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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)



Invasion Day is the groundhog day of genocide

I wrote this 2 years ago. It remains depressingly relevant today.




Australia Day is Invasion Day but we will never hear that truth. Bourgeois clichés about the lucky country (what irony!) and our great nation compete with bullshit about our brave soldiers overseas and how we all in this together.

It’s time for some truth about our genocidal and racist history. As George Orwell said telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

White Australia has a black history.

For 65000 years Aboriginal people lived here in harmony with themselves and the environment. Australia Day does not recognise that proud history and prior stewardship. It whitewashes this history by celebrating the arrival of a bunch of neocolonialists and their convicts and guards a mere 225 years ago.

Australia is built on the bones of Aboriginal people.

Our country is trapped in its genocidal history.

Henry Reynolds estimates that, between 1788 and 1920, 20,000 Aboriginal people fell defending their land in an ongoing war against the invaders. The Indigenous population dropped from 300,000 at the time of the invasion to 70,000 130 years later.

Many of these people died because of disease, itself a consequence of the invasion, but they also died as a result of the consequences that flow from genocide and dispossession – murder, poverty, alienation, loss of social structure, alcoholism, racism, lack of food, stolen generations to name a few.

Genocide against Aboriginal people is one theme that runs through the history of the last 225 years. The failure to recognise that genocide is another ongoing theme.

The myth of Australia Day – of Australia as some sort of peacefully settled country – reflects the white bourgeoisie’s attempts to airbrush its brutal role from history. It is also about lulling working people into a mistaken belief they have an interest in the present economic system, that we are all in this big one happy family together.

Aborigines were not passive victims of the white invasion. In and around Sydney, for example, Pemulwuy was a famous freedom fighter defending his land and life. From 1790 to 1802 he waged a sporadic, and then more concerted, guerrilla war against the white invaders.

In 1801 Governor King ordered that Aborigines around Parramatta, Georges River and Prospect could be shot on sight. Late in the year he offered a reward for Pemulwuy’s death or capture. That ‘worked’. Pemulwuy’s killers decapitated him and sent his head to England in alcohol.

There are many other Indigenous freedom fighters we whites ignore; fighters who in a less racist society would be honoured for their stance and the courage of their resistance. Where are our monuments to these fallen heroes?

It was Marx who wrote that the tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the mind of the living. This is true in two senses for Aborigines.

First the consequences of the invasion continue today. The war against Aborigines, what I describe as genocide, has fundamentally alienated many Aboriginal people from their land, their identity, their culture and themselves. For example there is a shocking 10-year gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

The second aspect of being trapped by the past is that the policies of dispossession and genocide are being implemented even today.

The Howard Government invaded the Northern Territory in 2007 to further the destruction of our Indigenous people’s links to their land and culture. 1788 is being repeated today.

Disgracefully the Rudd and Gillard Labor Governments continued Howard’s racist Northern Territory intervention, an invasion clearly aimed at further dispossession of Aboriginal people and their complete subjugation to the dictates of their white masters around grog, what they can buy, how much they can spend and whose land it really is.

The Stolen Generations represented an attempt to wipe out Aborigines through forced assimilation.

The Bringing Them Home Report on the Stolen Generations says that the past is very much with us today, in the continuing devastation of the lives of Indigenous Australians.

The report clearly recognises that removing children from their parents in order to wipe out the Aboriginal race is genocide. It says:

Systematic racial discrimination and genocide must not be trivialised and Australia’s obligation under international law to make reparations must not be ignored.

Far from being socially divisive, reparations are one essential step the process of reconciliation.

I would suggest to the Labor Party and Greens they re-read the report and when in power implement its recommendations: recommendations that for years festered in the bowels of John Howard’s mind and remained undigested in the constipation that is the ALP.

Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations was symbolism substituting for action. It is clear that Rudd had no intention of taking the apology its next logical step,a step Roland Wilson urged in his Stolen Generations report – reparations for this attempted genocide.

The minimal land rights that exist at the moment are a sop to big business and the racist mentality that Aborigines will steal our backyards.

The proposal to include Aboriginal recognition in the preamble to the Constitution is another feel good do nothing suggestion that continues the whitewash.

The limitation of an enquiry into alcohol abuse to Aboriginal people at the same time the media is creating hysteria about ‘acohohol fueled’ violence in the major cities indicates the Abbott government is about scapegoating Aboriginal people in its ramping up of racist rhetoric and action.

I have been struck by another solution, encapsulated in a Midnight Oil song called Beds are Burning. Peter Garrett sang:

The time has come
To say fair’s fair
To pay the rent
To pay our share
The time has come
A fact’s a fact
It belongs to them
Let’s give it back

Exactly. Let’s pursue real land rights in the context of fundamental reconciliation, because reconciliation is about more than a half-hearted apology or constiutional recognition aimed at disguising the lack of action.

Garrett of course was a committed member of the Gillard Labor Ministry and such words no longer pass his lips. He has sold out.

It is not the man who changes the system but the system that changes the man. Or maybe it is a case of the host taking over the parasite.

Like the warriors of old, Aborigines today will need to fight for justice. Appealing to the good nature of all Australians will not work. Relying on Gillard and Macklin will not work.

Our goal must be to recompense the stolen generation, withdraw the troops and others from the Northern Territory, introduce land rights that recognise prior ownership and set up a system of compensation for the loss of sovereignty.

It is time for a Treaty.

Aborigines have never ceded sovereignty to the colonial invaders. There must be a treaty recognising prior ownership and all the legal, social and financial responsibilities that flow from that. Just as importantly there has to be aboriginal management of aboriginal affairs.

None of this will be won by petitions, or electing Aboriginal people to Parliament, or relying on Labor. As the Arab Spring shows, only struggle from below offers the chance of changing the world.

That means to me uniting the struggle for aboriginal liberation with the struggle for the liberation of all humanity – the fight for socialism.

Australia Day perpetuates the country’s ‘founding’ racist myths and is part of the system that enslaves our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters and, as a consequence, all of us. In the spirit of true reconciliation let’s abolish this celebration of genocide. Let’s instead celebrate the 65000 years of indigenous history and stewardship of this land. Recognise Aboriginal sovereignty, negotiate a treaty and pay the rent. It is time to fight for justice. It is time for justice.


Watch this G-little rap video if you have a spare five minutes. Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this video contains images of people who have died.


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