"Chinatown"-Official media of Chinese Australians
On June 6, Ms. Susie O'Brien of Herald-Sun newspaper wrote an article "It's not racist to point out these home truths".
Australian Human Rights Commissioner Dr. Tim Soutphommasane wrote an article on June 6 expressing serious dissatisfaction with O'Brien's articles full of biased views and false content. It was conveyed to the Chinese media through Mr. Mei, the adviser to the Governor of Victoria, to inform the Chinese community.
"Chinatown" thanks Dr. Soutphommasane for his fairness! Australia is worthy of being a mature multicultural society, and it is gratifying for Australia to have such a sensible person. Thank you Chinese in Australia! Thank you for the Chinese community!
The translation is as follows
Dear editor in chief,
Reading the most recent article by Susie O'Brien's (pointing out that the facts about these houses are not racial discrimination, June 6) column is very disappointing.
It is true that we need an open dialogue to discuss social issues. But such discussions must be based on facts rather than hearsay rumors. And, this should not be based on outdated guesses about who is Australian.
For example, Ms. O'Brien claimed that “in some schools in Melbourne and Sydney, the ratio of Australian-born children to Chinese children who have just arrived in Australia is 10 to 1.” Is there evidence to support this claim?
And, who can be accurately counted as an Australian born? Does this include children born in Australia with Chinese parents? Does this indicate that citizens and their children born abroad cannot actually be counted as Australians?
Our public debate cannot benefit from hysterical emotions and inherent stereotypes. The intensification of the panic fires that foreigners have "controlled" our suburban residential areas is very worrying.
We are in a multicultural society where half of the population is first or second generation Australians. Provocative comments are not in the national interest in terms of cohesion and harmony.
The original text is as follows
It was disappointing to read Susie O'Brien's most recent column (“It's not racist to point out these home truths”, 11 June).
We should, by all means, have open discussion about social issues. But such discussion should be based on facts not anecdotal evidence. And it shouldn't be based on outdated assumptions about who is an Australian.
For example, Ms O'Brien asserts that “at some Melbourne and Sydney schools, Australian-born children are outnumbered 10 to one by newly arrived Chinese students”. Is there hard evidence to support this?
And who exactly is being counted as Australian-born? Does this include Australian-born children who have Chinese parents? Is the suggestion that foreign-born citizens and their children don't really count as Australians?
Our public debate doesn't benefit from hysteria and the perpetuation of stereotypes. It is concerning to see the fanning of fears about foreigners “taking control” of our suburbs.
We are a multicultural society, where almost half the population is either first- or second-generation Australian. Inflammatory commentary does nothing to serve our national interest in cohesion and harmony.
Dr Tim Soutphommasane
Race Discrimination Commissioner
June 11 2015
Susie O'BrienMs. author "It's not racist to point out these home truths"(It's not racial discrimination to tell the true situation of real estate)
The original text is as follows: Susie O'Brien:
(Chinatown Special Translation) Alleged that those wallets were so full that the Chinese made Australian property market prices unacceptable. O'Brien claims that those who claim that the Australian property market has soaring prices have nothing to do with Chinese buyers have never paid attention to the most affected suburbs.
In schools in Sydney and Melbourne, one in ten Australian-born children is a Chinese student. In some classes, there are even a handful of students who do not speak China. The dazzling shop signs are written in English and Chinese, conveying that many new immigrants do not speak our English.
In some areas, pieces of the original Australian houses were banned by new Chinese-style French foreign courtyards. It seems to be claiming the wealth and strength of a foreign country.
One thing I want to point out is: this is not a racial idea, it is just a statement of facts.
In recent years, most intermediaries have offices in China, usually over-the-counter transactions. Foreign intermediaries serve foreigners, and the best properties are usually not advertised.
In the auction, these foreign buyers hold checks to crowd out the local buyers.
A new foreign investment review report shows that Chinese buyers spent a total of A$124 billion on the Australian property market in the 2013-2014 quarter, twice the amount of the previous year. This makes it easy for China to become our largest overseas investor in Australia. Only 70 billion was spent on residential housing, an increase of 20 billion over the previous year. But one fact has to be admitted is that overseas investment stimulates the Australian real estate market, not to replace it. The biggest demand comes from school district housing, in Melbourne such as Balwyn, Balwyn North, Glen Waverley, Mt Waverley and Glen Iris, but there are also latecomers such as Doncaster, Box Hill and Lower Plenty. In Sydney, the most popular are the inner city harbor areas, such as Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Bellevue Hill. But Castlecrag, Turramurra, Cammeray and Wahroonga are also popular among Chinese consumers.
It is undeniable that this city occupies half of Australia's foreign housing. It is not unheard of that house prices in a block have risen by $100 million in a few months. For some time now, a 750-square-meter house only cost 100 million Australian dollars, but now it needs 250 million Australian dollars. Old houses were pushed and new houses were built. These new houses can be sold for 800 million Australian dollars in the off-site market. Because of the temptation of such high prices, the locals began to sell their properties, but found that the money they earned could not buy housing with the same conditions in the same district. So they gave up the dream of buying a house in this district for their children.
Prices grew in the surrounding suburbs, and the bubble continued to spread outward. At this time, the government should come forward to sanction overseas buyers. However, at this stage, it seems that changing the law for overseas buyers is not enough to improve the pressure of Australians to buy a house. The facts speak for themselves. Over the past ten years since 2003, FIRB has issued only 17 orders to foreign investors depriving them of illegal house purchases. During that period, overseas investors purchased nearly 30 family homes worth 000 billion. The government has strengthened controls and has noticed 230 potential illegal buyers. The government's new plan is to allow overseas investors to pay more stamp duty and increase the amount of fines for illegal house purchases.
Third parties who insist on allowing overseas home buyers to make illegal investments, such as real estate agencies, lawyers or accountants, will be fined a substantial amount.
This is a good start, but it won't help much. We know that laws and regulations are disintegrating, and home buyers are using their children who are studying in Australia to buy houses. The complex trust established through lawyers explains that they are just not declaring their foreign status.
In any case, this problem is not compellable, it is a problem of the system itself. The biggest legal loophole is that it makes non-Australian residents purchase real estate for development purposes. They can demolish the house, but only when they want to increase the number of houses or the house is uninhabitable. However, no one noticed after the transaction. In many cases, those humble old houses were purchased and used to build luxury houses that surpassed many native Australians.
This is not about a multi-ethnic country building houses for immigrants. This is about a wealthy foreigner who treats our land as their back garden for profit, which will change the original face of our city forever.
You ask yourself, why does our country allow foreigners to control our residential areas so much? Why would we allow them to make the city we love so luxurious and expensive?
It's not racist to point out these home truths
- SUSIE O'BRIEN
- HERALD SUN
- JUNE 10, 2015 9:00PM
Cashed-up Chinese nationals are making local housing unaffordable, says Susie O'Brien.
ANYONE who says there's no problem with cashed-up Chinese nationals buying up our houses has never spent any time in the most affected suburbs.
At some Melbourne and Sydney schools, Australian-born children are outnumbered 10 to one by newly arrived Chinese students. Sometimes there are only a handful of other non-Chinese-speaking kids in each class.
Signs in local shops are in both Chinese and English, suggesting that many new residents can't speak our language.
BLOG WITH SUSIE O'BRIEN
In some areas, house after house is being torn down and replaced by Chinese-style French Provincial mansions. Often 350sq m of no-expense-spared luxury house is squeezed on to a 650sq m block as an edifice to overseas wealth and power.
To point that out is not racist scaremongering. It's a reality that is making housing unaffordable and unattainable to a growing number of local families.
These days most real estate agents have Chinese agents and offices in China. Often the action happens off-market — foreign agents work directly with foreign buyers and some of the best properties aren't even advertised.
Auctions, if they happen at all, are packed with foreign buyers with cheque books, blasting locals out of the water.
A new Foreign Investment Review Board report shows Chinese buyers spent $12.4 billion on Australian property in 2013-14 — twice as high as the previous year. That makes China easily the biggest source of overseas investment in our country.
Just over $7 billion was spent on established homes — up $2 billion on the previous year. That is despite the fact that foreign investment is supposed to boost housing stock, not replace it.
The biggest demand is for land near good schools. In Melbourne that includes Balwyn, Balwyn North, Glen Waverley, Mt Waverley and Glen Iris, but there's a flow-on to surrounding areas such as Doncaster, Box Hill and Lower Plenty. In Sydney the biggest demand is for inner-city harbour suburbs such as Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Bellevue Hill. But there's also a lot of interest in Castlecrag, Turramurra, Cammeray and Wahroonga.
It's no wonder the two cities account for half of Australia's foreign-owned housing. The market is so hot that it's not unheard of for blocks to increase in price by $1 million in only a few months. A period home on a 750sq m block that used to go for about $1 million is now selling for about $2.5 million. It's knocked down and a new house is built, which may sell off-market for about $8 million.
Attracted by the sky-high prices, locals are selling up, only to find they can't afford to buy anything comparable nearby. They give up any hope of their own kids living in the same area. Prices spiral in surrounding suburbs, as the bubble spreads outwards.
It's time for the Government to get serious in its crackdown on foreigners buying Australian domestic real estate. At this stage it seems even proposed changes to foreign ownership laws will do little to improve the chances of Australian-born people buying houses in our own suburbs on a level playing field with foreigners.
The facts speak for themselves. In more than a decade the FIRB issued only 17 orders for foreign investors to divest properties that were illegally acquired since 2003. During that time offshore investors bought almost 30,000 existing homes worth $23 billion.
The Government has since beefed things up and has nearly 200 potentially illegal buyers in its sights. The Government's new plan is to make foreign investors pay fees and stamp duty, and pay fines for transgressing.
Third parties who assist foreign investors to make illegal purchases — like real estate agents, lawyers and accountants — will, for the first time, face hefty fines.
THAT is a good start, but won't help much. We know the rules are being broken: buyers are using their children who are studying here to buy houses, they're using complex trusts constructed by lawyers and they're simply failing to declare their foreigner status.
In any case, the problem is not the enforcement, it's the rules themselves. One of the biggest loopholes is allowing non-residents to buy existing houses for development purposes. They're supposed to demolish houses only if they're going to increase the number of dwellings, or if the house is uninhabitable. But no one is paying any attention after the deal goes through and in many cases modest existing homes are razed and replaced with mansions that are beyond ordinary Aussies.
This is not about a multicultural nation making room for migrants. This is about the wealthy citizens of one country using the suburbs of our country to park their profits and change the face of our cities forever.
Ask yourself this: why are we as a country allowing foreigners to take control of our suburbs like this? Why are we allowing them to price us out of the cities that we love?
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