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John Passant

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April 2010



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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

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Julia Gillard is the Peter Reith of the Labor Party

Julia Gillard is the Peter Reith of the Labor Party. Of course she’s more nuanced, more articulate and has more influence over the trade union movement than Reith. That makes her more dangerous to workers and more useful to the bosses.

Her value to capital and closeness to the trade union and Labor Party bureaucrats explains why, if Labor wins the Federal election this year, she will replace Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister in 2011 or early 2012.

Her record on unions is abysmal. Her workplace goons, the Australian Building and Construction Commission, intimidate building workers from conducting legitimate trade union activity under threat of criminal prosecutions.

Ark Tribe faces 6 months’ jail on Gillard’s watch for the heinous crime of attending a union safety stop-work meeting and not telling the ABCC what was discussed. His union, the CFMEU, to its credit is threatening strikes if he is jailed.

Gillard has argued that the ABCC is there to stop illegal activity in the building industry. This is rubbish. How many bosses has the ABCC prosecuted? How many has it dragged before the Courts over deaths on site or poor safety?

The ABCC is about stopping workers defending their wages and conditions. It is no accident deaths and injuries on site have gone up since the ABCC was set up.

Gillard supports an employer appeal against a Fair Work Australia ruling giving unions limited workplace access. As the CFMEU points out the stronger the union presence the safer the workplace.

Her Government does not support a catch up for low paid workers who received no pay increase during the Global Financial Crisis.  Gillard has refused to nominate a figure for the pay increase. She won’t even support the ACTU, the peak union body, and its claim for a miserly $27 a week.

Gillard’s award restructuring is an open invitation to bosses to cut wages and conditions. She has done a bit of posturing against the bosses on this but nothing concrete. It’s nudge nudge wink wink stuff.

Unions in the Pilbara region of Western Australia earlier this year held ‘illegal’ strikes over accommodation changes. Now the company, Woodside, is suing the union and its Assistant Secretary for up to $22,000. Gillard flew to Western Australia to mix with the big wigs of mining capital and reassure them that the Government supported their attacks on workers.

Gillard is not only the smiling attack dog in charge of industrial relations. She is also destroying education in Australia through her My School actions.

My School is the Government’s education site where you can see how your school is ‘performing’ compared to others.

This comparison is based on results from compulsory tests over various school years. The results are made public and parents and educators can supposedly see how their school is going and make life decisions accordingly.

One of the arguments is that My School will highlight problems that schools can address. Of course without a massive injection of  funding, and with inadequate teacher pay and numbers,  those problems will remain and enrolments and Government expenditure will follow the (mainly private) money.

The teachers’ union is meeting this week to debate banning teacher supervision of the tests. If this were carried it would destroy the validity of My School.

Gillard’s response has been to threaten to organise parents to scab on teachers and supervise the tests.

So untrained, inexperienced people are going to replace teachers. Will they be paid? Will they be rigorously assessed like teachers are to judge their suitability for working with children? 

Peter Reith trained his scabs. In Dubai. He protected them with armed thugs and dogs. The Wharfies stopped the scabs with strong picket lines. (They won in the courts but lost in the ports. That is another story and a lesson the teachers must learn. Rely on your industrial strength, not the courts.)

If Gillard wants to send in scabs, the Teachers’ Union should appeal to parents not to scab. It should work with parent organisations to point out the real issues at stake. Thankfully some have already said they won’t scab.

And finally union members should, just as the Maritime Union did so successfully in defeating the first Peter Reith, set up strong picket lines at schools to stop any scabs and call on other unions and the community to join them in stopping a few misguided parents.



Pingback from Tweets that mention En Passant » Julia Gillard is the Peter Reith of the Labor Party —
Time April 12, 2010 at 5:47 am

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Western Australia. Western Australia said: En Passant » Julia Gillard is the Peter Reith of the Labor Party […]

Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time April 12, 2010 at 7:19 am

John, I’ve put a reference to this excellent article on my Facebook page — hope you don’t mind.

Comment from John
Time April 12, 2010 at 8:23 am

Of course I don’t mind Auntie Rhoberta. Glad you like it.

Comment from David Sanderson
Time April 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm

This is Marxist determinism gone mad. I’d be happy to bet that Gillard will not take over in the timeframe indicated here.

Comment from Peter Bowden
Time April 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm

I find it extremely disappointing that Opinion on Line would publish such a biased and dishonest statement at the beginning of the current email announcement. Two clear differences between Gillard and Reith is that she is honest, The second is that she cares more about people than Reith ever did. The biased opinions about school testing and the NW shelf miners makes a reader think that Mr Passant, of whom I had never previously heard, just wants to stir, to make people read his blog,

Comment from David E
Time April 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm


I’m not sure what definition of “honest” you’re using, but whatever your reasons for defending Gillard here, it’s hardly reassuring to hear that the person making the atrocious decisions that Ms Gillard makes is being “honest” about it. Do you really think we should be grateful for being beaten up by an”honest” bully who “cares about people”?

To your comment “The biased opinions about school testing and the NW shelf miners makes a reader think that Mr Passant, of whom I had never previously heard, just wants to stir” – perhaps, since you have “never previously heard” of Mr Passant, you should consider educating yourself before making such a judgement. I find his politics wholly consistent and defendable.

And, in fact, the opinions he is expressing on those topics are not at all uncommon – they just don’t make it into the news as much as they should. I’m glad this peice did.

Comment from Sally
Time April 12, 2010 at 9:19 pm

The writer of this article is clearly a mentally deranged nutter and is the VERY REASON unions have the bad reputation they do.

Comment from David Lowe
Time April 12, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I have been a Union member since I entered the workforce in the late 60s and as far as I am concerned: this article is very accurate; all of the Unions I have been involved have good reputations; Peter Bowden and Sally read nothing else but the lies from the murdocracy cabal; and Sally has such an excellent argument line that I am in awe of her research skills. Really guys, you ought to have a bit more of a look at stuff other than that which supports and promotes capitalism.

Comment from John
Time April 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm

Thanks Sally. I guess my sanity is something for me and my doctor to judge. No problems so far. Of course you are in good company Sally in slandering me, since Stalin used to make the same accusation against those he disagreed with.

Peter Bowden, I’m sorry you haven’t heard of me before. I hadn’t heard of you before either. So?

Comment from John Rice
Time April 13, 2010 at 12:36 am

Excellent piece, John, and congratulations for getting your creative meme Gilard=Reith taken up by the mainstream media… grand to see it’s outraging the outrageously out of touch!! 🙂

Comment from sid
Time April 13, 2010 at 10:06 am

I enjoyed this article John and I think you’re fairly accurate with your analysis of the tactics that Julia Gillard is utilising compared to those of Peter Reiths.

I also haven’t heard of Peter Bowden before on the web but look forward to hearing more from him.

Comment from Gabriel
Time April 13, 2010 at 10:14 pm

As a teacher, I have no problems with National Curriculum and National testing, when the Curriculum is understood and applied; however I object to bullying, which is so prevalent in the Education system.

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