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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)



Does the Australian ruling class really want that Liberal Party idiot as their next Prime Minister?

Anyone who saw Leigh Sales demolish Tony Abbott on the 7.30 Report the other night must be shaking their head in disbelief that this buffoon could soon be their next Prime Minister. (For those who haven’t seen Abbott’s performance, here is a link or here

Clearly the man is out of his depth dealing with questions of substance.

The fact that he is incapable of anything other than clichés and platitudes is unimportant to the ruling class.

What they want is a government which will attack workers and unions to deliver even more of the wealth we create to the rich, even more than the accommodationists in the ALP and their supine mates in the union movement have been able to provide.

Abbott’s strategy of attacking the government with soundbites has been working.

It has resonance with some workers because despite a decade or more of growth, and despite the fact Australia weathered the GFC, the wealth we have created has overwhelmingly gone to the rich.

We work harder; they profit. Many workers are pissed off with long hours and poor rewards.

What Abbott and co will do is accelerate that wealth shift to the rich, and attempt to increase our workloads.  A worse slave master will replace the current bad one.

The fact that many workers cannot see this reflects the failure of the ALP as a social democratic organisation over the last 30 years because of its embrace, true to form, of the dominant ideology of the time, in this case neoliberalism.

Labor’s special relationship with trade union bureaucrats means that the ALP can often produce better results for the boss through persuasion and co option than the Liberals’ more open class war produces.  The success of the ALP is in prosecuting the class war for the bosses often without having to fire a shot.

If needed, Labor will use the state to smash workers struggles, as Chifley showed in 1949 against the miners and Hawke in 1985 with his Labor Party New South Wales and Victorian mates against the Builders Labourers Federation and Hawke again, in 1987, against the pilots.

In addition, because Labor is not the direct party of the bourgeoisie it can impose solutions on capital at the expense of sections of capital, something the Liberals find harder to do because of their close relationship with business leaders.

What might worry the ruling class about Abbott is not the fact he is a buffoon. He is after all their buffoon. The problem is he might not be totally controllable. He is not thoroughly imbued with safe ruling class values. The monkey might upset the organ grinders.

His Santamaria background with ideas about the dignity of workers and their work might also be a problem. So too the fact he only won the election for leader of the Liberal Party with the support of the climate change deniers, the outright reactionaries.

At some stage his inability to thoroughly think things through might alienate sections, even large sections, of the ruling class.

At the moment of course they are united behind Abbott. Labor in power has continued to suppress workers and laid the ground work for a confident and combative bourgeoisie, unbloodied in battle for many years, to go on the attack.

However they may, like Howard and Workchoices, overplay their hand.

Abbott could also turn his fire on his side. For example his levy on big business to pay for parental leave, if replicated in power in some other mistake in the eyes of the ruling class, might put offside some sections of the ruling elite.

While he is cutting 20,000 public service jobs and slashing vital government services, the bosses will be happy enough. But if he strays into policies that impose some sort of burden on the capitalist class, or which by going in too hard provoke a strong working class industrial response, the bosses might turn to a leader better suited to their longer term aims and goals and more capable of delivering them.

Malcolm Turnbull might only have to wait 18 or so months into an Abbott government to meet his fate, especially if the visionlessness of Abbott is combined with an economic decline in Australia, made worse of course by the Abbott barbarians cutting down the government forest to let the free market weeds grow.

The bosses will welcome an Abbott victory. Buffoons can make good leaders for them, as Ronald Reagan and George W Bush showed in the US context.

But Abbott’s instability, his thought bubble approach to policy, his climate denialist base within the extreme right of the Liberal Party and the looming economic crisis in Australia all make for a possible tumultuous period of rule for the leader of the Opposition and his by and large unremarkable front bench if they win, as they will, the next election.

The key will be class struggle. How much longer can Australian workers not fight?

If they do respond industrially to a provocation from an Abbott Government and begin to realise their own strength, the bosses may consign Abbott to the dustbin of history.

We can wish that these battles were occurring now against the Labor barbarians at the gate, rather than in the future against the Liberal barbarians in the distance but coming closer and closer.

The real task in all of this will be for us on the left to continue burrowing away, trying to build a socialist workers’ party with enough roots and influence in the working class to help the fight against the barbarians, irrespective of whether they are Labor Vandals or Liberal Visigoths. That is what Socialist Alternative is trying to do.



Comment from David
Time August 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

What you are saying is generally true, but you need to remember that jobs for the workers are provided by the rich and the not quite so rich. Abbott is a dummy and I am surprised that he has lasted so long. Hopefully, the influx of new coalition members in parliament will shift their policies back toward the centre and Malcolm will again get the reins.

Comment from John
Time August 24, 2012 at 10:48 am

Except we create the wealth. They decide who gets jobs. There is much that needs to be done like moving to a renewable energy society and the rich – the so-called job and wealth creators – stand in the way of what is socially necessary. They certainly stand in the way of jobs, let alone satisfying jobs, for all.

Comment from Mary
Time August 24, 2012 at 11:18 am

I agree Abbott is an idiot and so are all the gullible people that support him. The media is responsible for his popularity. Why isn’t here a moves in the lib party to rmove him? Are they all as stupid? If so they are not fit to govern.

Comment from Mary
Time August 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

any fair equitable social agenda will disappear under Abbott. He has the pope directing him against family planning, population control women and gay rights stem cell research climate change and anything that looks to the future. All his supporters are of the same ilk and will not move on anything outsied their narrow field of thinking You are right IDIOTS, they have no compromise orthought ourside their own person interest that being power and profit.

Comment from David Leigh
Time August 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

It was thought-provoking watching question time, following those Abbott goofs. Abbott appeared to make no attempt at defending himself; how could he, it was indefeasible. The deliberate Freudian slip, on behalf of Bill Shorten was interesting, when replying to Julie Bishop. He said “Leader of the opposition, sorry I’m getting ahead of yourself”. Not too far off the mark, me thinks. This incident or series thereof, could set the scene for some nefarious knife sharpening in the backroom… Beware the ides of August?

Comment from Jack hartyn
Time August 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Who are the Australian working class? The 20% or so who are still union members? Or, perhaps all the third world new migrants and refugees who seem to proliferate in the low paid unskilled jobs which in the stellar days of working class solidarity was composed of dinki die Australian born so called battlers?
It would seem to me that the Australian “working class” of yesteryear seem to have gravitated into a superior “middle class’ today and vote accordingly. These so called “Howard’s battlers” are the ones supporting Mr Abbott and his ilk, yesterdays working class! todays??

Comment from John
Time August 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Who is working class? Anyone who sells their labour to survive and who has little control over their work. Most people. About ten million (?) Australians and the families dependent on them. Blue collar and white collar.

Comment from John
Time August 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm

The party is so high in the polls, and Malcolm Turnbull is such an arrogant prick who has put many offside that they will stick with Abbott in Opposition because they are confident he will win them the next election.

Comment from Maree
Time August 24, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I wonder while you all whinge about the so called rich bosses why you don’t go out and start your own businesses. Put your selves and property on the line.

Comment from JJ
Time August 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Maree, could not have put it better.

Comment from ross
Time August 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Abbott is right on one fundament point.We do not need a carbon tax.The world has not warmed since 1998 even with exponential growth in CO2.Sydney hs just had the coldest winter that I can remember ina long time.I see no evidence of global warming.Computer models are fiction based upon fiction.

Comment from John Bennetts
Time August 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Ross just had to slip that furphy in, didn’t he? Fair enough… at least he states that he sees no evidence of global warming, so perhaps he is at least truthful, in which case he is also wilfully blind.

Comment from Ray
Time August 25, 2012 at 12:04 am

The author must have had a few too many drinks during dinner to conclude that Leigh Sales demolished Tony Abbott. Leigh became rattled, while Tony maintained his cool.

Unlike Abbott, the author has a poor appreciation of the fact that climate change is a natural process that has been going on since earth’s beginning. There is no factual scientific evidence that CO2 emissions are the driver of dangerous global warming.

Unlike the current Labor Govt that rules for its trade union mates, Abbott would lead a Govt for all Australians. Labor’s socalled IR reforms have put Australia back in the Whitlam Govt years.

Unlike labor, an Abbott Govt would encourage economic development that would lead to growth, more employment, higher productivity and higher living standards.

Comment from John
Time August 25, 2012 at 10:23 am

Yes John. No doubt the grand consipracy Ross has identified is behind it all.

Comment from John
Time August 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

Well, I guess someone had to back Abbott. It just shows how far removed from reality his supporters are if they think Abbott performed well against Sales. Next they’ll be telling us his policies will lead to growth, more employment, higher productivity and higher living standards. Just like the Campbell Newman government is delivering in Queensland, no doubt. Oh, they are telling us that….Very believable.

Comment from John Richardson
Time August 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Sadly it would seem that the only Australians still pursuing the ‘class struggle’ are our Aborigines, with the irony being that their latest act of defiance in the NT was to toss Labor on the dung-heap in favour of that other dearly beloved working class party, the Nationals.
I don’t think that there will ever be an uprising of the proletariate in this country …. not as long as Lachlan Murdoch has control of program development at Channel 10, although I thought I did catch a brief glimpse of some resistance to the status quo after we had finished assisting the All Blacks with another training run around Eden Park on Saturday.
John – could you sass-out the % of the US & UK workforces now relying on casual employment to survive … I reckon it must be getting close to our 40% we enjoy downunder by now?

Comment from John
Time August 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Yes, I think the Intervention and shire amalgamations may have seen indigenous people desert Labor and support that other well known friend of Aborigines, the CLP. It may have soemthing to do with fleeing the failed paternalists and now to find out in practice about the more brutal ‘successful’ paternalists. The First Nations Party seems to have drawn some of the more left wing among Aboriginal society I suspect too.

Comment from Jolly
Time August 28, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Abbott is not “stupid” and has never been. Why some call him that is beyond me. Abbott is an opportunist and utterly “power hungry”. Most of us know that Turnbull is the most reasonable and ‘middle of the road’, reasonable guy to lead Australia to-day. But politics being such, we get incompetent opportunist thrusted to the front. I dislike the current Labor, yet find myself unable to vote for the Liberals with Abbott at the helm. Come on Turnbull.

Please don’t be so blind as to wish to throw the baby with the bath water. Without the risk-taking entrepreneurs and wealthy folks to invest in business, most of us will be without jobs. We must strike a balance to formulate policies to cater for both groups of people. Hatred and envy is evil!!

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