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John Passant

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August 2012



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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)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

Bill Shorten, nasty little prick, insulted an Asian woman about her pie. This is big news in Australia. It is much more important evidently than the possible charges to be laid against Rupert and James Murdoch in Britain.

Which is why, I suspect, yesterday’s Australian ( a News Ltd paper) ran with a front cover non-story and beat-up about a seventeen year old case of Julia Gillard’s then boyfriend and the misuse of union money.

It might also be explained by the fact the plutocracy want to destroy Labor early so their Liberal Party can win government and extend the Fair Work Act (WorkChoices Lite) a little bit further to screw workers even more.

The Fair Work Act Review was a little bit of a win for employers. The Review for example recommended that workers only be able to strike after bargaining had begun. But apart from that and a few other changes to enforce compulsory arbitration in deadlocks, this review basically gave the tick to the current Act.

I agree the Review is a whitewash and doesn’t go far enough. All of Labor’s restrictions on unions and the right to strike should be removed.

Let’s be clear. Labor’s Fair Work Act kept about 90 percent of WorkChoices. What the bosses want is a return to WorkChoices in its entirety – open slather for bosses for example with individual contracts – mediated through the knowledge they can’t be to upfront about it because of the drubbing the electorate gave the Liberal Party and their WorkChoices at the 2007 election.

So they will hasten slowly. Or rather, the Liberal Party will hasten slowly on this, listening to the rabid business community and not giving them everything they are screaming for but most of it. Or maybe they will disguise the reality of what they will do in soft words. Much like Labor really.

The best way to fight the Liberal government of the future and its version of WorkChoices is to fight the Labor government of the present and its version of WorkChoices. The ‘lead from behind’ trade union bureaucrats won’t do that. 

As Labor continues to flat line in the polls at under 30%, Wayne Swan has begun cranking out anti-mining boss rhetoric – well 3 of them but not all the others – and trying to appeal to blue collar workers through the songs of Bruce Springsteen. Songs, not actions. Expect  more of this rubbish as Labor, trapped in an anti-working class dance of death with neoliberalism, looks for spin to win votes back.

In Queensland the Newman Government has begun sacking thousands of public servants and unions are stirring to protect those jobs.

Newman is an example of what Abbott will be like in power – a lying rodent who will say how huge the deficit is, cut many good public services completely and sack tens of thousands of public servants.

They are about cutting down the forest to let the weeds grow.

The Federal Coalition has released a ‘discussion’ paper about talks on thinking about whether or if or possibly, maybe we will, maybe we won’t  limit foreign investment in Australia. Some in rural areas are worried about foreign (read Chinese) investment in farms and land.

China wants to secure food supplies and Australia is an obvious choice since we are a fertile country in parts, we have advanced capitalist farming here and export about 70% of our food.

As an aside China is doing the same thing with energy – both in China itself and in Africa especially. The second major imperialist power is acting as one would expect a rapidly growing imperialist power to act.

Massive militarisation in response to overwhelming US firepower cannot be  that far away. It may indeed already be happening. Such is the logic of imperialism.

The Australian ruling class is caught between its military alliance with the US and its economic alliance with China. So like Labor the Coalition will try to balance between the two imperialisms.

I should add that the decline in US economic power together with its overwhelming military superiority at the moment makes the world a more dangerous place, not  less dangerous one.

That is why, as China grows, the US policy of containment – securing the Middle East for itself , encircling china in Afghanistan and other targets – becomes more and more its focus. The expansion of its military into Darwin and Perth and the satellite bases it already has here are evidence of its growing aggressive China containment policy and the siding of the Australian ruling class and its imperialism with the US.

The Coalition discussion paper on foreign investment suggests lowering the level at which the Foreign Investment Review Board investigates foreign land purchases from over $200 m to $15 million.

The free marketeers in the Liberal Party have gone berserk. The agrarian socialists in the Nationals seem comfortable enough pandering to their generally older constituency about the fears of  ‘a Chinese planet. ‘  Xenophobia and racism are the middle names of significant elements of Australia’s political class and the bourgeoisie.

Apparently we will decide what investment comes to Australia and the circumstances in which it comes. That’s worked well for labour hasn’t it? It should work well too for a country dependent for its survival not only on importing foreign labour but also importing foreign capital.

The irony is that Chinese investment has the potential to save some rural and regional towns.

Chinese investment in farms is growing but from an incredibly small base. The level of foreign investment in Australian farming land is small. Even if it grows it won’t be that great. Most foreign investment in farm land is from Britain or the US.

Let me throw in a left field comment. The greater threats to ‘our’ land are twofold.

The dispossession of the original inhabitants occurred so that capitalism could establish itself here.  The land has never been ceded. Let’s have a treaty.

Second, gas companies have increased their exploration across whole swathes of agricultural land and the threat of fracking is becoming a reality. Instead of  a beat up about foreign ownership, why doesn’t the National Party join with local communities, activists, the Greens and others in defending farm holders from gas mining companies and fracking?

Could it be because the National Party is the open representative of mining capital? 

Let me add that I suspect the increase in fracking was and is a consequence partly of the carbon tax and its ongoing impacts over the next decades.  The tax makes gas fired power stations more and more competitive.

Overseas, the revolution in Syria continues. Victory to those freedom fighters in bringing down the Assad dictatorship.

At the Olympics, Damien Hooper by wearing an Aboriginal flag on his T-shirt has exposed the racist and profit driven nature of the Games in one action.

I will be speaking at 6 pm on Thursday 16 August on the ‘Olympic Games: racism, nationalism and profit’ in Room G 8 of the Moran Building at the Australian National University.

Like all posts on this site, comments close after 7 days. To have your say or see what others may be saying hit the comments link under the heading above.



Comment from John Richardson
Time August 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I’ll go one further John …
I reckon the xenophobic hysteria around the fire sale of aussie real estate to China is being deliberately whipped-up to take attention away from the rape of our environment by foreign miners: whether they be after gas or coal, it makes no difference.
Both sides of politics in this country appear quite comfortable with the notion that vast swathes of of the country are being pillaged by the miners, with no conern evident for the damage they are causing along the way & for the lives & communities that are being destroyed in the process.
If the 80% of awstraylens living the dream on the coast were at all concerned about our country’s future, they’d be screaming about the activities of the miners rather than the loss of a few acres of farmland.

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