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John Passant

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April 2011



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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)



Labor: seeking refuge in reaction

I wonder what human rights’ abuses Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao raised with Julia Gillard. The Northern Territory Intervention? Australia’s participation in the slaughter of millions of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? The Labor Government’s unwavering support for the Sri Lankan Government’s genocide of Tamils? Actually Wen might be quiet about this last one because the Chinese dictatorship supports the genocidal Sri Lankan Government too.

Maybe Wen raised Australia’s disgraceful and disgusting treatment of asylum seekers. Gillard Labor, following in Paul Keating’s grand Labor tradition, locks refugees up. People whose only crime is to seek freedom lose it when they arrive in Australia. 

Labor has posed for some time as the progressive wing of Australian nationalism and racism. The ALP’s balancing of so-called ‘humane treatment’ under mandatory detention, an inhumane policy, has only made the racist rhetoric of the Liberals about stopping the boats even more attractive to many workers. The more Labor shifts to the right on refugees, the more votes shift to the Coalition.

On Tuesday Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced that Labor will amend the Immigration Act to fail anyone convicted of crimes in detention centres on the character test. This means such refugees will not receive asylum. They will be denied protection visas and ultimately citizenship.

However if they are in fact genuine asylum seekers (more than 90 percent are found to be and by the time appeals are exhausted the figure rises) they cannot be sent back to their country of origin. So Bigot Bowen has said they will be given temporary visas. This is the former Howard Government’s disgusting temporary protection visa system under another name.

Temporary visas are an abomination becuase they restrict a person’s ability to travel, provide no certainty, deny the holders access to basic social security and stop them from bringing their families here. If the situation ‘stabilises’ in their home country the visa can be withdrawn and the refugee sent back.

They are in other words a terrible administrative punishment, one piled on top of whatever sentence the freedom fighters have had imposed on them for resisting their immoral imprisonment in Australia.

Let’s be clear. It is not a crime to fight for freedom, to resist the oppressors by burning down their concentration camps. The refugees who do this are heroes, not criminals.

Labor has degenerated so much and on so many issues over the last 3 decades that I could imagine Julia Gillard announcing soon that ‘we will decide who comes to this country and the conditions in which they come.’ The only beneficiaries of this refugee and other reaction are the political sons and daughters of John Howard.

Labor, like the Liberals, is searching for an offshore processing solution. It can’t use Nauru because that country is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention. The real reason of course Labor won’t use a ready Nauru is because to do so would be to admit its refugee policies are the same as the Liberals. Which in essence they are.

So the Gillard government attempts to hide this reality by pushing another country as the offshore processor. The only problem is that East Timor – Labor’s Nauru solution – won’t accept it.

This jump to the right is not confined to asylum seekers. Gillard’s support for war, her rhetoric about the idle (code for attacks on the unemployed and the disabled), about traditional values, about reading the Bible, her assumption of power and then backdown on a minor minerals tax, are all symptomatic of a deeper malaise for and in Labor.

This can be seen in its ambivalence to the Labor movement – the continuation of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, threatening workers with action for ‘illegal’ strikes, the failure to fully support the equal pay for equal work campaign. All of these anti-union positions indicate a party drifting from its moorings on a sea of troubles.

Stagnant and falling profit rates mean that the social surplus out of which parties can provide reforms to benefit workers is shrinking. Labor’s response has been to partially privatise health care, education and the like and cut back on spending on workers. Indeed the systemic profit problems mean that Labor uses the surplus to benefit capital.

To cover this reality Labor needs a strategy to attract votes. The current Labor Party ‘thinkers’ and ‘strategists” (I use the words advisedly) believe that a sharp shift to the right will attract voters. It won’t. It will boost Tony Abbott’s appeal. It gives credence to everything he has argued.

Labor is consolidating around a reactionary agenda and destroying itself politically as a consequence.

This is a government without political purpose, without vision, without morals, without principles other than ruling for the rich, but with a strategy to out-Tory the Tories.

With this sort of Labor trajectory the Conservatives could be in power soon.

Our task is to resist reaction of whichever hue and to argue for a fightback in our unions and help build the social movements. But it also means building a left wing alternative to Labor, a socialist alternative.



Comment from Calligula
Time April 26, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Mr Passant –
You’d have to be out of your tree if you couldn’t accept that Madame Gillard wasn’t trying to come to the same deals with China that Howard was up to with Bush, the younger.

I would hope, though, that the Chinese premier would, in the interests of decency and diplomacy, choke and tell her where to go.

If we can get rid of the Emily’s List governments (NSW has made a start) the Chinese might start treating us as a sovereign nation instead of a client state.

Comment from Hasbeen
Time April 27, 2011 at 8:56 am

Perhaps Lobor has finally realised that buying the votes of people like John, with the anti Ozzie policies people like him want, is counter productive.

They have now found the old welded on supporters won’t take any more bleeding heart rubbish, & have learnt how to cut the weld.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 27, 2011 at 9:17 am

Cal, a paid up member of the Women Haters? I knew he was a Stooge but that is real Old School stoogeism mate. Shame (or Shemp?) on you.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 27, 2011 at 9:25 am

Sorry, Cal caught me off guard there. Back to the story itself. JP’s point that the ALP is trying to out-Tory the LNP is not a new idea and the plaintive call for an alternative is also a bit old hat. They’re called the Greens John, thought you’d be across that. The Greens (despite all their best efforts to scare the Bejesus out of the electorate) are about the only alternative group with ANY hope of electoral success in the short (or the medium) term. Unless the Fishing Party does something extraordinary in the meantime! The Greens have embraced the electoral process to gain traction at the political coal face, unlike so many Far Left groups. Post July 1 the Greens will no longer enjoy the luxury of being the protest vote, they will have to take some hard decisions, make compromises and generally participate – or face electoral oblivion. I suspect they will ultimately choose oblivion (a glorious death being preferred to a slow absorption into the messy main stream of reality) but it will be something to watch for sure.

Comment from John
Time April 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm

The Greens aren’t left wing.

Comment from John
Time April 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm

Maybe. And their hatred of refugees will see them vote for a party whose new workchoices will destroy their lives but at least they can continue to hate a non-existent enemy as their wages and jobs get cut.

Comment from John
Time April 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm

A poll in the Fairfax blog, the National Times, has 55% saying they oppose the Bowen amedments as a knee jerk reaction. Hardly scientific, and likely to suffer big swings as each side mobilises, but that is a pretty good result so far out of the 1100 who have responded.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Ask most Green MPs and I bet they’ll say different (about being “left”). I assume you mean they’re not “socialists”. Perhaps not though that’s a term of art in itself, you guys don’t own it by any stretch. Not sure I’d call it a hatred of refugees, just ignorance of their plight. RAC is actually the Refugee Action Coalition or some such (will keep in mind Cal’s difficulty with acronyms in future posts). RAC publishes information that actually delivers considered rebuttals to all the prejudice, somewhat more effective (in terms of actually helping the ignorant overcome their fears) perhaps than rattling fences, tying ribbons and taking on the constabulary but I guess you enjoyed the media exposure.

Comment from gradool
Time April 27, 2011 at 7:41 pm

Cal won’t see the truth.
His discourse?
Empty threats & bile.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 27, 2011 at 7:43 pm

“On Tuesday Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced that Labor will amend the Immigration Act to fail anyone convicted of crimes in detention centres on the character test. This means such refugees will not receive asylum. They will be denied protection visas and ultimately citizenship.”

So what is surprising, John?
Didn’t they just deport a bloke who has lives here since he was 6YO?
I don’t care if he was a bother.

I only care about who will be next.
At this rate anyone could be next.
A quiet phonecall and you could be back in Passantland, I could be airdropped in some Irish bog and Gawd only knows where they’d drop off Dooley?

Speaking of him –
I can’t be bothered arguing with idiots any longer when a song or two does the job better –
They tell me that music soothes the savage beast –

Comment from John
Time April 27, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Actually to rebut your stereotypes, it was RAC who organised the demo and distributed the ribbons and helped shake the fences.

Comment from Calligula
Time April 27, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Drooly –
Yours of 27April @ 9.17
When I mentioned Emily’s List I meant their exclusive politics.
I do not see labor, liberal, national, green, nazis or anyone excluding women.
I do see Emily’s List excluding men.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they would INCLUDE Downer – but he’s retired – McMahon, but he’s dead – etc..
In the meantime I had believed we’d been working toward Affirmative Action – not a friggin’ fait accompli.

Grow up Dooley.

Comment from Gradool
Time April 28, 2011 at 5:45 am


What a shame that is.
They waste time.
Ian Rintoul won’t learn.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 28, 2011 at 8:31 am

Cal recants? No way.
More smoke screens.
Some truths tell themselves.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time April 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Yes, grow up indeed. Nice allusions to Downer’s and McMahon’s sexuality. very mature. How’s that discourse coming along? Sometime this week/month? Yours expectantly, Graham

Comment from GDool
Time April 28, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I only mention this to illustrate the gulf between your position/approach and the (apparent) consensus of a great many – I gave up reading comments way down the list but can’t see a positive one. Rattling fences and tying ribbons will not turn these folks. Maybe you should talk to Eddie McGuire, JP, aren’t you a Pies Man? GD

Comment from Calligula
Time April 28, 2011 at 9:23 pm

What the hell are you on about now?
Downer’s and McMahon’s sexuality.
What sexuality?
I simply meant they are/were a couple of complete tossers – elitists compromised beyond recall.
Opportunist parasites on the body politic.
Specious, narrow thinking, exclusivist – that sort of thing.

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