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



Abbott might be a buffoon but he is their buffoon


I wrote an article about Abbott back in August 2012. Recent events seem to confirm my analysis. Here is a snippet.

The bosses will welcome an Abbott victory. Buffoons can make good leaders for them, as Ronald Reagan and George W Bush showed in the US context.

But Abbott’s instability, his thought bubble approach to policy, his climate denialist base within the extreme right of the Liberal Party and the looming economic crisis in Australia all make for a possible tumultuous period of rule for the leader of the Opposition and his by and large unremarkable front bench if they win, as they will, the next election.

The key will be class struggle. How much longer can Australian workers not fight?

To see the whole article hit this link.


MERDEKA: the fight for freedom in West Papua

Ben Hillier has written an excellent and informative article on West Papua in the latest Red Flag. He says for example:

The number of dead has mounted during Indonesia’s 50-year occupation. Sydney University researchers John Wing and Peter King estimate that at least 100,000 have been killed. Exiled independence leader Benny Wenda claims that the number is half a million. They are victims of what has been called slow-burn genocide.

To read the whole article click here.

A lockout, a sit in, a picket

It’s a lockout, a sit in, a picket writes Jerome Small in Red Flag. It’s a rolling conversation. It’s woodsmoke, and chairs that fall apart. It’s the most ordinary thing that could happen, on an ordinary street, in an industrial suburb, in any city you care to name. In an ordinary, everyday way, it has paralysed the Australian operations of one of the biggest corporations on the planet.

It’s a lesson that I never get tired of learning. When workers stop working, it’s the most powerful thing on Earth.

The lockout, sit in and picket continues at International Flavours and Fragrances, 310 Frankston-Dandenong Road, Dandenong South. See Red Flag and the National Union of Workers facebook page for updates.

To read the whole article about these inspiring workers click here.

SYRIZA’s stunning victory in Greece


Mick Armstrong writing in Red Flag (before news of the coalition with the anti-austerity but racist ANEL party):

In and of itself, SYRIZA’s electoral victory won’t be sufficient to reverse the austerity measures. SYRIZA will face ongoing opposition and sabotage from every section of the Greek and European establishment: the bankers, the media moguls, the heads of the public service, the judges, the police chiefs and the army generals.

SYRIZA will only be able to implement its program in the face of this concerted opposition by mobilising its working class supporters in determined and ongoing struggle on the streets and in the workplaces.

Over the past six years, Greece has had more than 30 general strikes, the movement to occupy public squares, innumerable mass marches, the encircling of the parliament building, campaigns that refused to pay increased fees and so on. These mass mobilisations and the increased radicalisation of the Greek working class associated with them laid the basis for the spectacular rise of SYRIZA.

To read the whole article hit the link here.

Tony Abbott and Prince Philip: beknighted and benighted

Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.

Prometheus in The Masque of Pandora (1875) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The decision of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to make Prince Philip a knight is a masterstroke.

Like all royals, Philip is a parasite, a hangover from medieval times and the result of the incomplete English revolution. He is also racist, stupid, sexist, rude, idiotic and an elitist.

What a day too for the political genius Tony Abbott to announce yet another meaningless title for the man who has 33 of them already. Thirty three may be an overestimate. Or an underestimate. Who’d bother counting when the list includes names like  Extraordinary Commander of the Order of Military Merit or Lord High Admiral of the United Kingdom? Not to mention Knight Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Queen of Sheba.

As Megan Levy notes in the Fairfax media:

Among the more elaborate sounding decorations he has received are the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Condor of the Andes, from Bolivia; the Member of the Most Distinguished Order of Izzuddin, from the Maldives; the Knight of the Order of the Elephant, from Denmark; and from Ethiopia, the Knight Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Queen of Sheba.

He has also been awarded the Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold by Belgium; and the Grand Cordon of the National Order of the Leopard by Zaire, which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

So why not add Knight of the Order of Australia to the list of ridiculous titles?

Well, there are a number of reasons. One relates to Abbott’s political acumen or rather lack of it.

On Invasion Day (officially known as Australia Day)  ‘our’ Prime Minister recognises Prince Philip for, let me guess, his services to Aboriginal Australians among others. Here is just one example of that caring sharing approach of the Parasite Prince. He posed this question to Aboriginal leader William Brin during a visit to the Aboriginal Cultural Park in Queensland, 2002. ‘Do you still throw spears at each other?’ Yep, a totally appropriate award on this most racist of days.

Not only that but the knighthood, and the Englishness of its recipient, undermines the theme of ultra-patriotism and ‘Australianness’ the bourgeois have manufactured around Invasion Day in the last few decades as a distraction from their neoliberal attacks.

The gaffes of the Parasite Prince are well known. The Independent listed 90 of them on his 90th birthday. Of course they aren’t gaffes. They reflect the bigoted, biased, blinkered views of the British (and Australian) elite about themselves and the rest of us, their ‘inferiors.’


Abbott, by appointing the parasite Prince as a knight of the order of Australia, also shows how he too is a member of the elite, out of touch with ordinary Australians who not only overwhelmingly want a Republic but also despise Philip. Even his own side, people like Adam Giles, conservative Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, have ridiculed the knighthood, saying that it was Australia Day, ‘we’re not a bunch of tossers, let’s get it right.’

About the only people Abbott will keep happy with this are the Monarchists. They will be rattling their pearls and drinking their top shelf port or whisky to celebrate, all 3 of them.  Speaking of port, unlike Menzies, Abbott doesn’t drink port. So rather than becoming Lord of the Cinque Ports he is perhaps aiming to become Lord of the Sank Beers.

I think Abbott knows that politically he is a dead man walking and has decided to release his inner reactionary. That may well explain the enquiry into workplace relations (code for bringing back the highly unpopular vote losing Work Choices) which at least most of the ruling class want. But knighthhoods, and one for Philistine Phil? Seriously? No sensible member of the Australian ruling class sees that as in any way desirable or defensible and it destroys the ‘we are all in this Budget fixing together’ lie they are trying to promulgate. This latest blunder, one of such magnitude, shows how isolated from and toxic to the public Abbott is and may see him soon rolled. How much longer can the Liberals hang on to and with this buffoon? How much longer will the ruling class put up with their idiot? Not much longer I suspect.

That won’t end the nightmare, just replace one bad dream with another. Our own actions on the streets and in our workplaces (demos and strikes) in defending jobs, wages, conditions and public services, can end the nightmare of reaction social, economic and political reaction we are suffering.



Breaking news: Invasion day ‘celebrations’ disrupted

From Socialist Alliance, and Socialist Alliance Councillor Sue Bolton.

And this from Emerson Li, Socialist Alternative member. ‘Making history! Invasion Day protest takes over Australia Day parade!’

Emerson Li's photo.

Emerson Li's photo.

Emerson Li's photo.

Emerson Li's photo.

Emerson Li's photo.

Invasion Day marchers in Canberra


A map: white Australia has a black history

Embedded image permalink

All praise King Abdullah

Jon Lansom at Left Futures has a good piece on Tony Blair and the recently deceased Saudi butcher King Abdullah.

Here is a snippet:

And remember what else you could be flogged for in Abdullah’s kingdom:

  • for meeting members of the opposite sex who aren’t “close relatives” like 75-year old Khamisa Mohammed Sawadi and two men one of whom she had breast fed as a child;
  • for being a rape victim, like the  19-year old “al-Qatif Girl” who was attacked and gang-raped by seven men but received 200 lashes after authorities claimed she had confessed to the “crime” of having an affair with the male friend she had been with at the time (who received the same sentence);
  • for being gay, like the 24-year-old man jailed for three years and sentenced him to 450 lashes for arranging a date with a man on Twitter;
  • for bringing the wrong kind of chocolates into the country like the Filipino man who didn’t realise the two chocolate bars he’d bought on a stopover contained alcohol and got 75 lashes and a jail sentence.

Hit this link to read the whole exposé of Blair and Abdullah.

Here is a photo, I assume a re-creation, of what being flogged for being raped looks like. It certainly happened in Saudi Arabia in 2007 and on appeal the sentence was increased from 90 lashes to 200.


As Janine di Giovanni at Newsweek explains, beheadings are normal too, perhaps more so than by ISIS. According to di Giovanni ’31 people were beheaded between August 4 and September 22, when the last victim was beheaded, for “sorcery.” ‘

A woman proclaiming her innocence was recently beheaded for murder. The man who filmed the beheading (which human rights agencies showed) has been arrested.

No doubt all that free speech reform going on in Saudi Arabia will help change this. Oh that’s right. As The Guardian points out ‘Raif Badawi, the blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, to be meted out 50 at a time, was punished simply for running a liberal website dedicated to freedom of speech.’


At least the women of Saudi Arabia are free. Except they have to be accompanied everywhere by a male relative. And they are forbidden from driving. And four of Abdullah’s daughters are under virtual house arrest and have been for ten years for suggesting women have rights too. And, and, and …

Don’t worry. At the next election all this will change. Except they don’t have national elections in Saudi Arabia. Power resides in figures like Abdullah (but not his 35 wives, obviously.)

So why this exceptionalism from the West for Saudi Arabia? Why this fawning over a brutal and medieval dictator? Oil. Oil prices. Arms sales. And despite its support for terrorism the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia is one of the strongest supporters of the US. They have common enemies, like Iran. Saudi Arabia provides ‘stability’ in the region. In other words the dictatorship keeps or helps keep the pro-US status quo.

That is why flags are flying at half mast around the world, including here in Australia, for this butcher.  “Our” governor general Peter Cosgrove has skipped Invasion Day celebrations to suck up to the Saudi dictators. It is after all about priorities.

Invasion Day


Van T Rudd 2015.

Cleaning the muck of ages from the windows into the soul of tax

Cleaning the muck of ages from the windows into the soul of tax

Abstract: The aim of this paper is to provide readers with an insight into Marx’s methods as a first step to understanding income tax more generally but with specific reference to Australia’s income tax system. I do this by introducing readers to the ideas about the totality that is capitalism, appearance and form, and the dialectic in Marx’s hands. This will involve looking at income tax as part of the bigger picture of capitalism, and understanding that all things are related and changes in one produce changes in all. Appearances can be deceptive and we need to delve below the surface to understand the reality or essence of income and, hence, of income tax. Dialectics is the study of change. By developing an understanding of the processes of contradiction and change in society, the totality, we can then start to understand income tax and its role in our current society more deeply. To do that, we need to understand the ways of thinking and approaches that Marx and others have employed. Only then, armed with the tools we have discovered, can we begin the process of cleaning the muck of ages from the windows into the soul of tax and move from the world of appearance to the essence of tax.

The link is here. You can then download the paper from the link in the middle.