ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

February 2014



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


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)



The new McCarthyism and the Royal Commission into unions

The reactionary and viciously anti-union Abbott government has announced a royal commission into union ‘corruption’. This is code for a royal commission into unions.

It is a witch hunt designed to weaken if not destroy unions and drag the Labor Party down as a consequence.  Labor and the unions have already taken the bait by arguing for a police task force to investigate possible criminal activity.

It is a beat up and there is no substance to this condemnation and tarring of unions with unsubstantiated  claims.

The reasons the cops aren’t all already over this is twofold. The unions aren’t the crooks and the police have nothing on them. The real crooks are the bosses and their parliamentarians, Liberal, Labor and National especially.

There is more evidence for a Royal Commission into parliamentarians’ abuse of their entitlements than there is for one into union ‘corruption’.  Where too is the Royal Commission into the lies John Howard and his imperialist mates Bush and Blair used to justify the invasion of Iraq? Into the children overboard lies? Into Aboriginal deaths in custody (again). Into bribery overseas by big companies and the Reserve Bank? Into tax cheating by the rich and big business? Into the brutalisation of asylum seekers? The list is endless.

So why single out unions?  Because this government of capital wants to weaken or destroy unions so that they and the bosses can then launch an attack on wages, jobs and conditions and thus make business more profitable by lower workers’ living standards.

The ALP in government shifted wealth from labour to capital by stealth and by agreement with the union leadership.

The Abbott Liberal government knows that the continuing global recession  and slow down in China means  the Great recession might reach our shores soon enough. Hence the positioning for a future where unions and workers can’t fight back.

That is what the Royal Commission is about – twelve months of besmirching the union movement and the Labor Party with recommendations to reintroduce the ‘rule of law’ into industrial relations and especially unions. That just means jailing workers for striking.

The Royal Commission will make recommendations in the run up to the 2016 election which will further criminalise unions (the concept of unlawful combinations, a regression to the 19th Century, comes to mind) and further criminalise industrial action, or make it almost impossible to undertake.

A Royal Commission will have the power to call anyone before it on pain of imprisonment for refusal to attend or to testify.

It reeks of McCarthyism and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. Are you or have you ever been a member of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union?

It is time for the Australian Council of Trade Unions to grow a spine and reject this union-bashing exercise. It could even take action against it and likely win support from moderate and right wing unions because the Royal Commission threatens them, and the position of all union officials, just as much as it does the CFMEU and its leadership.

This is because paid trade union officials are the retailers of our labour power to the bosses and what Abbott wants to do through this Royal Commission is cut out the middle men and women, the union officials, and allow the bosses to completely dominate atomised workers and thus drive down wages and slash conditions, cut jobs, and lengthen the working day, among other things.

This attack therefore is on all unions, not just the occasionally militant ones.

This means, if the moderate and right wing officials had any sense, they’d join in the fight against the Royal Commission.

The ACTU could for example say that no union official will attend or testify before the Royal Commission and that if one official is jailed or fined as a consequence the ACTU will shut down important sectors of the economy.

That of course would require the ACTU going into workplaces and actually explaining the threat the Royal Commission poses to workers and their unions and to wages and conditions and preparing workers for massive industrial action, something they haven’t done for the last 3 decades.

We might have to give them maps so they can find their way to their members’ workplaces.

It also means, if the ACTU or some left wing unions were to provide a lead, that rank and file groups could then set up union defence committees and organise and run the campaign to defend our unions.

The threat is great. Time is short. Organise and mobilise.