The majority voted in favour of a motion to agree with the main idea of the bills. In parliamentary jargon, they voted to give the bills a second reading. Our MPs can now consider them in greater detail.

What do these bills do?

According to the bills digest (which is an overview of the bills prepared by the parliamentary library):

  • The Help to Buy Bill 2023 and the Help to Buy (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2023 establish the framework for a new national shared equity program – called the Help to Buy program – aimed at assisting low to middle income earners to purchase new or existing homes by accessing an equity contribution from the Commonwealth.

  • Housing Australia will administer Help to Buy and states will ‘opt in’ to participate in the scheme by either a referral under section 51(xxxvii) of the Constitution, or adoption of the Commonwealth legislation. Section 122 of the Constitution enables Commonwealth operation of the program in the territories.

  • Under a ‘Help to Buy’ arrangement, Housing Australia (on behalf of the Commonwealth) will enter into a contract with eligible purchasers to contribute part of the purchase price of a residence.

  • The Commonwealth’s equity contribution of up to either 30 or 40 per cent of the purchase price (depending on whether the property is new) will be recognised as a second mortgage or other right secured against the property. Thus the Government will own that share in the property. This equity contribution is intended to lower a borrower’s monthly repayments.

  • Help to Buy will be open to up to 10,000 eligible purchasers per year, assisting up to 40,000 households to make a home purchase affordable.

  • Homebuyers will need a minimum 2 per cent deposit to participate and will qualify for a standard home loan (with no need for lenders mortgage insurance).

  • While alluded to in Australian Labor Party policy documents, many of the details of the Help to Buy Program – including the upper limit of Commonwealth contribution and minimum deposit requirements – will be found in the Program Directions, a legislative instrument not subject to disallowance and exempt from sunsetting. Consultation with states and territories on the Program Directions can begin prior to commencement of the Bill, to support timely operation of the Bill.

  • Key concerns raised about shared equity schemes as a policy for tackling housing affordability are that they may contribute to further growth in house prices, that they may encourage those for whom home ownership may not be the most suitable option to take on undue financial risk, and that they divert resources from supporting people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness (including because of rental stress).

  • On the other hand, key interest groups have expressed support for shared equity schemes as a vehicle for assisting people in overcoming barriers to home ownership. For instance, the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) has predicted, based on microsimulation modelling, that a well-designed national shared equity scheme has the potential to assist a large number of eligible aspiring first home buyers.

Votes Passed by a small majority

Nobody rebelled against their party.

Party Votes
Australian Greens (100% turnout) 0 Yes 4 No
Adam Bandt Melbourne No
Stephen Bates Brisbane No
Max Chandler-Mather Griffith No
Elizabeth Watson-Brown Ryan No
Australian Labor Party (95% turnout) 73 Yes 0 No
Anthony Albanese Grayndler Yes
Anne Aly Cowan Yes
Michelle Ananda-Rajah Higgins Yes
Chris Bowen McMahon Yes
Tony Burke Watson Yes
Matt Burnell Spence Yes
Linda Burney Barton Yes
Josh Burns Macnamara Yes
Mark Butler Hindmarsh Yes
Alison Byrnes Cunningham Yes
Andrew Charlton Parramatta Yes
Lisa Chesters Bendigo Yes
Jason Clare Blaxland Yes
Sharon Claydon Newcastle Yes
Libby Coker Corangamite Yes
Julie Collins Franklin Yes
Pat Conroy Shortland Yes
Mary Doyle Aston Yes
Mark Dreyfus Isaacs Yes
Justine Elliot Richmond Yes
Cassandra Fernando Holt Yes
Mike Freelander Macarthur Yes
Carina Garland Chisholm Yes
Steve Georganas Adelaide Yes
Andrew Giles Scullin Yes
Patrick Gorman Perth Yes
Luke Gosling Solomon Yes
Julian Hill Bruce Yes
Ed Husic Chifley Yes
Stephen Jones Whitlam Yes
Ged Kearney Cooper Yes
Matt Keogh Burt Yes
Peter Khalil Wills Yes
Catherine King Ballarat Yes
Madeleine King Brand Yes
Tania Lawrence Hasluck Yes
Jerome Laxale Bennelong Yes
Andrew Leigh Fenner Yes
Sam Lim Tangney Yes
Richard Marles Corio Yes
Zaneta Mascarenhas Swan Yes
Kristy McBain Eden-Monaro Yes
Emma McBride Dobell Yes
Louise Miller-Frost Boothby Yes
Brian Mitchell Lyons Yes
Rob Mitchell McEwen Yes
Daniel Mulino Fraser Yes
Shayne Neumann Blair Yes
Brendan O'Connor Gorton Yes
Clare O'Neil Hotham Yes
Alicia Payne Canberra Yes
Graham Perrett Moreton Yes
Fiona Phillips Gilmore Yes
Tanya Plibersek Sydney Yes
Gordon Reid Robertson Yes
Dan Repacholi Hunter Yes
Amanda Rishworth Kingston Yes
Tracey Roberts Pearce Yes
Joanne Ryan Lalor Yes
Marion Scrymgour Lingiari Yes
Bill Shorten Maribyrnong Yes
Sally Sitou Reid Yes
David Smith Bean Yes
Anne Stanley Werriwa Yes
Meryl Swanson Paterson Yes
Susan Templeman Macquarie Yes
Matt Thistlethwaite Kingsford Smith Yes
Kate Thwaites Jagajaga Yes
Maria Vamvakinou Calwell Yes
Tim Watts Gellibrand Yes
Anika Wells Lilley Yes
Josh Wilson Fremantle Yes
Tony Zappia Makin Yes
Jim Chalmers Rankin Absent
Peta Murphy Dunkley Absent
Sam Rae Hawke Absent
Michelle Rowland Greenway Absent
Rebekha Sharkie Mayo Centre Alliance Yes
Mark Coulton Parkes Deputy Speaker No
Kate Chaney Curtin Independent Yes
Zoe Daniel Goldstein Independent Yes
Andrew Gee Calare Independent Yes
Helen Haines Indi Independent Yes
Dai Le Fowler Independent Yes
Monique Ryan Kooyong Independent Yes
Sophie Scamps Mackellar Independent Yes
Allegra Spender Wentworth Independent Yes
Zali Steggall Warringah Independent Yes
Kylea Tink North Sydney Independent Yes
Andrew Wilkie Clark Independent Yes
Russell Broadbent Monash Independent No
Bob Katter Kennedy Katter's Australian Party Absent
Liberal National Party (100% turnout) 0 Yes 9 No
Angie Bell Moncrieff No
Colin Boyce Flynn No
Cameron Caldwell Fadden No
Garth Hamilton Groom No
Henry Pike Bowman No
Phillip Thompson Herbert No
Andrew Wallace Fisher No
Andrew Willcox Dawson No
Terry Young Longman No
Liberal Party (88% turnout) 0 Yes 29 No
Karen Andrews McPherson No
Bridget Archer Bass No
Scott Buchholz Wright No
David Coleman Banks No
Peter Dutton Dickson No
Warren Entsch Leichhardt No
Paul Fletcher Bradfield No
Andrew Hastie Canning No
Alex Hawke Mitchell No
Luke Howarth Petrie No
Sussan Ley Farrer No
Nola Marino Forrest No
Melissa McIntosh Lindsay No
Zoe McKenzie Flinders No
Ted O'Brien Fairfax No
Tony Pasin Barker No
Gavin Pearce Braddon No
Melissa Price Durack No
Rowan Ramsey Grey No
James Stevens Sturt No
Michael Sukkar Deakin No
Angus Taylor Hume No
Dan Tehan Wannon No
Bert Van Manen Forde No
Ross Vasta Bonner No
Aaron Violi Casey No
Rick Wilson O'Connor No
Keith Wolahan Menzies No
Jason Wood La Trobe No
Ian Goodenough Moore Absent
Julian Leeser Berowra Absent
Scott Morrison Cook Absent
Jenny Ware Hughes Absent
National Party (92% turnout) 0 Yes 11 No
Sam Birrell Nicholls No
Darren Chester Gippsland No
Pat Conaghan Cowper No
David Gillespie Lyne No
Kevin Hogan Page No
Michelle Landry Capricornia No
David Littleproud Maranoa No
Michael McCormack Riverina No
Llew O'Brien Wide Bay No
Keith Pitt Hinkler No
Anne Webster Mallee No
Barnaby Joyce New England Absent
Milton Dick Oxley Speaker Absent
Totals (93% turnout) 85 Yes – 55 No