Openly gay candidate Andrew Potts is standing against Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce in Saturday’s New England by-election, aiming to tackle the housing crisis that disproportionately affects LGBTI people.

Potts registered his own political party in the middle of Homelessness Week earlier this year.

“My Affordable Housing Party is very much a response to the lack of political action over Australia’s housing crisis, and we don’t think that’s by accident when so many of our federal politicians are property investors,” Potts said.

“Housing affordability is an issue for people regardless of where they live in Australia, but I also see it as a very important issue for the LGBTI community.

“While many of us have double incomes and no kids we also have higher rates of youth homelessness, and the areas that tend to be the safest for us to live and play openly also tend to be the most gentrified and expensive to live in.”

In September, a new report revealed that one in three lesbian, gay and bisexual Australians has experienced some form of homelessness in their life, compared to one in eight of the wider Australian population—and the numbers for trans and intersex people are estimated to be even worse.

“Add to that the fact that many LGBTI people fear how they will be treated in transitional accommodation, with many saying they would choose to risk it on the streets than go to a homeless shelter,” Potts said.

“This is definitely an issue that deserves to be on our community’s agenda.

“One of our major policies to address housing affordability is to end the tax perks that come with owning an investment property that incentivise investors to outbid home owners in Australia.

“Negative gearing by property investors reduced personal income tax revenue collection in Australia by $13.2 billion in the year 2010–2011, while the capital gains tax discount on real estate reduced the taxes collected on the profits from property sales by billions more.

“If that money had been collected it could have built and maintained a lot of public and affordable housing for marginalised people.”

Potts, a former Star Observer editor, believes he is the only openly gay candidate in the New England region.

He said he would support marriage equality in parliament.

“Barnaby Joyce has said if people voted for marriage equality then he won’t vote against it but he hasn’t made clear if that only means abstaining when the issue comes before parliament,” Potts said.

“If I’m elected to be the Member for New England and the issue is still alive in the parliament there will be an emphatic Yes from me.”

The party is also contesting the December 16 Bennelong by-election, where the Affordable Housing Party’s candidate is founder and renters’ rights advocate Anthony Ziebell.

“Anthony attended many of this year’s Yes campaign events in support of family members so I have no doubt how he will vote in the parliament,” Potts said.

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