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John Passant

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Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
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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)



Stand up, fight back: resist Gillard’s rightwing agenda

Enough is enough, the editors of Socialist Alternative argue. The Labor government, whose election in 2007 raised the hopes of millions that we would finally see an end to the right-wing reactionary policies of the Howard era, has betrayed its supporters on almost every front.

Refugees are persecuted with as much venom today as Howard could ever muster. The government still opposes equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and unions are barely any better off than they were under WorkChoices. Instead of acting on climate change, the government is trying to impose a tax that will only hurt workers and the poor.

While most people are struggling and unemployment is on the rise, corporate profits soar. Gillard has made it clear that Labor rules for the boardroom business executives, not the rest of us.

The right wing media should have been put in its box by Howard’s electoral defeat. But they are on the rampage today, and for a simple reason: Gillard’s Labor has done nothing to take them on. Instead of confronting the rich parasites that control society, Labor targets the poor and the vulnerable: refugees, migrants, the unemployed, gays and lesbians, unionists.

If you believe most of what is in the press, the only people who oppose Gillard are flat-earthers on the right: Andrew Bolt and the reactionary brigades who are salivating at the prospect of Tony Abbott winning power.

It isn’t true. But there is a desperate need to show there is a left opposition to the Labor government, to show there are people who aren’t prepared to let Gillard get away with her right wing agenda. That’s why every leftist in the country needs to get a plane ticket, hire a bus, pile in a car or get their hitch-hiking thumb warm and get to Sydney any way they can to protest at the ALP National conference this December 3-4.

This conference is shaping up as a battleground over a number of issues, most prominently equal marriage and refugee rights. Ever since she took the party leadership, Gillard has promised there will be a chance to debate equal marriage policy at national conference. And Labor left figures like Doug Cameron have said that they want refugee policy to be debated there as well.

But if there is one thing that’s clear, we can’t rely on Labor politicians and apparatchiks to wage a real fight to change the direction of this government. Already there is talk of a compromise on equal marriage – a conscience vote which would ensure that legislation for marriage equality would never be passed in a parliamentary vote.

On refugees, the left might finally have mustered the courage to oppose offshore processing in caucus, but they won’t cross the floor of parliament and vote against the disgraceful changes to the Migration Act that will effectively wipe out any legal obligation to consider the human rights of asylum seekers. Worse, they won’t even threaten to oppose the legislation in parliament: Gillard has a free hand because she is sure, and with good reason, that the left will never seriously consider defying the dominant right of the party.

That’s why we need a real left opposition outside the ALP conference this year. A left that is not tied to the craven parliamentarism that has led the left in the ALP to the hopeless mess it is in today. A left that is not afraid to speak up unambiguously in favour of union rights, equality, refugees and social justice. A left that is prepared to challenge Labor’s sell-outs with the same ferocity that we resisted Howard. A left that is prepared to cause merry hell for this government of corporate stooges, gutless wonders and sycophants for money and power. A left that is prepared to fight back. A left, that is to say, which is worthy of the name.

 Protests already planned for the ALP conference include:

12pm, Saturday December 3, Hyde Park North (marching to Darling Harbour conference site)

12PM, Sunday December 4, Hyde Park North (marching to Darling Harbour conference site)

If you are interested in coming to the Sydney protest contact Socialist Alternative in your city, or get in touch with your local Refugee Action Collective or Equal Love group.



Comment from Graham Young
Time September 27, 2011 at 7:12 am

I don’t remember ever hearing Labor campaign on being left-wing in 2007. My memory is that they promised to be just like Mr Howard, only a little nicer.

They ran on things like the “Education Revolution” which boiled down to more computers in more class rooms, which was hardly a revolution. When I pointed this out to people at the time they just didn’t want to know.

As with Obama, I think a lot of voters, which appears to include you, heard what they wanted to hear.

Comment from Interested Bystander
Time September 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm

“That’s why every leftist in the country needs to get a plane ticket, hire a bus, pile in a car or get their hitch-hiking thumb warm and get to Sydney any way they can to protest at the ALP National conference this December 3-4.”

Why the protest? What does protest achieve? It’s an Abbott technique. It suggests that you are against the ALP but do not appear to have sustainable support for an alternative.

My suggestion is this: stage your own Conference. If there is democratic and free support in the arena of contested ideas, then members of the ALP will join you.

I find this protest approach rather negative. It tells me what you oppose but offers no alternative to participate or interact in. Policies are about more than opposition. That is why single issue parties fail, they lack the totality of policy formation.

Don’t be negative and protest, be positive and present a univeral platform and budget so we can judge whether there is a viable and economically sustainable alternative to the ALP.