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Byron Shire
December 9, 2021

Airbnb mute on its political campaign

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Airbnb’s campaign letter against Labor’s planned holiday-let controls.

Airbnb’s Australian public policy and media spokesperson has declined to comment on whether his company is waging a political campaign against NSW Labor’s policy on holiday letting.

Last week The Echo reported that Airbnb had emailed its property hosts across NSW from its Ireland headquarters, specifically attacking Labor (and Greens) support for a registration system.

Such regulation is standard in many large European and US cities.

Revolving political and big business doors

Furthermore it’s emerged that the Airbnb spokesperson, Julian Crowley, is a former staffer to the NSW Liberal-National coalition.

According to his online LinkedIn profile, Crowley was an adviser to the NSW Attorney-General (April 2015 – January 2016) and an adviser to the minister for Family and Community Services (April 2014 – April 2015).

It’s not uncommon for political staff to be employed by large corporations who are also political donors to the same political parties.

Former NSW Liberal premier Mike Baird’s staffer – when treasurer – was Stephen Galilee. Galilee has been CEO of the NSW Minerals Council since leaving that post in 2012. 

The Echo also asked, ‘Why wouldn’t Airbnb want to ensure that its Australian customers operate in a safe and regulated environment?’

No on-record reply was received, only ‘background information’.

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  1. A few comments:

    1. Airbnb’s head of public affairs and communications former Liberal staffer and Coalition Ministers advisor Julian Crowley must be a member of the Liberal party. Airbnb has had regular access to Coalition ministers including Fair Trading minister Mat Kean and Planning Minister Anthony Roberts. Both these ministers were responsible for developing the holiday letting legislation. These appointments can be checked online by examining the minister’s electronic diaries.

    2. Airbnb does not want a registration scheme as they have seen their listings dramatically decrease when such a scheme was introduced in many overseas cities. In Japan there was a massive 80% decrease in listings overnight when a registration scheme was introduced. This means a lot less income for Airbnb. It is only about the money for Airbnb. No morality or ethics.

    3. When the holiday letting legislation was introduced and debated in the NSW Parliament in June, one amendment was accepted by both sides of the house. The amendment allowed for a registration scheme to be introduced in the still to be developed Code of Conduct. Some inside information from this committee developing this Code says that Airbnb is the only group opposing a registration system. One can only wonder why!

    • Airbnb is a major political donor to the Liberals. If the LNP is returned to power at the election next March Airbnb are going to expect some return and favours for their largesse. We shall see what transpires.

  2. Well there you go. Proof. If you live in Byron and vote lnp and have abnb you must be a tbnb (traitorous) to the entire western world… and a climate changer. Me too Shocking organisation air bnb …a resort destroyer I had them. when I realised what they were I stopped it. Wake up you greedy town killers

    • Malross, are you suggesting that Airbnb is one of the polluters responsible for climate change? Must be all the hot air and stinking noxious odours that Airbnb puts out.

  3. So an ex staffer works for a company (Airbnb) to lobby Govt. That would never happen in the coal industry, or defence, or banking, or taxis, or health, or infrastructure. I am shocked. It would never ever happen in NSW or Australia.

  4. Air BnB destroys community. Around the world, the greed merchants have been buying up apartments and houses for tourism income…not homes for themselves! The locals less fortunate, are then pushed to living miles away. We’ve seen it in Berlin, Istanbul, Barcelona. There needs to be some controls to stop this.
    In Byron, so many houses have been bought by similar greedy folk who don’t even live here… just in it for the money while the rest of us cope with the destruction of our town. Make them pay commercial rates/controls if they are not full time residents on the property.

    I’m ok with the darlings who live onsite and just want to rent a room now and then. BUT…the nasty folks with the big bucks who buy up multiple houses just for the tourist rental… need to be controlled. Pity they can’t be named and shamed. Damn our defamation laws! We could out them and maybe that would be an incentive to behave with humanity and ethics! Ha, in my dreams…


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