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SQUATTING

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NOT A RIGHT BUT A CRIME

I stumbled across the Tenants Union website at www.tenants.org.au, where I read an article called "To Squat or not to squat...is there a choice?" by Gavin Sullivan. I was completely stunned to find that Sullivan seemed to consider that invading the private property of others was not only an act that should be condoned, but the article gave me the impression that Sullivan considered it a person's right to just move into somebody's private property without permission, let alone live there without paying rent. In other words, the Tenants Union was seemingly glorifying and promoting illegal acts. So I sent an email to the Tenants Union, however I did not receive a reply. Why am I not surprised?

MY RESPONSE TO THIS ARTICLE

SULLIVAN SAYS: The private rental market is largely deregulated and tenancy laws can often afford low-income earners little protection from the increasingly exorbitant rents demanded by landowners and their real estate agents.

I SAY: Property is a commodity and owners are quite entitled to set rental rates, just like owners of other merchandise such as rental cars can do the same. If you don't like the price structure, don't accept the deal. You cannot force a person to sell you something for a lower price than he is willing to accept and rental property is included.

SULLIVAN SAYS: Public housing available to those in need is an alternative. However, with waiting lists as large as they are, and with the length of wait as long as 12 years, government housing is not a viable option for many.

I SAY: The government is there to govern and run the nation, not provide free or cheap housing to people. This is the land of opportunity and everybody has the chance to get out there and make something of themselves. The taxpayers of this nation should not have to support people who are either lazy or make themselves unemployable and sit on welfare handouts for most of their lives.

I remember one very enlightening conversation I had with a young guy sporting a huge coloured Mohawk hairstyle, black boots up to the knees with 5cm soles like something that Herman Munster would wear and most parts of his visible body pierced with all sorts of pins, rings and other hardware. I asked him what he did for a living and he told me that he had been on the dole for some years, because nobody would give him a job. I asked him if he actually thought about the reason for this - that it was because he looked like a complete feral idiot and nobody in their right mind would employ him as long as he looked like that. He replied that he had the RIGHT to look this way and even though he considered he had the RIGHT to a job, nobody would give him work.

This cretin was living in a squat and he was prepared to criminally trespass, violate somebody's property and literally steal from them, but he would not make the slightest effort to change his appearance so that he could get a job and become self-supporting instead of leeching off our generous society, which was stupid enough to pay him the dole.

SULLIVAN SAYS: With the price of living in Sydney becoming more out of reach for those on welfare or living on a low or middle income, squatting is one model of sustainable housing which is both accessible and transformative of the use of dead and unused space.

I SAY: Criminally trespassing on somebody's private property is NOT a model of sustainable housing or transformative - it is ILLEGAL AND CRIMINAL and no matter how much jargon Sullivan wants to throw at it, it is wrong.

What Sullivan is implying here is that if a place is unoccupied for a certain period of time, it is quite all right for squatters to move in and live there. By the same token, Sullivan could apply his very flawed and wrong illogic to any other property.

In other words, what Sullivan advocates with his stupid principle is that if a person parks his car on the street and leaves it for some time, then somebody who desires that car should have the right to break into it, hotwire it and drive it away. How stupid is that? Stealing property is no different than stealing cars, money or anything else - it's A CRIME and the Tenants Union is condoning criminal behaviour on its website.

SULLIVAN SAYS: Homeless people are also workers who can't afford rents, youth who have been kicked out of home, people on benefits who live in poverty while most of their income is dwindled on rent.

I SAY: So does this mean that if a person cannot afford rent, he then has the right to invade somebody else's property and steal from them?

SULLIVAN SAYS: There are very few countries around the world where squatting is considered a criminal offence, rather than simply a civil dispute between a landowner and an occupier. Australia, however, is one such country.

I SAY: How stupid are those other countries where squatting is not a crime? Breaking into a property and occupying it is certainly not a civil dispute, it's a crime - it's that simple. There is no in-between - you can't be half-pregnant and you can't consider breaking and entering to be a civil dispute.

SULLIVAN SAYS: The effect has been to make self-help housing illegal and punish those who transgress the law of rent paying.

I SAY: Oh yes - Sullivan's lovely buzz-word "self-help housing" doesn't cut any ice with me. One could say that about "self-help shopping", but let's use the correct term - SHOPLIFTING. Or maybe "self-help finance" - BANK ROBBERY. I can't believe these people from the Tenants Union are for real, but judging from the urban ferals they represent, I am not really surprised.

SULLIVAN SAYS: Squatters can feel vulnerable every time they step outside to go about their daily lives. With the threat of criminality, they can feel under siege for finding a solution to their need for housing.

I SAY: And rightly so. Their solution is to illegally break and enter into somebody's premises and take it over. They should have the book thrown at them.

SULLIVAN SAYS: There are no laws that protect squatters being harassed from property owners and security guards. But the opposite is not true. In fact, every court case and criminal trespass charge that is made invariably confirms the same result - that is, the sanctity of private property relations in the law.

I SAY: Sullivan must be truly off the planet. Why the hell should criminals who break into somebody's premises have any sort of protection? The sanctity of private property is absolute. In my case, I own a beautiful house that took me 4 years of backbreaking work and a hell of a lot of money to build, notwithstanding the cost of the block of land it sits on. By the way, the money that I had to buy the block and build and equip my house came as a result of many years of very hard work - I didn't get any of it as a gift.

If a bunch of feral squatters suddenly decided to try and appropriate the result of my years of work and my private property for themselves, I can guarantee that they wouldn't have any protection from my wrath and the law would have to arrive pretty quickly to beat the ambulances that would have to be called to ferry these bastards from my place after I had dealt with them.

SULLIVAN SAYS: Squatting is not only a readily available means of alternative accommodation.......

I SAY: Squatting is NOT a readily available means of accommodation - it is the result of illegal breaking and entering, that's all.

SULLIVAN QUOTES: We want to live in a flourishing community rather than in a series of individualized $200/week dog-boxes, and we are prepared to organise to fight for our community rather than let ourselves be continually displaced.

I SAY: These feral bastards are prepared to organise and fight for their community on the basis that somebody who has slaved to purchase a property has to then abrogate his right to it to accommodate these parasites. Why don't they get jobs, pool their funds and buy a commune, if that's what they want, instead of invading and trespassing and violating the rights of others to achieve their own ends? They demand this and they want that, but they don't give any thought to the people that they are victimising by their criminal actions.

SULLIVAN SAYS: Squatting campaigns have played an important role in changing the nature and pace of development in Sydney, attempting to prevent city spaces being available only to rich residents.

I SAY: Those city spaces belong to SOMEBODY who has worked to buy them. Is Sullivan shocked that people work hard and purchase places to live? Yet Sullivan seems not to care about their rights, he just advocates that squatters just move into those properties with callous disregard for the owners and their rights. He is truly pathetic.

CONCLUSION

I am absolutely appalled by Sullivan's viewpoints regarding this matter. They are highly irresponsible and I consider them to advocate criminal behaviour. Sullivan seems to think that property owners have no rights and that people who feel like it can just break into their property and live there and that's quite acceptable.

I wonder if Sullivan would tell me where he lived, so I can invite a bunch of ferals around to break into his place and move in when he is off the premises. I wonder if Sullivan would give me the location of his car (if he have one) so that I can organise somebody to break into it and drive away with it and keep it for the rest of its useful life? Of course I would expect Sullivan to refrain from reporting the theft (let's call it squatting) of his car to police. I would also expect Sullivan to wish the car thief, er sorry, I meant the "car squatter" good luck and for him to enjoy Sullivan's car.

The scope of Sullivan's flawed logic and the callous disregard he has for the rights of others is truly amazing. As far as I am concerned, Sullivan is a blight on the planet for supporting feral parasites and advocating that they commit criminal acts against the property and legal rights of others.

Those who advocate squatting and try to sweeten the description of this crime by calling it "self-help housing" are not fooling anybody, no more than them trying to redefine car theft as "self-help transport", shoplifting as "self-help purchasing" and bank robbery as "self-help finance". People who deliberately break into private property and move themselves in to live there are criminals, nothing more. Australia has one of the most bountiful welfare systems and is the most opportunity-laden nation in the world. Of course there are always people who genuinely require assistance, but Australia is most generous in helping those in need.

But like that feral creature with the Mohawk and body piercings that I described, there are many people who literally set out to make themselves completely unemployable, because they demand the RIGHT to look like idiots to the majority of employers, yet they demand the RIGHT to get a job from those same people. The truth is that nobody has the RIGHT to work - nobody can be forced to open a business or factory so that these ferals can be employed. Everybody in Australia has the OPPORTUNITY to seek work - that's a huge difference from this nonsensical mantra of the RIGHT to work.

So if these ferals refuse to smarten themselves up and put themselves in a position to earn money and rent places to live, they somehow assume that they have the RIGHT to invade the private property of others, hardworking people who have slaved many years to purchase houses and apartments, who then find that a bunch of criminals took control of their private property. This is so wrong, but the best part is that the Australian government has seen this and has made squatting a criminal offence.

Personally, I think that these ferals that refuse to modify their appearance in order to make themselves employable should also lose the welfare benefits that they currently receive. It is a two-way street. If these people want society, the taxpayers, to assist them when they are in need, then they have to do their part in trying to gain employment and the only way they can do this is to lose the Mohawks, the piercings, the stupid clothes and the rest of the accoutrements that virtually no employers would countenance. If the ferals are not willing to do this, then society should not have to support them. And if they break into somebody's property to squat there, society can actually provide them with accommodation - IN JAIL.