John Passant

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Me quoted in Fairfax papers on tax haven use
Me quoted by Georgia Wilkins in The Age (and other Fairfax publications) today. John Passant, from the school of political science and international relations, at the Australian National University, said the trend noted by Computershare was further evidence multinationals did not take global regulators seriously. ”US companies are doing this on the hard-nosed basis that any [regulatory] changes that will be made won’t have an impact on their ability to avoid tax,” he said. ”They think it is going to take a long time for the G20 to take action, or that they are just all talk.” (1)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Real debate?

System change, not climate change



Class war here to pay for war overseas and spies everywhere

The government has increased ASIO and other spy agency spending by $630 million a year.  The war in Iraq will cost an extra $500 million a year.

So who is going to pay for this? You and me, through more Budget cuts.

Treasurer Joe Hockey told AM: ‘ There have been a number of initiatives already announced which are very important, such as increased funding for security, we need to identify the savings that help to pay for those sorts of new initiatives.’

Hockey will announce the details of the billions in new cuts to pay for war and to cover the previous Budget measures the Senate rejected in December in the mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (MYEFO) budget update.

Abbott and Hockey are bringing the class war home. The message from the Abbott government couldn’t be any clearer. The war in Iraq is going to accelerate the war on workers and the poor, the sick, the disabled, the young, the old and the unemployed here in Australia.


Australia’s Prime Minister is dog-whistling to racists to physically attack women who wear burqas

Australia’s Prime Minister is dog-whistling to racists to physically attack women who wear burqas.

By his terror hysteria and war propaganda Abbott has unleashed a wave of violence against Muslims, especially Muslim women, and has not said let alone done one thing to protect them. By him joining the ban the burqa brigade (nudge nudge wink wink) he is deliberately inflaming tensions even more.

Mass protests grow in Hong Kong

Sue Sparks reports in RS21 on the  protests growing on the streets of Hong Kong.

Protests getting bigger by late afternoon Monday (Photo: Sue Sparks)

The mass protests on the streets of Hong Kong over the past few days have been inspiring. The protests started with university students holding class boycotts and then public lectures in central Hong Kong. These led to an occupation of Civic Square, a space – as its name suggests – which is supposed to be open to the public but that has recently been fortified with huge fences. After prevaricating, the leaders of the movement called Occupy Central, which had planned to occupy roads in the central business district on October 1st, decided to bring the date forward and essentially merge the movements.

On Sunday, the students were joined by tens of thousands of other Hongkongers, mostly, but not exclusively, young. The police blocked access to the main protest site. They expected that they could simply move in and arrest the core group, while everyone else drifted off home. This didn’t happen. They were frustrated by the sheer numbers of people who decided to break through the over stretched police lines and take possession of a series of key roads in the centre of the city, where many of them remain. The police surrounding the original protest essentially got surrounded themselves. They attempted to dislodge the protesters with pepper spray, tear gas and baton charges, but failed. The riot police were withdrawn this [Monday] morning, who knows for how long. Meanwhile, protests spread to other parts of the city, including Nathan Road in Mong Kok, Kowloon, one of the city’s main roads, and another major retail and business area, Causeway Bay.

Protesters start surging into the road (Photo: Sue Sparks)

While pictures of riot police using tear gas against thousands of protesters this weekend may have taken people in the rest of the world by surprise, in reality this situation has been in the making for a very long time.

The immediate touch-paper for the events has been the announcement by Beijing of the terms under which they intend the long awaited introduction of universal suffrage for the election of Chief Executive of Hong Kong to take place in 2017. The terms were even more restrictive than expected with only 2 or 3 candidates being selected by a narrowly-based nomination committee of 1200 people, stuffed with Beijing loyalists. It is clear that no candidate critical of Beijing will get on the ballot. More than half of the Hong Kong population believes that the plan should be vetoed by Hong Kong’s parliament as such an election would be about as democratic as North Korea.

What in many ways has made people even angrier is the farcical public consultation carried out by the HKSAR government earlier this year. 800,000 people voted overwhelmingly in a well-organised, although unofficial, referendum, that they wanted some form of public nomination of candidates. The government, however, reported to Beijing that Hong Kong public opinion was broadly supportive of there being a nominating committee and screening of candidates, which Beijing says is the only option under the Basic Law governing the relations between Hong Kong and Beijing.

Police sealed off the protest site but people are made a determined effort to get there. (Photo: Sue Sparks)

This is not all: increasing attacks on journalists, including physical ones, and signs both of censorship and self-censorship of the media; threats to judicial independence; attempts to bring in anti-subversion laws and ‘patriotic’ education; and increasing corruption all have Hongkongers worried that Beijing is not waiting for 50 years after the handover to start cracking down on freedom of speech and the rule of law. Underlying all this is the fact that Hong Kong is the most unequal society in the developed world, a city where millions work very long hours for low wages and live in cramped, ludicrously expensive apartments, where there is a totally inadequate welfare system, especially for the elderly, while the government builds up huge budget surpluses year after year.

People believe, rightly, that Hong Kong is run by, and in the interests of, a massively wealthy oligarchy who have thrown in their lot with Beijing, who care only about maintaining and increasing their wealth, and who increasingly derive their profits from mainland China and from sweatshops all over Asia. These same people lecture the mass of Hongkongers about patriotism and advise them to shut up and accept what Beijing offers. It is no wonder they are angry.

There have been plenty of mass protests in the last few years, too, so coming out on the streets is nothing new. People succeeded in getting the local government to back off over Article 23 in 2003 (the subversion law) and over national education in 2012, which spawned the Scholarism school student movement so prominent in the latest protests. This is a much tougher fight. Although Beijing was behind both of the previous attempts, it was still the Hong Kong government ostensibly taking the decisions. This time, Beijing has spoken directly, and it will take a massive effort to get them to back down. Mass strikes could do it, but the unions are weak and divided, with the largest federation (the HKFTU) a pro-Beijing sham. Nevertheless, the Professional Teachers’ Union, which belongs to the pro-democracy HKCTU, has called a strike in protest at the police actions. Workers at a Coca Cola factory in one of the major new towns in the New Territories, Sha Tin, also voted to strike after an emergency meeting on Monday morning.

The leaders of Occupy Central are, unfortunately, a well-meaning but tactically inept lot: a collection of law professors, clergymen and the like, who have succeeded in creating divisions with the student leadership, which, while more intransigent, is quite inexperienced. There is a strong possibility the Occupy Central leaders, having imagined a nice, contained, civil disobedience action and instead finding themselves with street battles, will want to retreat, in a move they will justify as a re-grouping process.

Talking to people on the protests about the way forward, there seemed to be anger, but also a degree of fatalism – we can’t change Beijing’s mind, but we’re going to keep on protesting anyway, because we have to try to maintain the freedoms we already have. That it is a mass movement is undeniable. When a 23 year old veterinary assistant called Crystal turns up on the night of her birthday when she sees students being tear gassed, and there’s also a 91 year old woman who left the mainland decades ago, you know it’s a mass movement.

Hong Kong: workers strike for democracy

This is a note from LabourStart about the situation in Hong Kong. This strike call pits workers, the one social force that can win this battle, against the dictatorship, and raises the possibility of drawing in workers in China itself and going beyond bourgeois democracy to genuine democracy


Support the online campaigns!

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) – the only independent union in China – has called for workers to strike in support of the democracy movement as mass civil disobedience actions come under heavy police attack.The Swire Beverages (Coca-Cola) union and the HKCTU unions of school teachers and dockers are striking and will be joined by other member unions.Tensions have been building in Hong Kong since the August 31 government announcement that candidates for the position of Chief Executive would have to be vetted and approved by a pro-business, pro-Beijing committee.The protests, originally organized by the students’ federation and the Occupy Central coalition, have drawn increasing numbers of supporters. The mainland government has harshly condemned the protestors’ demands and the “illegal” protests.On September 28, the HKCTU declared “we cannot let the students fight alone”, and called for workers to strike in support of 4 demands: the immediate release of all the arrested, an end to the suppression of peaceful assembly, replacing the “fake universal suffrage” formula with the genuine political reform workers have been demanding, and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying.

The HKCTU has been the backbone of the democracy movement, before and following Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule. Their courageous action deserves the support of trade unions everywhere.  Show your support – click on the links above. Then, spead the word – click on the links below.   Thank you.

Eric Lee

My Razor Sharp interview with Sharon Firebrace 29 September

This is the link to my 30 minute Razor Sharp interview with Sharon Firebrace on 29 September. We discuss the anti-Liberal polls, the reluctance to jump immediately into bed with Labor, war, the terrorism hysteria, big business and tax and the erosion of freedoms and liberties.

Dear Victoria Police Complaints Unit

Some of you may remember the abusive cop on my blog and the death threat in the same post from another person. After much thinking about it in January this year I asked the Victoria Police Complaints Unit to investigate.  It may come as a surprise but nothing has eventuated.


Dear Victoria Police Complaints Unit

Here is a snippet from my latest article in New Matilda about Victoria police inaction against death threats and abusive posts from Victorian police headquarters. But don’t worry. I have no expectation you will actually do anything given I am just a socialist and your officers need protecting from people like me.

‘Another commenter who called themselves Dirty Unwashedc*nts (DUC) among other things said: ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story hey cockhead?’ There were other abusive comments from them.

‘It turns out the IP address that DUC was using was the Victoria Police Centre at 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne.’

Could you please provide me with a copy of my file in relation to my complaint made in early January this year and all documents, papers, files, notes, comments, meeting details, telephone records, comments, whether electronic, paper or otherwise, in relation to me.  I have made this request previously but you refused to act on it.  There should be no charge for this request since your seeming inaction on my complaint has required me to make it.

I have cc’d in Jack Waterford, the editor at large of the Canberra Times and will send a copy of this to Chris Graham, the editor of New Matilda and to a Greens Victorian politician I know.

Kind regards


John Passant

ASIO ate my homework


With the freedom lovers restricting freedom even further to defend freedom, (oh, and don’t forget security), I am reminded of this from Peter Arnett about Bến Tre city in Vietnam on 7 February 1968.

He wrote that a US army commander said:

It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.

Listening to our Prime Minister and Attorney-General recently on more ASIO powers and restrictions on the media I think what they are saying is that it has become necessary to destroy freedom to save it.

Apart from jailing journalists for the crime of exposing ASIO’s crimes, the legislation gives far-reaching powers to ASIO to hack the net and change material. As a parliamentary committee said:

The amendment would enable ASIO to use a third party computer or ‘communication in transit’ in order to access data held on a target computer. If necessary to achieve the purpose, ASIO would also be able to add, copy, delete or alter data on the third party computer or communication in transit.

So the kids of radical leftists will now be able to say that ASIO ate their homework. Any attempt by teachers to elicit information could then be met with the claim that to reveal more would render the children liable for prosecution under section 35P of the ASIO Act which makes it a crime punishable by ten years in jail to reveal details of ASIO operations.   There is one small silver lining to these profound attacks on our freedoms.

Rugby League – the workers’ game?

Tickets prices for the Rugby League Grand Final:

Grand Final Ticket Prices
Adult Concession Junior Family
Diamond $380 — — —
Platinum $310 — — —
Gold $245 $230 $215 $705
Silver $165 $120 $95 $420
Supporter Sections $165 $120 $95 $420
Bronze $80 $60 $50 $190

Note*: Service/Delivery fees from $5.35 will apply depending on the method of delivery selected.

Ah, the workers’ game …

Murdoch fuelled white terrorist threatens to behead young Muslim students: the headline you won’t see

In the spirit of Government and media fear mongering and hysteria, I thought I’d mirror the Murdoch and Fairfax press and borrow from their reporting on Muslims over the last few weeks to report on a completely mythical case of a white man with a knife in a Muslim school – see the Sydney Morning Herald’s very sober report here for example – and put it into proper perspective.

I look forward to The Australian or The Age running this objective report. It bears no relationship to the truth so should be published.


Murdoch fuelled white terrorist threatens to behead young Muslim students

Random white guy

In a dawn raid on the Sydney home of suspected white terrorist Bryant Martin, 870 police managed to subdue and arrest the armed suspect.

Mr Martin had knives in his kitchen, police confirmed. The day before Mr Martin had entered a Muslim school with one of those potentially deadly weapons and threatened to behead students, some as young as five.

‘The brave Aussie Muslim kids were shaken and receiving counselling but are bearing up remarkably well,’ the school head said.

‘They are used to this sort of thing on a daily basis,’ she said. ‘Right wing groups and racist thugs are abusing them on their way to and from school every day. They have toughened up. It’s the Aussie spirit.’

The Prime Minister condemned the attack as unAustralian. Mr Abbott said that he had ordered ASIO and the Federal Police to investigate white racist hate groups and to excise this cancer from Australian society. ‘We will leave no stone unturned in destroying this evil holding a dagger to the heart of Australia and our way of life,’ he said.

In what amounts to an incredible defeat for the white terrorist and his networks, Mr Abbott said that Mr Martin had been expelled from Team Australia. Police have reported that Mr Martin became severely depressed on hearing the news. Reports from the white community suggest it has become demoralised and fears the same fate.

Counter terrorism expert Truth McOrwell has warned that this case exposes the grave dangers Australia faces. ‘From Vietnam, to Iraq, to Afghanistan, just to name a few in recent memory, the white community has a long history of violence overseas, she said. ‘It was only a matter of time before that violence came home.’

‘Of course violence has always been here in the war against Aborigines but that is just par for the course in all sectors of our society. That is nothing to worry about. Attacking non-Aborigines is a different matter altogether, ‘she said.

McOrwell said that the combination of overseas violence and the proliferation of extremist material in the white community had created the conditions for a perfect storm. ‘That small minority in the white community has expanded its targets. Couple that with the profound sense of alienation some young whites feel, especially young men, and the recipe for more and more outbreaks of random white violence is there in droves,’ she said.

Ms McOrwell added there was something else deeply concerning about all of this. ‘The white community is over-represented in the institutions of the state,’ she said. ‘The police, the armed forces, the parliaments, the judiciary, the secret spy services, all are dominated by the white community and mostly by angry old and not so old men. The media is the same,’ she said.

‘This is a systemic issue that will not go away unless we weed out the white extremists in our institutions and in the media,’ she said. ‘On top of that the white community has a responsibility to condemn these sorts of attacks and to wean their young men off radicalism,’ Ms McOrwell said. ‘It will not be easy. This war against white extremism could take a decade or more,’ she added.

Meanwhile police would neither confirm nor deny that this was a lone wolf terrorist operation. ‘We know that Mr Martin had extensive contacts in the white community but it is too early yet to speculate on whether he was acting alone or in concert with others in his white circles.’

ASIO confirmed that Mr Martin had come to their attention some months earlier. ‘He was taking particular interest in the works of The Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Herald-Sun,’ an unnamed spokesperson who threatened to jail me if I revealed their identity, said. ‘He also dabbled in the Age and The Sydney Morning Herald,’ the ASIO spokesperson added.

‘While it is not a crime to read fundamentalist propaganda, for ASIO there is often a link between such extremist material and actions,’ he said. ‘We have been keeping a close eye on him since we had a tip off from an informer in the white community that he was reading The Australian for more than a few minutes a day. It wasn’t just the sport or TV section either,’ the spokesman added. ‘Reading the work of radicals like Paul Kelly, Dennis Shanahan, Miranda Devine, Andrew Bolt, Piers Akermann and Paul Kenny is a dead giveaway,’ they said.

‘It is like a gateway drug,’ they added. ‘Not everyone who reads these white publications is a white terrorist, but every white terrorist reads these publications.’

The final word came from Mr Abbott.’This is not about demonising a particular group in society,’ he said. ‘It is about stopping crime. It is about stoping crime. White terrorism is a crime. White terrorism is a crime.’ Is there an echo in here?

Mr Martin was released on ten dollars bail to reappear in 3 years time if he wants to. He was also ordered to buy the cops a few beers on the understanding they didn’t see a thing.

For those interested here’s a report on a threat to behead a young man mistaken for a Muslim on the Gold Coast. The headline reads Anti-Islamic teens threaten to behead gold Coast man they mistook for a Muslim. Not quite the headline we are looking for but getting a little closer.

One law for the rich, one law for the rest of us

A snippet from my latest article in New Matilda about police inaction against death threats and abusive posts from Victorian police headquarters.

‘Another commenter who called themselves Dirty Unwashedc*nts (DUC) among other things said: ‘Never let the truth get in the way of a good story hey cockhead?’ There were other abusive comments from them.

‘It turns out the IP address that DUC was using was the Victoria Police Centre at 637 Flinders Street, Melbourne.’

You can read the whole article here.