Liberal MP Wendy Lovell is under fire for suggesting social housing children shouldn’t be placed in affluent areas where they cannot mix with children from rich families.
Premier blasting attempts to clarify the view as “pathetic”.
Wendy Lovell was debating a homelessness Bill put forward by the Greens on Wednesday night when she made the comments about affordable housing.
“We also need to make sure that we put those properties in areas where families are accepted and where families can flourish,” Ms Lovell said in the house debating the bill.
“There is no point putting a very low income, probably welfare-dependent family in the best street in Brighton where the children cannot mix with others or go to the school with other children or where they do not have the same ability to have the latest in sneakers and iPhones et cetera.
“We have got to make sure that people can actually fit into a neighbourhood, that they have a good life and that people are not stigmatising them because of their circumstances.”
The statement immediately drew a strong reaction from the government and the crossbench.
Attempts made to clarify what was said also attacked.
Labor MP Mark Gepp attacking Ms Lovell said:
“Go back and read the transcript. If you want to know what you said, go back and read the transcript, because everybody in this place heard it loudly and clearly,” he said.
“… your position on the socio-economic ladder should never determine your participation in this society under any circumstances. Shame on you for suggesting that it should.”
Ms Lovell has stood by her comments.
“I think that public housing should be for those who need it and it should be in areas where people actually get a good opportunity to get a good life,” she was quoted saying by the Herald Sun.
Her leader and the leader of Opposition Matthew Guy defended Ms Lovell saying the comments were well-meaning put exceptionally clumsily.
“I think Wendy means well and made some exceptionally clumsy remarks in talking about stigmatisation, and they are exceptionally clumsy,” Matthew Guy was quoted saying in the story.
“And I do think as a former Housing Minister, she is certainly trying to find the best contention. It hasn’t certainly been put that way. I think we all agree on that.
“Social housing, in my view, should go where there are services available for people who need it.”
Premier Daniel Andrews has blasted attempts by the Liberals to clarify Ms Lovell’s statements as “pathetic”.
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