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John Passant

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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)

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Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
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Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

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Me on Razor Sharp this morning
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On the Greens and refugees, again

This is a letter of mine the Australian Financial Review published today.

So, the ‘Greens won’t horse-trade on Malaysia agreement’ (AFR Wednesday 27 July p 13).

Some of us voted Green because we thought they would stand up for principles such as defending asylum seekers.

Instead Senator Sarah Hansen-Young gives a fine example of the parliamentary cretinism that pervades the Greens with her mealy mouthed comment that blocking the government’s Malaysia deal through horse-trading is ‘not a responsible way of ensuring stability in Parliament or a responsible way of behaving as a parliamentarian.’

The only horse-trading I can see going on is the carbon tax deal, built now on the back of the refugees sent to Malaysia and lifelong misery. 

The only conclusion I can draw is that the Greens will not take real action to defend refugees because the Government is introducing a carbon tax.

What a disgusting trade off – refugees for a carbon tax.

Real action might have involved mobilising their thousands of members and millions of supporters in demonstrations and civil disobedience to win freedom for asylum seekers.

Senator Hansen-Young can have her parliamentary primness and propriety (code for not challenging the status quo) but I hope some Greens help organise and then join the demonstrations and civil disobedience when the Gillard Labor sends the first lot of asylum seekers to hell in Malaysia.

Shame, Greens, shame.



Comment from Ross
Time July 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I was talking to Joanne Nova a few weeks ago and she used to be a member of the Greens.She is a scientist and no longer believes that Global warming is happening.She knows what the Greens are like from the inside and it is not a pretty sight.

Comment from skip
Time July 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm

You keep referring to a “trade” that the Greens have supposedly undertaken with the ALP, whereby they are getting a carbon tax in support for remaining quiet on refugees. Why would the ALP have agreed to this trade when the Greens (a) have no power to stop the refugee deal in parliament, and (b) have organised motions condemning it, created a wide-ranging inquiry into mandatory detention, and have tabled legislation that would make it impossible for such deals to be arranged at ministerial discretion?

Or are you just referring to the agreement that the Greens would not contribute to the formation of a Tory government?

Comment from John
Time July 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm

So skip, why don’t the Greens organise demos to try to force Labor to back down, if they can’t do anything in Parliament? Actually they could pull the plug on Labor, but won’t because they have almost got a carbon price. It just shows you the futility of parliamentary politics for those of us who want to make the world a better place. Giving in to Labor’s agenda is not the way to challenge it.

Comment from Tony
Time July 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

They’ll get their carbon price and then be disappointed that it didn’t change behaviour to the degree or the rate they perceived.

As we know, after “returning” the funds, other associated costs of implementation will ultimately be carried by consumers through consolidated revenue who have little opportunity to opt out of buying carbon based supply. The big winner in this ploy will be CSG (coal seam gas), are The Greens even attuned to this? Most retail energy packages are not 100% renewable (I imagine they can only sell available capacity, otherwise it’s fraud). Overly generous Feed-In Tariff schemes are being scaled back around the country and purchasing rebates reduced, due to the impact on government revenues. The likely outcome of this policy will be a massive expansion of CSG, fracking up the underground acquifers and ruining pasture as 4 Corners has already shown.

Why else would CSG companies have hit the prime time TV advertising hard with the announcement of the carbon tax/ETS?

In Capital Vol 1, Marx said capitalists always bleat about any impost on their conditions, but where change is imposed, they always work around them rapidly (usually far faster than they state is possible) and to a result where they are more competitive than before. If the full weight of the tax was borne by business they would restructure in under a couple of years and this matter would be a non issue.

This plan won’t have that effect, it will enrich the investment bankers and the financial stress will be borne by the consumer for a commodity which has a largely inelastic demand. It’s unfortunate The Greens seem unable frame this outside a neoliberal box, a box based on debunked neoclassical economic theory. But that’s where we are after 30 years of neoliberal thinking.

How The Greens can push all other issues aside for that result is appalling. With the new wave of pragmatist Greens like S H-Y it appears an Australian Democrats style collapse for The Greens may be sooner rather than later.

By playing a timid role, when they could have their most influential impact in their history and offering no clear alternative to Labor (who themselves no longer offer a clear alternative to the LNP) for many a jump to the LNP is probably not seen as a “far right” lurch and a significant risk.

Some of The Greens veterans continue to articulate stronger views, but with a changing of the guard, it appears The Greens credibility may be severely damaged.

Comment from John
Time July 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

A good respnse from a paleontologist at the ANU. ‘A dumbing down of the political and media discussion to the dollar price of carbon reflects years of cover-up on the scientific measurements and direct observations of climate change around the world.

‘An irrelevant discourse ensues between those willing to undertake symbolic action and those who deny the science altogether.

‘Had the science been afforded a correct publicity in the Australian media, the current political and economic fury would be seen in their true perspective and the real meaning of a world three to four degrees warmer would be understood.’

The Faustian bargain…