When the Labor Party joins with its LNP rivals and right-wing media to accuse the Greens of hypocrisy over affordable housing, it signals two things: that it is out of touch with the concerns of the electorate and that it is willing to trade genuine community representation for its own political gain.

A Courier Mail editorial published on Monday accuses elected Greens representatives in South Brisbane of “actively opposing almost 2000 homes being built in their own electorate.” These protests, the CM says, “include a campaign against the Kurilpa temporary local planning instrument (TLPI), which proposes a relaxation on height limits in the inner-city area specifically to create higher density and relieve the supply shortage driving much of the [housing] crisis.”

The editorial calls the Greens NIMBYs for their opposition to the TLPI but offers no analysis of the market nor evidence about flood risk, full schools, congestion, and existing development approvals, accepting on face-value, claims by the LNP City Council, that the legislative change will deliver more public housing.


We expect this sort of rhetoric from the LNP and the Courier Mail. When Labor adds to the pile-on with social media posts like this one from Murray Watt, locals are frustrated that the Party seems incapable of arguing the scheme’s merits, instead resorting to name-calling.


Many in West End, which falls into Greens held seats federally and at state and council levels, have watched these turf wars with dismay since the election of Jonathan Sriranganathan as Councillor for The Gabba Ward in 2016. The rhetoric intensified with the election of Amy McMahon to the South Brisbane state seat in 2020 and has reached near fever pitch with Max Chandler-Mather’s defeat of Terri Butler in Griffith in 2022.

Powerful Labor women had held each seat, two of whom were once touted as leaders. So, we get that Labor feels slighted after election losses in the area but attacking the Greens on an issue like the Council’s TLPI, which is opposed by many residents of all political stripes, leaves the community with little recourse.

As one local said to me recently:

” This whole issue has become a playground for all the major parties, and it feels like we’re just getting caught in the middle, particularly with two elections coming up next year. They’re all talking about blaming the other and networking with their rivals, which means that the community’s concerns are just getting lost.”

Locals who voted for Labor for years often say they feel abandoned by the Party when it prioritises party rivalry over standing up for the community against the excesses of an LNP Council and the development industry. It feels like Kurilpa (West End and South Brisbane) is being punished by Labor for voting in Green representatives. Rather than the Party asking why the electorate abandoned them and trying to win them back, they have written us off and jumped on the NIMBY bandwagon to score points over the Greens in the affordable housing debate.

Has Labor forgotten its history of community engagement and standing against overdevelopment in the area?

In 2015, Jackie Trad, then Minister for Planning, rejected the Quirk/Newman Kurilpa Riverfront Renewal Plan (KRRP), saying, “Labor wants to engage in a meaningful consultation with locals and with the broader Brisbane community.”

The KRRP flagged the area as home to 11,000 new residents and buildings up to forty storeys, less than half the height of buildings now proposed under the Kurilpa TLPI.

We know that developers in the area are sitting on hundreds of approved applications but are holding off for more gain.

If Labor, the LNP and the Courier Mail were genuinely concerned about affordable housing supply, they would expose the development industry’s hypocrisy rather than sniping at each other and the Greens.

But this is not just about the LNP and Labor.

Ironically, some of the Greens representatives accuse their constituents of being the cause of the housing crisis if they are older homeowners and/or landlords. To galvanise a political base in younger renters, The Greens sometimes attack their constituents and pile on with the LNP and Labor. ‘You simply can’t win’, laments one resident. ‘All sides call you a NIMBY even if you have lived here for decades, supported public housing development and worked hard to keep the community diverse and inclusive.’  This is the divisive politics of blame by the political class.

The Greens Party has wrung some needed concessions from Federal Labor on the Housing Australia Future Fund. But the housing peak bodies say time is now of the essence and Australia cannot afford to delay its response to the housing crisis any longer. Is it time then for The Greens to allow the government to fund new social housing while continuing its campaign for additional resources?

All parties are rightly concerned about the pressing need for affordable and supported accommodation. Local community groups reject the TLPI as a solution but want to collaborate with their elected representatives to create more homes for people in desperate need. To achieve this, it is essential for the Planning Minister, Steven Miles, The Greens, and the LNP Council to demonstrate their ability to work together with the community, and the housing and social services sector. This collaboration should focus on finding genuine, practical solutions backed by legislation that ensure necessary levels of affordable housing can be provided.