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John Passant

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June 2013



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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)



Systemic sexism

A few weeks ago the reality of systemic racism became obvious to more Australians. Now the Liberal Party offshoot in Queensland, the Liberal National Party, have highlighted the systemic sexism of our society.

Liberal Party hopeful and former Howard Minister Mal Brough held a big Liberal Party fundraiser in March. About 30 people paid up to $1000 a head to attend. Joe Hockey, the shadow Treasurer was the main speaker. One offering on a menu read “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box”. (The LNP supporting restaurant owner now says it was a mock menu. Let’s see).

This is the same Mal Brough of whom I wrote last year that Justice Rares said, in relation to throwing out the Ashby sexual harassment case against Peter Slipper:

…the evidence established that there was a combination involving Mr Ashby, Ms Doane and Mr Brough of that kind. Mr Ashby acted in combination with Ms Doane and Mr Brough when commencing the proceedings in order to advance the interests of the LNP and Mr Brough.

And the proceedings were therefore an abuse of process and thrown out.

Tony Abbott gave Brough his full support then, and has again today backed Brough Justice after the Liberal National Party Kentucky Fried scandal.

It should come as no surprise that the open party of the bourgeoisie is infected with sexists. Sexism is part of capitalism, something that flows from the needs of capital for cheap child raising.

Yesterday Prime Minister Gillard, in a speech to women for Julia Gillard – an idea stolen from Hillary Clinton’s Democratic nomination presidential campaign in the US – raised abortion as an election issue.

But what we have here is not Labor as some champion of women’s liberation but a cheap attack to try to differentiate neoliberal Labor from neoliberal Liberal. Abortion is a state matter. Labor in power in the six states have never decriminalised abortion. Only the ACT has done that.

It is Gillard Labor that cut the single parent payment, throwing the recipients – about 80,000 women, 10,000 men – and their kids into deeper poverty. Under Labor cuts to welfare payments are impovershing more and more children. Gillard announced her systemic attack on women on the same day she made her famous misogyny speech against Abbott. The speech was symbolism to hide the neoliberal reality of Labor attacking poor women to make the budget of the rich more balanced.

Symbolism describes Labor. On Gillard’s watch the gender pay gap is now higher than it was under John Howard in 2004. The position of working women has worsened under Gillard Labor.

Even her symbolism flees the joint when it comes to power plays. Gillard is rewarding loyal Victorian right hack and supporter David Feeney with the safe(ish) seat of Batman. Feeney was a key knifer in the rise of Gillard to power over the corpse of Kevin Rudd. He has described himself as a fairly conservative Catholic. Given Gillard’s support for Feeney, Mary-Anne Thomas the left supported women standing against Feeney, has no chance. Women in winnable seats is all well and good but…

None of this is to argue that parliamentary games are the way to win better lives for women. Women like Gillard or Thatcher running the ship of the capitalist state make no difference to the dynamic drivers of the system – the need to extract surplus value from productive workers, women as cheap carers and raisers of the next generation of workers, and all that flows from that – the second class citizenship of women, the low wages, the systemic sexism.

What has made a difference is the organised struggles against oppression, especially militant action by unions. Julia Gillard is part of the problem. Ordinary working women are part of the solution.



Comment from Ross
Time June 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm

It just unbelievable that they would not only think this stuff but also put it in print.

The Coalition are so possessed by their super egos and fait accompli victory attitudes, they’ve lost all discipline even before an election win.

Did they not realise Coalition women would be present who would be affronted by this crap? It was not even clever or funny. They played right into the hands of Julia Gillard and her misogynist observations of Abbott.

How can they run Australia, when they cannot even control themselves?

Comment from Sara Dowse
Time June 13, 2013 at 7:58 am

You are right, of course. But I wonder if the famous speech made on the day of the transfer of single mothers to horrifically low Newstart (for anyone) was intended to mask that move. I’m not sure Gillard would even make the connection.

Comment from Guy Hickey
Time June 13, 2013 at 8:51 am

Following the theme of Systemic sexism, I hear there’s a push for equal number of women as men in parliament. What happened to “best person (male or female, I don’t care which), for the job”?

Comment from Kay
Time June 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

Gillard’s outburst about ‘misogynism’ was a blatant attempt to cover for her poor press. Now she does all thinking women a great disfavour by using the gender card to try to frighten people away from Rudd and Abbott. And, as you so rightly point out, abortion legislation is a State matter anyway. There is no low she won’t stoop to in order to hang on to her position! Appalling!

Re the menu: Unfortunately, most work places love in-house poor taste jokes. This restaurant and this menu fall into that category. No one saw it outside the restaurant. An employee posted it on Facebook. Reminds me of the tasteless jokes about Tony Abbott and his Chief-of-Staff at a union dinner attended by the PM and other Labor Ministers. It seems tasteless jokes abound!

Comment from kevin bennewith
Time June 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm

What a load of bollocks. Systemic racism and systemic sexism. Piffle. Sexism and racism are endemic in the human race, and especially in those protected species of yours , the Islamists. Why don’t you get on their case if you want to have a go at real sexism and racism? Worried about getting your head chopped off? You are just a bloody hypocrite.

Comment from jack
Time June 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

that’s funny John going on about systemic sexism. He doesn’t understand it. He called me a misogynist when I told him (?) to grow a pair of balls.
Unless he is a she, of course.

Comment from John
Time June 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm

So the real fascist is back; the man who threatened physical violence against me and listed my home address. Sick, sick, sick…

Comment from John
Time June 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Thanks fuck knuckle Kevin.

Comment from John
Time June 13, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Of course ‘best’ is determined by a narrow selection process of life which normally filters out many women. I don’t favour parliamnetary quotas because they merely put a pro-capitalist female in place of a pro-capitalist male. I wouldn’t favour quotas even if they meant a left wing anti-capitalist were to get a seat. I believe in democracy. In Socialist Alternative for example the gender break down of men and women in leadership positions is slightly more women, not through quotas but because these comrades are good leaders with a good theoretical and practical grasp.

Comment from John
Time June 13, 2013 at 3:52 pm

Yes Sara, I think that is right. But the close timing of the two shows the truth I think of the symbolism versus reality argument about Labor I am putting here.

Comment from Ross
Time June 13, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Initially Mal Brough apologised for the menu but now the Restaurant owner Joe Richards takes responsibility and says it was never displayed at the Coalition Fund raiser. Why then did Mal Brough apologise for something, that according to him, didn’t happen? He must have had knowledge of this menu to apologise for it. Surely a natural reaction would be, not to apologise for something that you did not endorse or had little knowledge of.

Gillard is far from being squeaky clean and deserves her poor political standing. Both parties have the stench of arrogance with no concern for the electorate at large.

Pingback from En Passant » Saturday’s socialist speak out
Time June 14, 2013 at 7:26 pm

[…] of course sexism in Australia is not systemic; women’s oppression is not part of the furniture of capitalism. No, not at […]

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