Australian museum of squatting. Squatters, fuckwits, bums, lowlifes. A reply to John Surname, principally, but also an opportunity to review some of the recent history of squatting in Australia.
S is for SHACking Up, Soul Train & Squatting (January 16, 2009) was a previous post responding to some criticisms of SHAC, but on squatting, property and housing issues more generally. John wrote on the subject of Diddly-Squatters on January 14. The following img, taken from John’s post, graphically portrays the general tone of his writing on the subject of squatting: And here’s some recent commentary from John (and A.J): Yeah I read it.
So to begin… OK. On the other hand, I also cited Julia Gillard’s speech of March 2008, and half-a-dozen or so media reports from December 2008/January 2009, one from 2004, and two studies (2007 and 2002) both by Richard James, Director of the Centre for the Study of Higher Education and Professor in Higher Education at unimelb. So I’ll try again: “Squatting is for bums and lowlifes, and in this day and age is a lifestyle choice.” Squatters out as bulldozers start engines - National - smh.com.au. ActNow - Time to squat. Photographer : droob @ flickr ‘Squatting’—it’s one of those words that's not used at the dinner table very often and when it is silence falls as minds conjure images of smashed windows and aggressive junkies surrounded by rubbish heaps.
Most of the people I know who squat are students, or young people, who can't afford to rent. Most of the squats I have been to are just regular houses, with veggie patches and regular nights to take the bins out. The negative stigma surrounding squatting needs to change because it could be the solution to the current housing crisis. Rental prices in share houses are still increasing; for example, in Melbourne, it's no longer normal to pay $60 or $70 a week, while paying over $120 a week is not uncommon. In order for people to be able to find a home to rent and for landlords to be receiving a reasonable rate of return on their investment, the vacancy rate needs to be around three per cent.
Both SHAC and Iceland had the support of the local community. Unemployed squat in Health Department house. Wednesday, November 13, 1991 - 11:00 Unemployed squat in Health Department house CANBERRA — The Unemployed Workers Union squatted in a house belonging to the ACT Department of Health after discovering that the property, usually reserved for its secretary, had been left vacant for more than six months. We organised an open occupation in the hope of providing suitable accommodation for some of the many homeless or needy people in Canberra. Best described as opulent, this residence is set in large, well-kept, leafy gardens on half an acre of land with a northerly aspect next to the Royal Canberra Hospital.
The building is two stories and has double brick construction, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge living area, wall to wall carpets and curtains on every window. Media representatives were contacted immediately and supporters and friends were mobilised. The chief administration officer of the hospital visited us mid-afternoon and asked us to "move on". From GLW issue 35. The Martin Place Occupation Group Is @ www.occupysydney.org.au.