Russell Brand responds to Tony Abbott's statement on housing crisis by accusing Australia of being a 'prison colony'

The campaigning comedian criticised lack of 'compassion'

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The Independent Online

Russell Brand asked: "Is Australia still basically a prison colony?" in response to Australian politicians' denials of the housing crisis.

Australian PM Tony Abbott and treasurer Joe Hockey each issued controversial statements about housing this week, as campaigners argue there is a shortage of affordable housing in cities such as Sydney.

Rent in some areas has risen at twice the rate of inflation between 2005 and 2010, and public housing units have declined by 32,000 while the population rose sharply.

Joe Hockey has been accused of being out of touch with everyday economic realities

Abbott stood up in parliament and said that, as he's a homeowner in Sydney: "I hope house prices are increasing." He was met with boos from his audience, and Brand described the situation as" absolute chaos" and said that the atmosphere gave the impression Australia was being run from a swimming baths.

Comparing capitalism to a religious ideology more dangerous than ISIS, Brand asked: "What about ideas such as compassion, sharing, helping others? Those are not ideas in which we're interested. Not in our ideology."

Hockey's argument that if housing were too expensive, people wouldn't buy it was derided by the comedian, who said that was basically the equivalent of responding "f**k off". The politician also said that if you had "a good job ... [that] pays well" you could afford a home.


Brand linked the housing crisis to the increase in the Australian prison population - as the number of people held in private prisons has increased by 95 per cent over the last 15 years.

"One aspect of prison life, or prison economics, is that it's a bloody profitable thing," Brand said, going to to state there was "good bunts" in the business.