John Passant

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March 2015
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Lex Wotton
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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. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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
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Real debate?
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System change, not climate change
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Bourgeois politics in Australia is in turmoil

James Supple writes in the socialist magazine Solidarity about the ongoing and deep-seated problems in bourgeois politics. He finishes off with this:

Underpinning the turmoil in parliamentary politics is the low level of class struggle. The greatest strength the working class majority has is in its industrial strength and in mass movements to fight for change outside of parliament. This is where real reforms, for land rights, equal pay, penalty rates and long service leave, have been won.

That is why socialists put such emphasis on fanning the flames of struggle—this is where the hope for change lies.

To read the whole article click here.

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The nature of the Labor Party

I have written about the Australian Labor Party and its changing nature viewed through the Minerals Resource Rent Tax disaster. I argue basically that it is moving from a capitalist workers’ party to a capitalist party. Passant, J. (2014). The minerals resource rent tax: the Australian Labor Party and the continuity of change. Accounting Research Journal, 27 (1), 19-36.

This link gets you to the paper on the University  of Wollongong Research Page and you can download it from there, I hope.

The attack on penalty rates

Alex McAuley in Red Flag discusses the attempts of the government and the bosses to further cut, or even abolish, penalty rates. This drive won’t go away despite the ongoing crises in the Abbott government seeing the Employment Minister, Senator Eric Abetz, divorce the government from the Productivity Committee inquiry and from implementing any recommendations about either penalty rates or the minimum wage before or after the 2016 election. They know as well as anyone that embracing cuts to the minimum wage and penalty rates would destroy completely their very slim chances of re-election. If, god forbid, they were re-elected they could then change their minds and implement the recommendations to cut the minimum wage and get rid of penalty rates. A government saying one thing before an election and doing something different after. Hard to believe eh?

In the article Alex says, among other things:

Stripping penalty rates from awards would immediately affect 1.5 million workers whose wages and conditions are set by these minimum standards. Workers on awards are concentrated in industries in which weekend and shift work are common – retail, hospitality, health care, social support and manufacturing. The Australian Council of Trade Unions estimates that workers in service industries like shop assistants, cleaners and hairdressers would be $50 to $90 a week worse off without penalty rates.

To read the whole article click this link.

Has Tony Abbott attempted to pervert the course of a police investigation?

According to Ben Doherty in The Guardian today (Thursday 26 February):

The Australian federal police has confirmed it is investigating whether the attorney general, George Brandis, broke the law by offering the Human Rights Commission president, Gillian Triggs, a job in exchange for her resignation, but Tony Abbott has said there was no impropriety.

………….

At a media conference in Sydney on Wednesday, the prime minister insisted there was nothing untoward about the approach.

“Calm, calm, calm,” Abbott told reporters.

“I’ll address this [question and] then it’s time to go back to Canberra and it’s very simple. It’s very simple. The government has lost confidence in Gillian Triggs as president of the Human Rights Commission. We’ve lost confidence in her.

“What she does is a matter for her but as the secretary of the attorney general’s department has made clear, she was not asked to resign and no inducement has been offered.”

Given that the AFP is investigating whether Triggs was asked to resign and if an inducement was offered to get her to do so, isn’t Abbott’s categorical and unequivocal statement that ‘she was not asked to resign and no inducement has been offered’ itself possibly an attempt to pervert the course of justice? Will he too be investigated?

Yes, it is all about the children, so bring them here

 

Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister in waiting, has distanced himself from Tony Abbott, the current Prime Minister, and Abbott’s trashing of Gillian Triggs, the Human Rights Commissioner. In doing so Turnbull has repeated the lies of the Prime Minister about stopping the boats being the best way to keep asylum seeker children out of detention.

Here is what James Massola in the Sydney Morning Herald reports:

“The bottom line is this: one child in detention is one child too many. Everyone is anguished by having children locked up in detention,” [Mr Turnbull] said.

“The best way for children not to be in detention is of course for them to not get onto smugglers boats and of course we have effectively ensured that by Scott Morrison stopping the boats.”

This is only true if you have a policy of detaining asylum seeker children. Releasing them and their families into the Australian community would avoid the physical and emotional suffering that arises from locking them up.

As well, stopping the boats only outsources the problem to Indonesia and Malaysia, where tens of thousands of asylum seeker kids and their parents rot in hell holes.

Gillian Triggs was quite right to point out the abuse of asylum seeker children that went on under Labor and is going on under the Liberals. That should be our focus instead of the circus about so-called political partisanship that the Abbott government is using to hide its abuse of children.

There is an alternative to brutalising kids. Bring them and all the other asylum seekers to Australia for release into the community.

Unionists for refugees launch

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Unionists for Refugees Launch

6:30pm Tuesday 3 March 2015

Belconnen Labor Club, Chandler St, Belconnen

The Australian government’s attacks on refugees have operated as a distraction while union rights, jobs and hard-won conditions and wages are under attack. Unions have always been at the forefront of campaigns for social justice, and they play a vital role in the fight for refugee rights.

Please join us for the launch of Unionists for Refugees at a public meeting with ACTU President Ged Kearney from 6.30pm, Tuesday 3 March at the Belconnen Labor Club (Fred Daly Room), Chandler St, Belconnen.

If you would like to help by distributing leaflets and posters within your union or around town please contact mail@refugeeaction.org. There are drop-off points both north and southside. The Facebook event page can be found here. The leaflet for the event can be found here.

With all this loss of confidence, why doesn’t the Abbott government just dissolve the people and elect another?

 

Every time I hear the government saying they have lost confidence in the Human Rights Commissioner, Gillian Triggs, it reminds me of this from Bertolt Brecht.

The Solution

After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

Was an inducement offered to get Gillian Triggs, the Human Rights Commissioner, to resign?

I was going to write asking why aren’t the Australian Federal Police investigating if Attorney General George Brandis and the head of his department, Chris Moraitis,  have breached the criminal code, for example , by offering “a benefit, or the promise of the provision of a benefit … with the intention of influencing a public official”. This arises after testimony today by Gillian Triggs, reported by Lenore Taylor in the Guardian that, according to Triggs:

… Moraitis asked for her resignation, on behalf of Brandis, and offered her “other work with the government”. She said there was no doubt the resignation request and the work offer “were linked” and she considered the proposal “disgraceful” because the Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory authority.

It appears the Labor Party has beaten me to it. According to Lenore Taylor and Daniel Hurst in The Guardian:

Labor has formally asked the Australian federal police [AFP] to investigate whether the job offer made on behalf of the attorney general, George Brandis, to the Human Rights Commission president, Gillian Triggs, was an inducement that constitutes “corrupt and unlawful conduct.”

If or when the AFP refuses to investigate, or finds no breach, can we mount a private prosecution? And if the meeting took place in Canberra, can the ACT Attorney General, and Labor Party Deputy Chief Minister, Simon Corbell, launch a prosecution?

Just who is the real threat to Australian workers?

Ben Hillier in Red Flag asks a few pertinent questions (and answers them.)

Who is the threat to workers?

Who is the threat to the 800,000 unemployed, and the 1 million “underemployed” who can’t get enough work?

Who is the threat to the more than 100,000 homeless people around the country?

Who is the threat to pensioners?

Who is the threat to working class kids?

Who is the threat to Aboriginal people?

Who is the threat to democracy?

Who is the threat to privacy?

Not surprisingly, the answer isn’t terrorists.

 

Ben finishes off with:

This government, and the opposition that so often backs it, preaches freedom, democracy and fairness. This pledge is hollow, cover for a future of fear, poverty, desperation and insecurity, all in aid of giving a worthless government a mirage of strength and the rich a more pliant workforce.

The only defence from this Liberal future is a renewed pledge to stand truly by each other – in our unions, on the campuses and on the streets. That’s the other reason my mind was cast, away from the very real and grotesque voice of the PM, to the distant image of Eureka. Because our history shows that in solidarity we have strength.

To read the whole article and the answers to the questions above hit the link, Terrorists aren’t the real threat.

Je suis Hizb ut-Tahrir anyone?

Australian media is full of suggestions that the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, will ban Hizb ut-Tahrir as part of his national security announcement this Monday.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a fundamentalist Islamic organisation. As it says on its Australian website:

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political party whose ideology is Islam, so politics is its work and Islam is its ideology. It works within the Ummah and together with her, so that she adopts Islam as her cause and is led to restore the Khilafah and the ruling by what Allah (swt) revealed. Hizb ut-Tahrir is a political group and not a priestly one. Nor is it an academic, educational or a charity group. The Islamic thought is the soul of its body, its core and the secret of its life. 

Readers will of course remember the shock and then outrage when 2 Islamic terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo in Paris and killed 12 people.  The clamour to defend free speech was overwhelming. Who can forget the parade of hypocritical world leaders in Paris a few days later proclaiming Je suis Charlie? Here is a photo to remind you.

 

Will any of the Je suis Charlie crowd be defending Hizb ut-Tahrir and its rights to freedom of speech and association? No.

After all, Charlie Hebdo was a magazine whose main role was to attack Muslims in France, an oppressed group. In doing that it reinforced the power of the State and the racists in the name of secularity.

Hizb ut-Tahrir represents one response to the alienation that is found both in capitalist society generally and in Australia and a repudiation of bloody Western Imperialism and its invasions of and control over Muslim countries through overt and covert means.

None of our political rulers will defend Hizb ut-Tahrir. They believe in free speech for the oppressors, not the oppressed.

Banning Hizb ut-Tahrir sets a precedent. If ‘dangers to society’ like it can be outlawed, what about socialist organisations that argue for a new world, a democratic society in which production is organised to satisfy human need?

Oh, that would never happen, I hear you say. It is only terrorist organisations that the State will target.

Not true. In World War I the Hughes government banned the Industrial Workers of the World, made membership illegal and closed down their printing presses.

After the Second World War the Menzies government banned the Communist Party of Australia. The High Court held the ban was unconstitutional.

The various anti-bikie laws currently in place in a number of States aren’t just capable of applying to so-called criminal bikie gangs. In Queensland for example any organisation can be declared an outlaw group.

Remember David Hicks, Mamdouh Habib and  Muhamed Haneef.  Remember David Eastman. Remember the tens of thousands of asylum seekers and their children we lock up for no crime. Remember all the Aborigines our rulers imprison and our police silence.

I have no truck with Hizb ut-Tahrir. However if we seriously believe in freedom of speech and association, and understand the sorry history in Australia and elsewhere of silencing people, including the left, then we have to defend the group against attempts to ban it.  Je suis Hizb ut-Tahrir.