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John Passant

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June 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)



Is Labor gone? Sunday’s speakeasy

The polls show Labor could lose the next election, due¬†within six months. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s popularity is in free fall since his decision to ‘postpone’ his Emissions Trading Scheme. Will Labor lose? Is this just a blip or is there a fundamental shift away for Labor? Hit the comments button to have your say on this or anything else.



Comment from John
Time June 13, 2010 at 8:42 am

I don’t think Labor is gone. But I do think there may be something fundamental going on. Labor’s reforms of the last 3 decades have benefited the ruling class as a class, if not all sectors of that class.

Thus the share of GNI going to capital is at its highest level ever while that going to labour its lowest.

But the saviour for Labor has been that real wages have increased and unemployment remained low.

There are a number of reasons for this – the increase in personal debt, the lengthening of the working day, increased productivity for example.

But globally, even despite China, profit rates are low and while there have been ups and downs the trend for decades has been downwards.

This means more an more ‘reforms’ have to be for capital against labour, or maybe for capital without a flow through to workers.

Labor has attempted to redress this with crude political appeals to xenophobia, and political cowardice in the face of bourgeois resitance to pro-business global change measures.

Labor have been able to get away with ruling for capital because of the complicity of the trade union bureaucracy and its thorough going adoption of class collaboration as its guiding principle. The bureaucrats ahve destroyed rank and file organisation and influence and concentrated power in their timid little hands.

The level of strikes are at their lowest level ever. Social movements have little impact.

Against this background of quiescence the general political climate is right wing. That will only change when strikes and social movements increase and challenge the ruling ideas.

Voting Green will not change this rightward trajectory. Keeping alive the ideas of struggle and putting them into practice – for example unionists working to win back our unions and activists building social movements – have at least a chance of doing that.

Comment from Marco
Time June 13, 2010 at 9:28 am


I read this Rudd/ALP “popularity deflation” as the natural consequence of a failed attempt to be nice to everybody; and the voters realizing this.

Labor tries to sell itself as the party of the poor, while remaining “friendly” towards capital, by promoting the rich’s neoliberal agenda. People, especially at the receiving end, are bound to notice that: we aren’t that dumb.

Then, Labor tries to be the party of the “social/cultural liberals”, while courting the right-wing “non-decided” vote, by sending the poor devils who arrive in boats to concentration camps. Who can possibly fail to notice the lack of coherence?

The ETS debacle is another example: to avoid the cost of confronting big capital, Rudd left the whole issue in Turnbull’s hands. Turnbull paid the price right away, while Rudd thought he had dodged the bullet. He was trying to be clever and subtle; people see this as being hypocritical, and I can’t blame them.

At least the bloody Coalition are more coherent: they are the party of the rich. Period. They may court the “cafe society” of enlightened middle-class lefties, with concessions on the social/cultural front; they may try to appease the moderate environmentalists, by devising mosntrous spawns like the ETS; but they will always draw the line very clearly: don’t touch the rich’s pockets (which is what really matters to big capital).

I believe Labor may, in the future, make a comeback. But as long as they try to be nice to everybody, they will fall in the same trap.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.

Comment from Marco
Time June 13, 2010 at 9:48 am

Ah, John, I forgot something:

And this RSPT fiasco is an attempt by Labor to convince the left side of the voter spectrum that ALP is still left.

They chose the mining industry because it is concentrated in few hands, and (they hoped) easily isolated; and they decided to throw bucketfulls of money to business, to get mining parasites isolated.

What they didn’t count on was on the ability of the mining parasites to shut the mouth of the other greedy bastards. Maybe capitalists do have some kind of class solidarity, after all.

Comment from Arjay
Time June 13, 2010 at 10:15 am

Rudd was not very clever about his super profits tax.It was poorly thought out and implemented.What has really hurt Labor is the school’s building debacle and the bats fiasco.People saw at a real practical level how Govts waste our money.

I bet the liberals will get in and implement kevin’s mining tax to some degree.Govts around the planet will see how it pans out and do likewise.This is what reall scares the miners.

It should be slowly implemented but we also have to address the monumental waste and corruption in our Govts.How can a school canteen be worth $600,000 and still not be adaquate?

They will have to install Julia soon and delay the election to be a real chance.Rudd has no credibility and we have stopped listening.

Comment from Red Dragon
Time June 13, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Labor have powered on defending the interests of the ruling class and betrayed those who looked to it for a change from the horrible years of Howard!

You look at the polls and voters are not flocking to the liberals, a protest vote to minor parties and the greens. It is a lot of Australians worst nightmare the prospect of an Abbott victory.

But what are we supposed to do? Rudd has maintained work choices, maintained the ABCC, threatens to jail workers, maintained attacks on civil liberties with anti-terror laws, amped up the NT intervention, done nothing on climate change, reintroduced the worst of the Howard era policies on refugees. Continued the occupation of Afghanistan. Is it any wonder the working class are looking for alternatives and abandoning labor.

But will they preference liberal over labor in the 2 party preffered vote on polling booth, Labor have an ace in the hole in Abbott, but perhaps doing away with Rudd might be a good choice for them too.

The question is will voters demoralized by team KRudd

Comment from Ben Courtice
Time June 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm

One of the weak points for left electoral campaigns (including the Greens) is that much of the electorate doesn’t understand the preferential voting system very well. Usually come election time the left are far too busy on positive campaigns to explain why everyone should vote for us, but maybe it would be worthwhile doing an education campaign on preferences and protest votes and how it all works. That is, that voting 1 for a good candidate ahead of Labor doesn’t mean your vote will help Abbott in any way.

Comment from Jane
Time June 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm

In my experience, explaining the “double your vote” choice to people increases the protest vote hugely. As a candidate for a smaller party, when asked by newspapers what I would DO for the electorate if elected, I told them that I certainly wouldn’t be elected, but that if they voted first for me and then for their “preferred main party” they could influence the policies of their “party of choice.” The vote increased significantly in a difficult electorate.

Comment from Marco
Time June 14, 2010 at 1:45 pm

I second Ben Courtice’s idea: I don’t quite understand this preference system.

Jane’s contribution also appears valid, although I can’t understand why.

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