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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Is Rupert Murdoch inching towards Labor and class collaboration?

They may only be straws in the wind but two recent pieces in The Australian suggest Rupert Murdoch might have realised his preferred Abbott government and its open attacks on the poor and working class has been a failure. He might be inching towards a more cooperative approach with labour and Labor.

My first piece of evidence is Adam Creighton’s article in The Australian on 6 February ‘Only the Labor Party can repair budget bottom line’. Creighton says, among other things:

ONLY the Labor Party is ultimately capable of fixing the budget. This isn’t an indictment of the Coalition’s beliefs or the quality of its members, on the contrary. Instead it reflects two basic, timeless political tenets that have, inevitably, ­destroyed Tony Abbott’s first ­budget.

The first is that parties of the Left can in government cut spending and make free-market reforms with the support of parties of the Right from opposition [and its own base]. The second is the Coalition’s natural inclination to defend the privileges of its generally older, richer support base.

He finishes off with this:

Winning is the guiding aspiration of both major political parties. But their differing support bases and philosophies make left-wing parties better at managing and succeeding in fiscal crises.

A few days later Rupert Murdoch tweeted that maybe we need an economic summit. And lo and behold. The editorial in Wednesday’s Australian says the same thing. In A summit on prosperity can build case for reform the editorial writer says:

It’s worth considering a national summit on prosperity. Skilfully managed, such a summit could begin to build the momentum needed for Australians to tackle reforms likely to underpin future living standards.

While he or she doesn’t mention roping in unions (they do refer to other interest groups as well as politicians from rival parties and business) the model they have in mind is the Accord. Thus the writer says:

Summitry was one of the tools deployed by the Hawke-Keating administrations of the 1980s as they notched up an enviable record in reform.

And why was Labor so successful? Creighton phrases it in terms of the left wing not daring to criticise Labor. He says:

Fear of becoming a banana republic compelled Hawke-Keating Labor to slash real public spending in the late 1980s, sell Qantas, permit enterprise bargaining, and even introduce a GP co-payment. Rudd-Gillard Labor, for all its economic vandalism, reined in family tax benefits and pushed tens of thousands of single mothers on to the dole to save money with barely a political murmur.

By contrast, Joe Hockey’s laudable attempts to trim the rate of growth of health, education and welfare spending (not to mention Campbell Newman’s premature thrashing in Queensland) have foundered on the same predictable left-wing hysteria, however confected, that destroyed John Howard’s attempt at liberalisation of workplace laws.

However a more important factor in the success of the Hawke and Keating governments in implementing a neoliberal agenda was the Accord, the agreement between the Labor government and union leadership that saw acceptance of much of the neoliberal agenda and actions, and cut real wages, in exchange for mealy mouthed and unfulfilled promises about long term economic benefits.

Murdoch and his writers haven’t yet come out in favour of Labor doing deals with the union leadership to implement more reforms than the Liberals under Abbott could ever dream about, but it can’t be far away. Amid all the union bashing in the Murdoch press I can envisage some ‘good’ unions (i.e. weak ones) and their leaders starting to get some praise for their ‘responsible’ approaches. Kathy Jackson comes to mind.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has now said he would consider just such a summit. Without the unions involved it would be a talk fest and little else. And no real union is going to sit down with Abbot and co to discuss how best to attack their members. That is a role that Labor, not the Liberals, can and has performed. However it appears Shorten isn’t the man for the job, at least according to the editorial writer. You’d need someone of Hawkesque stauture for such a job and Bill Shorten ain’t no Bob Hawke.

The union movement (especially the remaining rank and file) should remember the lessons of the Accord. There is an alternative to supping with the devil, whether that devil be a smiling ALP or a scowling Liberal Party. That alternative is to fight against the attacks of the bosses and their politicians on wages, conditions, safety, jobs. If you don’t fight you lose.

 

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Comments

Comment from Kay
Time February 12, 2015 at 8:17 am

Murdoch always supports the side he thinks can best manage the economy – especially if the economy is in trouble, as it is at the moment. He always has. He strongly supported both Thatcher and Blair; he strongly supported Whitlam, Hawke, Rudd and Howard. So it is a complete myth that he always supports the Coalition.

It is certainly true that, if it wants to, Labor can successfully legislate economic reforms because it will have the support of the Left, the unions and the Coalition. Howard strongly supported Hawke’s economic reforms. Hawke has certainly said he would have supported Howard’s economic reforms had Howard been allowed by the Liberals to introduce any.

Rudd and Gillard disappointed in many ways, and spent too much on GFC stimulus packages, but, as the Creighton article said, it managed to get through more repressive expenditure savings than Abbott has managed to do. Why? Labor could always rely upon the support of the Left, the unions and the Coalition. But the current populist, union-dominated Labor Opposition has learned from Tony Abbott – just say “No” to everything, including measures that Labor itself originally proposed!

The Liberals are always quick to point out that the Hawke government was one of the best ever. Its reforms set Australia up for decades of prosperity. Howard introduced some reforms, including the GST, but, to a great extent, squandered wealth for popularity by introducing long-term unaffordable middle class welfare. Now voters are screaming as Abbott has attempted to claw back some of the Howard largesse.

Mind you, I think Hockey’s first Budget was a disaster – it put all the burden of debt recovery on the shoulders of the poor, and left the big end of town, and the very rich, unscathed. No surprise that Hockey could not explain the inexplicable! Liberal supporters around the country have been bitterly disappointed with Tony Abbott, and his government – and its very mean and unintelligent Budget. There have been some successes – Morrison, Bishop and Robb – but Abbott, Hockey, Andrews, Dutton and some others have been abject failures. Liberal supporters are the ones calling for Abbott to stand down – not Labor supporters. Labor realises that with Abbott in charge, the 2016 federal election will be a repeat of the 2015 Qld election! Shorten will have an unfettered run into the Lodge – no policies will be required! Look at Qld’s Palaszcsuk – no policies, just the slogan: “Stop asset sales”. Newman may have been personally unpopular, and created some controversies, but his actions were responsible for largely repairing the Qld economy – Qld was almost back to AAA rating.

Those who want to see the debt repaired, want a new Liberal leader in the hope that the Coalition can be returned in 2016. Abbott and his closest supporters are just putting their egos above the future of their Party and the country. Murdoch sees that – as do so many of we Liberal Party supporters.

If I thought for one second that a Shorten Labor government could be anything like the Hawke government, I’d go back to voting Labor myself! But Shorten is just a light-weight populist union man who will continue to prosecute the cause of the unions above the good of the country! He has no clue as to how to repair the economy. Labor’s way these days is just to borrow money and leave it to the Coalition to face voter anger as it tries to repair the Budget. That’s what happened in Qld, and is happening federally too.

Comment from David Ashton
Time February 12, 2015 at 12:28 pm

If uncle Rupert is making this change, it has nothing to do with morality or character. he will go where the money is.

It would be nice to say that what Murdoch thinks is irrelevant, considering the cheap trash he peddles as news and commentary, but he has an effect that we have to take into account.

Comment from Ross
Time February 12, 2015 at 4:55 pm

Rubbish Kay. The elites fear a real revolt by the masses, that’s why they want to appear to be conciliatory. They see what’s happened in Greece and fear they will lose control of all the political parties.

So their plan will be to buy time and appear to be concerned about our well being.

Comment from patrick connor
Time February 12, 2015 at 9:35 pm

Yes , Rupert might be “inching” – he is a very shifty person – but he is not softening .
I have observed Rupert over a long period of time , & see him as a practicing amoral parasite who will do & say anything to get at “the money” – just as night follows day .

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 12, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Neither Labor nor Coalition have any intention of ever fixing either the budget or foreign debt. They are working to the UN’s master plan, and so is Rupert Murdoch, as he is clearly a Corporate Neo-Communist. He knows the next step in the plan is to get Malcolm Turnbull to bring in an Emissions Trading Scheme, before the UN blows the whistle again, and the ball gets passed back to the Left. No doubt Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt have also agreed to a facilitation of same.

Anyone who had a plan to make Australia great would do the right thing and resurrect manufacturing. One cannot balance the budget by giving out money, while fewer taxes are collected. Blind Freddy could do a better job than either of the major parties.

As a man called ETS recently stated on another blog, we have had 100 years of anti-Australian governments all working to the same basic agendas.

Comment from Kay
Time February 13, 2015 at 8:12 am

Ross

I assure you “a real revolt by the masses” is the last thing that concerns Rupert Murdoch or any of the other “elites”!

As for Greece – so they have a Left Wing government – hardly a “real revolt by the masses”! I have been to Greece recently, and it’s business as usual – crowded cafes, a very relaxed lifestyle, everyone smoking like chimneys! And we will see how the reality of life moderates this new government. Probably very little will actually change. Greece could leave the EMU and return to the drachma (short term pain for maybe long term gain), thus starting the disintegration of the EMU, but that will cause significant damage to all of the countries involved. One plus of returning to the drachma would be a huge influx of tourists, especially those whose currency rate is dropping against the ridiculously high euro – like Australians. But these issues are not as simple as many people think.

BTW my observations about how Murdoch changes his allegiances between the Coalition and Labor is fully supported by history, and he is well known to favour economic conditions that are beneficial for business, including his own. I mean, why wouldn’t he? Just common sense. He is a businessman. Also, my comments about how much easier it is for Labor governments to make economic reforms is supported by history – as Adam Creighton says.

Given the mess the Coalition finds itself in, with opposition from everyone in the Senate, it seems to me that an economic summit might be a good way forward. There does need to be consensus before any real reforms can be made. And changes MUST be made, like it or not.

Comment from Kay
Time February 13, 2015 at 8:23 am

Lorikeet

More of your drivel about “the UN’s master plan”!! But I guess it is unlikely that you will ever relinquish your conspiracy theory rubbish. You always squib on supplying any details to support your outrageous views.

“As a man called ETS recently stated on another blog, we have had 100 years of anti-Australian governments all working to the same basic agendas.” I think your are grossly misinterpreting ETS’ comments for your own purposes. ETS always makes very sensible, well-argued, real-world comments that would not accord with your conspiracy theory crap. This does not sound like the way in which ETS usually argues – after all, he seems a fairly moderate left-of-centre person, who also supports an ETS.

Comment from Ross
Time February 13, 2015 at 4:58 pm

Lorikeet, see Senator Anne Bressington on Agenda 21 and the Club of Rome. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sES6_OXPwOU

The plan for world domination via their “New World Order” started before WW1.They do it via the power of money creation as debt.

Ignore Kay as she is looking like a troll.

Comment from John
Time February 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm

And hasn’t that worked well for the new world order? Whatever that is. Is it the Illuminati? Or the reptilian shape changers? Or perhaps this new world order is run by the Jews? The bankers is normally anti-Semitic code for Jews. Take your pick for dangerous conspiracy theories which explain nothing.

Comment from Ross
Time February 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm

No John it has not worked our all that well for their New World Order. Putin talks of his own New World Order and no doubt China has similar aspirations.

Put psychopaths in charge of too much power and this is the result. This is conspiracy fact as echoed by many of a Shakespeare’s plays. Our elites are compulsive plotters since they have so much wealth and time to implement things beyond our wildest imaginations.

We have not had real democracy since the Renaissance ,when debt free tally sticks were issued by Govts to make economic activity happen without enslavement.

The result was the Renaissance was one of the most creative times in our history.

Comment from Kay
Time February 14, 2015 at 6:39 am

Ross

I’m a troll????? I may not be a socialist, but I think my comments are better argued and supported by facts, and add more to the general debate of the topics, that do yours.

I sometimes agree with John; I more often disagree. But at least I am prepared to argue my point without launching off into some conspiracy theory crap. I would expect that an intelligent, genuine blog would welcome a lively debate on the issues raised. After all, all issues have several aspects – how you view them depends on one’s life experience, beliefs and value system.