results in worse outcomes for the people they are allegedly advocating for. The consensus of economists, based on theory and actual evidence is quite clear: if you introduce rent controls, you might provide a short-term security of tenancy, but you will do so at the cost of reduced housing supply, higher land prices, and lower quality housing. This is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact. Whilst I strongly suggest against arguing against facts, I suspect in a "post-truth" world that people will continue to do so and with the same tragic results, borne yet again through ignorance and partisanship.