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John Passant

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September 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)



In Queensland Tony Abbott’s cane toad shows the Liberal future: strikes show ours

14000 public service jobs in Queensland will go this financial year. If we let the Liberal National Party Government get away with it. That’s the big story coming out of Campbell Newman’s first Queensland Budget, a budget that has taken a meat axe to the Queensland public service. According to the ABC:

People in 10,600 positions will receive redundancies at a cost of $800 million.

A further 3,400 jobs will be cut by the removal of temporary staff and contract staff whose contracts are ending.

Health has been hardest hit with 4,140 redundancies, followed by 1,450 in Transport and Main Roads and 1,425 in Housing and Public Works.

As well as the 140,000 public service jobs, 500 jobs will go at Queensland Rail.

On top of wrecking health, transport and public housing, Newman will increase royalties – a great big (old) tax. Again, according to the ABC:

The Government will also significantly increase taxes in two areas from October 1:

  • Increasing coal royalties – there will be a rise from a single rate of 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent for coal valued between $100 and $150 a tonne, and a 15 per cent royalty for coal valued above that.
  • That will raise an additional $200 million this financial year, rising to more than $474 million next year.
  • Raising transfer duty payable on properties worth more than $1 million from 5.25 per cent to 5.75 per cent, raising $55 million this financial year, rising to $92 million next year.

The totally believable mining industry bosses have said this great big tax hike means hundreds of private sector mining jobs will go. Who would have thought it? The Liberals are a bigger threat to mining bosses than Labor.

Budget papers predict unemployment in Queensland will rise to 6%, well above the Australian average which at the moment is 5.1%. However in a sign that the Government might anticipate problems with its new focus, there will be an extra 1,100 police employed. The police budget is increasing 3.5%.

There is a huge sleight of hand in all of this. Newman hasn’t announced service cuts to match the staffing cuts. Of course he has already attacked domestic violence services, tenants’ advice services and the child protection watchdog. But he said nothing about cutbacks to health, transport and public housing services yet.

Newman expects that Health will be able to provide the same level of service as it currently does with over 4000 less staff, including more than 1500 less nurses.

The public health system won’t be able to provide the same level of support with well over 6% of its current staff gone.

The only way that current services can continue is to force people into private health care. Oh….

On Wednesday unions and workers across the state will demonstrate against this rotten Budget. I have argued that Queenslanders can’t afford to wait till 2016 to vote against this mob of wreckers. That won’t save the almost 15000 jobs currently to be axed.

Of course before we get all starry eyed about Labor, cutting back spending on health and education has been its aim too both Federally and at a State and Territory level. They just go about it in a more subtle way. And Labor’s unions hardly ever sequel.

But Wednesday’s demonstration offers the hope of a fight back. This means the union bureaucrats, whose last fight was in kindergarten 47 years ago, will have to be forced to extend the struggle to the here and now and for strikes to break out across Queensland in defence of jobs.

That will be for the rank and file to impose on the grand old do nothings of the Queensland union movement. If they don’t then Campbell the jobs shredder will be further emboldened and his mate in Canberra will be sharpening his axe safe in the knowledge the pussy cats in charge of the union movement have been declawed for decades.

There is hope. Hundreds of prison workers walked off the job after the Budget was handed down closing down at least 4 of the 8 prisons and forcing the cops to do the work. At the time of writing (late Tuesday night) the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission has ordered them back to work. It is not clear what they will do although the union has been reported as saying they won’t be back at work until first shift tomorrow morning, and may vote to stay out longer.

That is the way to fight back and other workers should do the same.

The Newman strategy for addressing the fake Budget crisis is to sack thousands of public servants, massively cut services and increase a great big (old) tax.

That is what an Abbott Government in Canberra will be tempted to do but given its campaign against ‘great big new taxes’ and its promise to repeal the carbon tax and the Minerals Resource Rent Tax the focus of the Abbott government will be on sacking tens of thousands of public servants and slashing spending on health and education.

What Barry O’Farrell is doing to school education in New South Wales and Ted Baillieu to Tertiary and Further Education (TAFE) in Victoria is also instructive.

In New South Wales the O’Farrell Government is cutting $1.7 bn from the education budget over 4 years, including funding to Catholic and private schools. 800 education staff will lose their jobs and TAFE fees will increase by just under ten percent.

In Victoria the cuts to the TAFE budget total $300 million with many courses and some campuses to close, not to mention thousands of jobs gone.

Years of class collaboration and passivity from our side mean the bosses feel emboldened and have unleashed their class warriors like Newman on workers. We need to fight back, not by voting Labor in 3 or 4 years time but by striking and shutting down vital sectors of the economy until the ruling class and their Governments back off from massive cuts to jobs and government services.

The prison workers’ snap strike in response to the Newman Budget should be a clear signal to all workers about how to fight back. Strike. Join the rally on Wednesday and fight, fight, fight. Strike together, stay out indefinitely and close Queensland down until Campbell Newman surrenders.


Here are details of the rallies across Queensland on Wednesday:

Brisbane – Public meeting, march and rally
12:15 for 12:30 start
Assemble Queens Park, Brisbane City (between Treasury Casino and Casino Hotel) then onto Parliament House!

Townsville – Public Meeting
…Wednesday 12 September
Assemble 12.15pm for 12.30pm start
The Townsville Hospital grounds
100 Angus Smith Drive, Douglas

Albany Hills
Come along and show your support for ALL staff at Albany Hills.
Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Albany Hills State School Staff Car Park
Starting from 7am
Students, Parents, Family, Staff and Friends of Albany Hills State School are invited

Bundaberg – Community Event
Wednesday 12 September
CQU Bundaberg
44 Maryborough St
Free BBQ provided

Wednesday 12 September
at 12:00pm
Fountain Park, George Street
Sausage Sizzle provided

Wednesday 12 September
4pm at Central Park, George Street

Wednesday 12 September
4.30pm at City Place

Sunshine Coast – Public meetings and rallies
Wednesday 12 September
12.00noon to 1.30pm
Corner The Esplanade & First Avenue, Maroochydore
4.00pm to 5.00pm
Jessica Park, Nicklin Way, Kawana
Declare your support and wear maroon

Details for the Gold Coast
Wednesday 12 September
4pm at Victoria Park (corner of Surf Parade and Victoria Avenue) at Broadbeach (west of Broadbeach Mall, under the monorail).


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