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John Passant

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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)



Asylum seekers: a letter for Andrew Leigh MP

Andrew Leigh is one of the 2 House of Representatives members from the ACT. He is in the Labor Party and used to be a Professor of Economics at the  Australian National University. A lot of Andrew’s work is on inequality and he just released a book on it called Battlers and Billionaires. He doesn’t explain why inequality has increased under a Labor government that he is a member of.

Leigh was reported in a piece in the Canberra Times the other day supporting Kevin Rudd’s disgraceful and reactionary refugee policy with the usual crap that there is no alternative. This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Canberra Times about Leigh’s support for this most heinous and inhumane of policies.

Dear Editor

I see local Labor member Andrew Leigh is again crying crocodile tears, this time over the disgraceful ALP policy of deporting asylum seekers to Papua New Guinea. (Stephanie Anderson, ‘Leigh accepts asylum policy is the best of bad lot’ The Canberra Times 24 July, page 11).

The last time I saw ‘crocodile tears’ Andrew was when I was outside his office with over 100 other students protesting against his Government’s $2.8 billion worth of cuts to University funding, cuts which are now destroying employment and courses at the ANU, his former alma mater.

Politics involves tough choices Andrew says. Funny how those tough choices by Labor are always to attack the poor, the vulnerable and the defenceless. Single mums, university students, asylum seeks all come to mind.

Rudd echoed this when he asked what’s the alternative to being tough on asylum seekers and thus supposedly stopping drownings at sea?

Instead of vilifying refugees and punishing them for seeking asylum, Labor could do what well known radical leftist (sarcasm alert) Malcolm Fraser suggested – set up an Australian refugee processing centre in Indonesia to quickly judge the status of the 6000 asylum seekers there and fly the 90% or so found to be refugees to Australia for resettlement.

An alternative I have suggested for some time would be to charter a few Qantas planes and bring those 6000 asylum seekers to Australia for quick processing while they are in the community. None would then drown or have their lives further destroyed by being deported to PNG.

This might be a tough policy to sell to the racist and xenophobic wing  of Australian society and to the Australian ruling class who have historically used fear of the other as an ideological glue to bind workers to the bosses. But you know what, it might be a tough message to sell, but it is the principled approach to take. But principles and the ALP have along ago gone their separate ways, about the time the party adopted neoliberalism as its guiding principle to make the rich richer.

What we socialists might chant

If Canberra readers want to show the Labor Party how disgusted they are with the ALP’s disgraceful and racist PNG policy, I would urge you to join me and hundred of others at 12 pm on Saturday at Woden Square (end of Furzer St, next to PO & MLC /Lovett Tower) at a demonstration in defence of refugees called by the Canberra Refugee Action Committee.

We will be marching to a nearby ACT ALP conference to let Andrew and the other members of the Party know we strongly oppose this disgusting policy.

Rally details are here.

PS: The Canberra Times published an earlier version today, Friday 26 July.



Comment from Wyatt
Time July 26, 2013 at 8:42 am

Yes open the doors up, disband the defence force, do away with border patrols and let the hordes c amp in Mr Passants backyard, just not mine thankyou.

Comment from John
Time July 26, 2013 at 9:26 am

Poor Wyatt, having abandoned Australia’s supposedly Judeo-Christian heritage of love and compassion – the good Samaritan comes to mind, or maybe Wyatt should read Pope Francis on his visit to the Island of Lampedusa – is reduced to parroting lies about refugees. No doubt Wyatt’s back yard is filled up because he is looking after all those poor disadvantaged Australians. Poor deluded Wyatt. The hordes are coming Wyatt. Bring back the White Australia policy eh? Stop the yellow menace. The reds are under our beds. Or are they about to sweep down from somewhere? Muslims are taking over. I have heard it all before. All fairly pathetic and shown over time to be nothing other than bullshit from the 1% as ideological glue to bind workers to their class enemy, the bosses. The gullible like Wyatt substitute reaction for thinking, rationality and compassion. Such is both the pwoer of the emdia but it alos refects the fudnamental alienation capitlaims produces and the sense of fake superiority the demonisation of refugees can give some workign class and other people.

Comment from Hasbeen
Time July 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

Many kids are socialists, enthused with the idea of helping their fellow man, & like our Ruddy, unable to see through the mist of idealism to the obvious result of their action, obvious at least obvious to any thinking adult.

Most kids grow up, & learn to follow an idea to it’s logical result if implemented, & realize just how silly they were as kids. They become more conservative.

Those who don’t grow up are to be found in the insular world of academia, where they are insulated from the results of their foolishness, at least until it is too late to do much about their folly.

Try growing up John. it would be good for the rest of us.

Comment from philip
Time July 26, 2013 at 1:15 pm

You forgot to call him racist, as with anyone who does not agree with you.

Comment from Chek
Time July 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm


You are getting a little obsessed with the tedious encores of our boat people problem.

Time to move on to why as a nation we are feasting upon the gladiatorial theatre of who is better at getting rid of the boat people.

Rudd’s action is a natural corollary to the events of the last few years in which Abbott and co had exploited every opportunity to challenge the (illegitimate govt) to rid us of the boat people for whom we have little taste for.


Comment from d. l. white
Time July 26, 2013 at 11:24 pm

You probably know more about Australia’s foreign aid and refugee commitment than I do and to what extent it has been honoured in the past.

Even doubling our intake of refugees would have little impact on the global figure and the question arises, are the 23 million Australians living here able to absorb more and if so who can make a realistic assessment of what that capacity is either economically or socially. That said, in my heart I like the option you suggest of processing in Indonesia if this can be organized, the risk here of course is that this simply becomes another channel for larger numbers of so called queue jumpers. Where do we draw I line?

Imagining myself in the soul destroying position of being displaced from the land and lifestyle of my birth I would hope that my dreams of a new life were not to end with the drowning of myself and family because I chose the course of desperation. In that position I would prefer that such an option did not exist.

This option must be eliminated for the sake of those asylum seekers tempted to take the risk and also to stop the cynical and cruel exploitation of these desperate people by the profiteering perpetrators of illegal people smuggling.

Democracy itself is fighting for survival in Indonesia. The plight of the asylum seekers is one also shared by millions of Indonesians so the issue is not a priority for them.

I agree that Rudd’s stand appears to be cruel but, if it is effective in preventing more deaths at sea it will get my tick.

Surely the first humanitarian priority for Australia as the destination country is to stop the loss of life through people smuggling. Then the issue of humanitarian aid to asylum seekers and indeed global poverty must be addressed.

Another point I would make is that we should get over our denial of the fact that our defence force has been involved in the illegal wars that have contributed to the refugee problem. If we are going to accuse our government of cruel policies lets be honest and also accuse them and the coalition of the willing for the obscenities of Afghanistan and Iraq which started the problem in the first place.

Perhaps we could start by persuading the arms manufacturers of the world to stop their war games and divert their resources towards saving humanity and the planet. Think what the cost of destroying 500 thousand Iraq’is, a trillion dollars, might have done had it been spent on actually helping them. But of course as one high level American diplomat in the Middle East stated “were not here to help these people”. Whoops! democratisation.

Come to think of it may be the diplomats job is to stir the pot, sell the arms and collect the profit, then sit back and watch while the countries concerned tear themselves to pieces and create the refugee problem which Australia and other recipient countries have to deal with. But that couldn’t possibly be right “could it”?
Cheers Denis

Comment from John
Time July 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Typical ignorant reply from a smug racist sitting there without bothering to check Australia’s racist and genocidal history and the long thread of racism and xenophobia the ruling elite have used to frighten us to embrace the one percent.

Comment from Kay
Time July 28, 2013 at 9:56 am

Wyatt, Hasbeen, philip, Chek, Denis

You should know by now that anyone who challenges John’s narrow Canberra-based view of the world ends up being subject to a long line of profanities from John. And the more reasoned your argument, the more disgusting the insults directed at you!

This is not a man attracted to reasoned debate. Any criticism of his rubbish will just result in your being called ‘racist’, despite the fact this insult cannot in any way be justified.

And that is if he even prints your comments! He is so quick to delete that he often accidentally deletes comments from his acolytes.

Comment from John
Time July 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm

What Kay means is I call racists racists. To quote a Palestinian friend: ‘Some bigots think you should “respect” their bigotry, if you don’t, you’re “intolerant.” Intolerant of bigotry? What a horrible label.’