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John Passant

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January 2016



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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)



One punch tragedies, racism and deaths on building sites

Every death is a personal, familial and in some cases, societal tragedy.  In the latter case whether the death becomes well known and affects us all depends on the mainstream media. (It can also in these days of social media come to the public’s attention and sometimes grab our collective imagination that way.)

Most Australian readers will be familiar with the tragic one punch death of Cole Miller. A young 18 year old on a night out was punched by one of a group of strangers itching for a fight. His grief stricken family turned off his life support a few days later.  Both Fairfax and News Ltd media, plus various TV and radio outlets, have given his death significant prominence.

I was going to compare the mainstream media treatment of Cole Miller’s death to that of Trevor Duroux. He died in mid December after one punch on a night out felled him earlier that month.  As far as I can tell his death, apart from the Gold Coast Bulletin, went unreported.  However New Matilda did the job (and a much better one) than I could ever do in explaining the difference in the treatment of Miler and Duroux.  In the article Cole Miller And Trevor Duroux: Some One-Punch Deaths Are Good For Media Business, Some Not-So-Much New Matilda tells us the reason for the different level of reporting. Duroux was Aboriginal.

It is also, as New Matilda suggests, about newspapers getting sales over the traditionally revenue slow Christmas-New Year period. Aboriginal men as one punch victims don’t sell newspapers. Perhaps their deaths also challenge the average buyer’s stereotype of victim and perpetrator?

New Matilda also points out the campaign in New South Wales for tough one punch laws, and late night lock out and last drink laws in sections of the Sydney CBD, (now extended I understand to nearby suburbs like Newtown,) was built on one punch deaths in that state. Who benefits from lockout laws? The Casinos are exempt from them. Further, there appears little evidence that one punch and lock out and last drink laws actually work in reducing the levels of violence in society. At best they may just relocate it. At worst they don’t reduce deaths and serious injury.

Lock out laws are not mainly about safety. They are about social control. The ruling class doesn’t want a working class which isn’t focussed on work, work, work, or viewed from the point of view of the ruling class, the consequences of that work, work, work, which are profit, profit, profit. The working class drinking at 2 or 3 am challenges or could challenge the paramountcy of profit. What lock out and last drink laws do is regulate the choices of working class people to thumb their noses at capitalism. Hunger, homelessness and the other consequences of not working day in day out for the man also do that.

Just as lock out laws are about social control of the working class so too are attacks on unions, such as the recent Dyson Heydon witch hunt. So the media will highlight the violence which fits the narrative of the ruling class for social control but ignore that which undermines it.

So it is that there was another death recently that we didn’t hear much about from the media. On Tuesday a 24-year-old electrician at Dallas in Melbourne’s north was electrocuted on a building site. Not much mass media reporting, no mass outpouring of grief, no questioning why, and certainly no campaign in the media calling for tougher criminal sanctions against employers for deaths on site or for better policing of safety on building sites.

Sensibly, and viewed rationally, the best people to police safety on building sites would be the workers and their unions. That runs counter to the narrative of the capitalist class in its attempts to smash the building unions, especially the CFMEU, precisely because they defend their members against the bosses and their rapacious and dangerous drive for profit.

Building unions challenge putting profit before people. That is why the government and bosses want to smash them. The media as part of the cabal of capital won’t publish stories or analysis which challenges this fundamental attack on unions because these unions put people before profits and fight for safety on sites.

To save lives on building sites would mean empowering workers and their unions. Defending building unions is literally a life or death matter.



Comment from Fred
Time January 8, 2016 at 10:43 am

Really? You think lock out laws are designed to force workers to only concentrate on work?

Lock out laws are all to do with wowserism and the nanny state. The political elite see alcohol as an evil, that should be taxed and regulated. Look at Kevin Rudds alcopop tax.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time January 8, 2016 at 3:46 pm

I think some workers also die on building sites because they are not qualified to do the jobs, or have been inadequately trained. These days it is very common for bosses to send apprentices out on their own to do jobs, or to work with more experienced apprentices, when a qualified tradesman (in the correct field) is supposed to supervise apprentices at all times. And that’s without discussing backsliding training in Australia.

The death of the aboriginal man was probably largely overlooked by the media as it didn’t serve the purposes of Big Business to advertise yet another fatality.

I support closing all drinking establishments at midnight or 1.00 a.m. and sending the patrons home. The reason this is being opposed is because workers are expected to make themselves available for work at all times of the day and night, and have to participate in recreational activities whenever they can fit them in. This begs the question as to how many workers are drunk or drug affected when on duty, since the mobile phone is like an umbilical cord, on which the boss can give an almighty jerk at a moment’s notice.

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