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Labor Mocks Prime Minister Blaming High House Prices On "Union Thuggery"

The latest thing contributing to the Australian housing crisis.

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Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has argued that militant unions are to blame for young couples being unable to get into the housing market for the first time.

Perhaps inspired by two of Australia's current national political debates – re-regulating unions and young people spending money on smashed-avocado brunches – Turnbull told parliament that unions like the CFMEU drove up house prices.

Here's what Turnbull said during Tuesday's Question Time:

[Labor] doesn't stand by the thousands of electricians and carpenters and plumbers who have to knuckle down to the thuggery of the CFMEU.

It doesn't stand for the young couples that can't afford to buy a house because the costs have been pushed up by union thuggery, or taxpayers that have to pay more to build every type of infrastructure.

The PM's solution to "union thuggery" is the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Corruption Commission (ABCC), which would act as a watchdog of the construction industry.

Legislation for the ABCC was rejected twice by the last parliament earlier this year, and was the cause of the double dissolution election.

The legislation passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday night and will now head to the Senate.

Labor's Brendan O'Connor told BuzzFeed News, Turnbull's argument doesn't make sense because, "The ABCC Bill doesn’t apply to residential building only non-residential building".

"And, on non-residential building, when the ABCC was last in operation between 2004 and 2012, analysis shows that the cost of building grew faster than CPI," said O'Connor.

"It cost more to build when the ABCC was around, not less."

Meanwhile, Australia is currently locked in a weird debate about brunch and housing after a “social demographer” said young people would be able to save enough money for a deposit if they spent less money on smashed-avocado toast.

But the latest statistics show salary increases have not kept up with housing prices and millennials spend more on housing and less on food/alcohol than previous generations.

Mark Di Stefano is a political editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

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