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John Passant

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February 2014



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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)



Close down the Manus Island detention centre

The time for pussyfooting around is over. The anger inside me is boiling up as I write this piece about the disgrace that is Manus Island and the Australian government’s refugee ‘policies’. These policies are designed to hurt desperate people and send a message that the Australian government will hurt you more and more until you look elsewhere to flee or stay home and suffer war, rape, torture, imprisonment, genocide.

It now looks as if locals and PNG police, including the murderers, rapists, torturers and other thug police the Australian government secretly funds, and invaded the Manus Island detention centre on Sunday night armed with machetes and guns. It was this invasion which forced the asylum seekers to flee. Here is what the Guardian reports:

Refugee advocates and people inside the facility contradicted Morrison’s statements that asylum seekers had caused the disturbance and broken out of the centre. They said PNG police and locals entered the compounds with weapons and attacked detainees.

“As far as we know no detainees breached the perimeter unless it was in the context of fleeing the detention centre,” Ian Rintoul, spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition, told Guardian Australia.

He said the fences were breached by locals and PNG police who carried out “systematic and brutal” attacks on asylum seekers.

“[The PNG police] have been inside the compound routinely over the last few weeks dealing with protests,” Rintoul said.

He said people on the island had said the groups had come through the outer perimeter fence “and systematically attacked, compound by compound”.

“People fled out of the compound.”

Sources inside the detention facility have given Guardian Australia a similar account of the first disturbance on Sunday night.

One source said Manus Island police and locals entered the compound and attacked asylum seekers with machetes and bats. “About 15 persons were wounded – cut in neck, cut in shoulder, cut in thigh, back damage, head cut, and [they] had been taken to IHMS,” said the source.

The source also alleged that when attackers could not get inside one compound they began throwing rocks instead.

Another said no detainees had attacked Australian staff and that among the injuries at least two people were stabbed.

“Local people attacked us and started throwing stones at us,” he told Guardian Australia. “We are not safe here at all,” he said.

Of course the cone of silence Morrison and Abbott have uses will have to be replaced by a web of lies in this case given the scrutiny. Nothing can stand in the way of stopping the boats for these representatives of capital.  In fact it is likely the homicidal attacks on Manus Island asylum seekers may give the Abbott government a boost in the polls and so the spiral into total inhumanity may not be far away.

Certainly Labor, as the instigator under Paul Keating of mandatory detention and under Kevin Rudd of the PNG ‘solution’, won’t challenge Abbott.  In failing to act Labor lays the groundwork for an even further shift to the right and into more and more barbarity against refugees.

Whether the Australian government ordered the police and locals to attack or more likely stood back while it was happening and made sure its paid security thugs there, and G4S, did nothing, the blame for the murder and injuries to 77 others lies squarely with Australian politicians.

The refugee policies of Kevin Rudd, Tony Burke, Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison were and are designed to deliberately put asylum seekers in harm’s way. It is their rotten policies which are killing and maiming people on Manus Island right now. Shut Manus Island down. Bring asylum seekers here and process them in Australia.

Did G4S stand by? According to the Sydney Morning Herald:

On Monday night, one asylum seeker from Lebanon who is in the Manus Island compound wrote in a Facebook message that the violence had started again.

”Tonight polices [sic] and g4s attack us again. Many peoples in the yard. Injure please we need one to help us. May be till morning they will kill us. We are human or animls [sic].”

We need more than inquiries into what happened.We need action against the rotten refugee spiral of both major parties into barbarism. According to the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney:

More reports from Manus island indicate that another attack on the asylum seekers is under way, for the second night in a row.

Manus locals have again entered the detention centre from the same area as Monday night and are again attacking asylum seekers. The is increasing evidence that the people who are being described as “locals” may well be PNG G4S workers.

It is the time to stand up against these inhuman policies. There will be snap demonstrations in Sydney and Melbourne on Friday. Details are at the end of this blog.

These demonstrations need to be supported by trade unions, indigenous Australians and all others under attack and being demonised by the Abbott government.

The Abbott strategy is pretty clear. This is a government of habitual liars who are hell bent on making it open slather for business.

The economic destruction they will unleash with their austerity program coupled with letting the market rip will see their rhetoric and actions against the most marginalised and defenceless – asylum seekers, indigenous Australians, Muslims, those on the dole – ratchet up even further to distract attention away from their attacks on wages, conditions and jobs and hence increasing unemployment.

This government has only sunk so low because labor joined them in the cesspit of racism and xenophobia and made demonising asylum seekers respectable.

Our fight is against the two major parties in government – both Labor and the Liberals.

Is there a solution? Close down these detention centre concentration camps. Bring the asylum seekers from Indonesia and Malaysia to Australia for processing while they live in the community. Hope, not fear. Love, not hate. Refugees, not racists.

To see that happen will require a Herculean effort on our part since the Abbott government has gone murderously on the attack against refugees. We must therefore fight back strongly in their defence. The first steps to do that are demonstrations in Sydney and Melbourne. Others will be announced soon and posted when I have details. Join us in the fight to defend refugees and by extension all those who will come under attack from this rotten viciously ruling class government.

Melbourne: Friday 21 February at 12:30 501 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000


The Refugee Action Collective Protest against Navy Tow Backs this Friday has been turned into an emergency protest against the killing of one asylum seeker and the shooting of another on Manus Island. The man died from head injuries, possibly from being bashed with rocks. 13 others are seriously injured, including one with a basal skull fracture.

This was not simply an ‘incident’, ‘riot’ or ‘break out’ as the media and Scott Morrison have portrayed. In response to ongoing legitimate protests for processing of asylum claims to begin since Jan 25 on Manus Island, reprisals against asylum seekers have been allowed to take place. Guards vacated the compound and locals and police were allowed to go on a rampage against asylum seekers, with machetes and guns. Asylum seekers on Manus Island have been protesting since January 25 for processing to take place. This is blood on Morrison and Abbott’s hands, they are responsible for the safety of asylum seekers they imprison on Manus Island.

Our protest will still start at Defence Recruiting, 501 Swanston St as previously planned but will then march to the Immigration Department, corner Lonsdale and Spring St City

Sydney:  Saturday 22 February 12 pm Manly Park to walk at around 12.40 to Tony Abbott’s office

Join the Refugee Action Coalition Sydney by either catching a boat (ferry) to Manly (wharf 3, 11am departure), or meet us at 12 noon at Manly Park opposite Manly wharf. Speeches and performances will be followed by a march on Abbott’s office at 17 Sydney Road, Manly.

11am: ferry from Circular Quay wharf 3 to Manly (there is an additional ferry at 11.30am that will arrive at noon)
12 noon: Manly park
12.40 (approx), march via Corso to 17 Sydney Rd Manly

Adelaide, Friday, 21 February, 4pm Malls Balls, Rundle Mall

More demonstration details from other cities will be added as they come to hand.

Canberra: Candlelight Vigil for Victim of Offshore Detention

Saturday 22 February at 19:30 Garema Place, Canberra in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

The Canberra Refugee Action Committee is organising a candlelight vigil this weekend to mourn the death of an Iranian asylum seeker during recent protests at the Australian detention centre on Manus Island.

Reports are conflicted at this time as to how one person was killed and 77 others injured but sources suggest police and armed thugs went into the camp early Tuesday morning after days of escalating protests by asylum seekers over their continued detention and the appalling conditions at the camp.

Come along to show your support for those suffering under “Operation Sovereign Borders”.

Brisbane: 5.30 pm Friday 21 February King George Square CBD.

Shut down Manus Island Concentration Camp

One asylum seeker is dead, another shot, and at least 77 have sustained injuries, including a basal skull fracture, after an attack by PNG police and locals on the Australian run detention centre on Manus Island on 17 February.

This is a horror the Australian government allowed to happen. Staff and G4S guards – the private company that Australia outsources its detention “security” to – enabled PNG police and armed locals to roam the compound. There have been reports of asylum seekers being pulled from under their beds; a man was allegedly thrown from the first floor of one of the buildings and another was shot in the buttock.

But it’s not just that the Australian government is responsible for this instance of bloodshed. Australia caused the tensions in PNG in the first place by the establishment of the centre on Manus Island.

In the words of the asylum seeker who made the desperate call to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre: “We are not here by our choice. Australia government put us here by force and today this is happening. Who is responsible for our lives? We are dying here …”

Scott Morrison has made his position clear. The Department of Immigration and Border Security website’s section on refugees reads: “No way. They will not make Australia home”.

This policy is responsible for the atrocities on Manus Island.

Join Socialist Alternative campaign to shut these hell holes down and to free the refugees!



Pingback from Close down the Manus Island detention centre | OzHouse
Time February 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm

[…] Feb 18 2014 by admin […]

Comment from John Barr
Time February 19, 2014 at 9:31 am

Close down the Manus Island detention centre


I better idea is to get as much Media coverage out to Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka & anywhere else Asylum Seekers come from. Let’s show them that this is what you are coming to if you want to get to Australia. Better than all the paid Propaganda the Governments can muster.

Comment from Luke Weyland
Time February 19, 2014 at 9:39 am

There is a solution – And that solution is not a saline solution of the Indian, the Pacific or of tears. It is socialism.

Comment from Barry
Time February 19, 2014 at 10:27 am

Are people really that stupid to suggest bringing anyone who wants to come ?
I take anyone who thinks that is a good idea will make their own house available and supply tents in the backyard for the rest !
The council could provide tents in the local parks.

Where do you suggest the millions be placed ?

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2014 at 12:00 pm

It may surprise you but not everyone wants to come to Australia, but so what if they did? Just as there are more or les sopen borders for capital there should be open borders for labour. In fact there are only 10,000 refugees in Indonesia and about 100,000 in Malaysia. Bringing them here and processing them would not take long.

Hotel occupancy rates are always below full. They could be used to house people for whom housing in the community isn’t available.

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Yes, Luke, but for most people who support refugees that is not on their agenda.

Comment from Les Louis
Time February 19, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Retain the Trotsky image, but please delete Marx, as it gives the false image that you are a Marxist. Why do you think your “Left” nonsense is so eagerly propagated? To discredit Marxism , of course.

Comment from John Barr
Time February 19, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I take it John that you will be personally responsible for the 110000’s welfare or do you want all Australians to personally contribute to their Welfare.

Nice idea, totally impractable, but sounds great all warm & fuzzy, & Greenie. Up there with the fairies at the end of the garden.

My old mother use to say, “let them in & they’ll see what a wonderful life we have in Australia. They’ll all forsake Islam & become Catholics & lead a wonderful Australian way of life. She’s with the fairies now, god bless her naivety.

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Thanks for the laugh Les Louis. Presumably ‘real Marxists’ like you support demonising and brutalising asylum seekers.

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

No, I won’t be ‘personally responsible” but a society that used to take in 300000 immigrants a year a few years ago, and which easily handled the flow of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees in the 7os and 80s could easily handle a few hundred thousand asylum seekers a year. And we could tax the rich to pay for it although the returns will be much greater than the investment.

Comment from John Barr
Time February 19, 2014 at 2:27 pm

John, I know that this is the old Communist idea of everybody looking after everybody & living in perpetual harmony together. But looking at the reality of the Communist State, it really didn’t work out like that. Did it? You must admit that it was a failed idea. It was an Idea that was really great in principal but flawed in reality. Like a lot of Scientific principals, some work some don’t.
The Idea of dumping 100000 plus people from an entirely different & violent culture onto the Australian people & saying live long & prosper is absurd in the least.
Like Communism is just wont work.

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm

John Barr, Stalinism had nothing to do with socialism. It was state capitalism, and I welcomed the collapse of these dictatorial regimes. They showed that internal contradictions within the system can lead to its overthrow.

You also mention the violence of asylum seekers. Like the Vietnamese Catholics we are sending back you mean? These people are fleeing violence, often the result of our violence in the first place such as the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan or our support for the war criminals and genocidists in charge of Sri Lanka.

Comment from Kay
Time February 19, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I agree with John Barr. The more publicity the Manus Island incident gets around those countries from where the asylum seekers depart, the more likely it is for people to reconsider their plans to head for Australia. This will help open up more opportunities for those already patiently waiting in UN refugee camps to be accepted via the humanitarian intake program.

Comment from John Barr
Time February 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm

often the result of our violence in the first place.

If I remember correctly & I do. People were fleeing the Middle East long before the West got involved in any of the fighting. So don’t blame the West for the Refugee crises. These people just love to get stuck into each other. It’s been their nature for thousands of years & they have survived quite nicely. It should be contained to the ME, not exported to the rest of the world.

Comment from peter
Time February 19, 2014 at 8:13 pm

I agree close all of our centres down and send them to the closest refugee centre closest to their country of origin. Tomorrow

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Maybe Peter we should apply the same isolationist logic to Australia’s warmongering which you no doubt support.

Comment from John
Time February 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Let me see. European ‘civilisation’ produced fascism and Jewish people fleeing the Nazis were turned back or rejected by many countries. Vietnamese fleeing Vietnam, accepted by Macolm Fraser but rejected by Tony Abbott even though most of the recent asylum seekers are Catholics. Iraqi and Afghan refugees fleeing the consequences of our invasions. Iranian refugees fleeing the consequences of our undeclared war against them (aka sanctions). The biggest group of refugees are Palestinians, driven from their land in the act of genocide against them that established Israel and in camps throughout the Middle east. let them return home.

Pakistan and Iran have huge refugee populations thanks to our invasions. the support we give to the war criminals in charge of Sri Lanka only encourages them on the path of repression, rape, torture and murder.

The number of refugees and asylum seekers in or coming to or wanting to come to Australia is tiny.

If they do make it here let’s hope they don’t learn the brutal and bloody ways of Western capitalism.

When climate change refugees in their millions start migrating, the idea of borders will disappear.

Comment from Kay
Time February 20, 2014 at 9:24 am

The main conflict in the Middle East is the Shia/Sunni conflict. This has been going on for centuries. The complications caused by Western intervention is merely an additional layer to this. If there had never been any foreign invasions of Middle Eastern countries, the current level of violence would still be occurring – and will continue as long as the people in the ME are mired in fundamentalist Islam. And fundamentalist Islam should not be encouraged to infect the rest of the world.

My sympathies do lie with the Palestinians however – displaced from their homeland to appease the conscience of the allies after WW2 – courtesy of the Holocaust. Israel definitely is the ‘neighbour from hell’! I would like some outcome that gave the Palestinians some justice. Of all the world’s refugees, these are the most deserving in my view.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm

I agree in general with most of John’s comments on the Abbott government.

I believe the asylum seeker problem is being deliberately created by the UN in its quest to achieve a global redistribution of populations and wealth across the world.

We don’t need open borders for labour any more than we need open borders for capitalism.

I think most races and religions could live together in harmony, as long as they were all willing to live by the Australian Constitution and assimilate into the Aussie society. That includes no separate schools for Muslims or anybody else, but RE teachers of every faith working in every school.

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