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John Passant

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June 2016
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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
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

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)



Of course the Liberals won’t privatise Medicare


Echoing John Howard’s promise to never ever introduce a Goods and Services Tax, Malcolm Turnbull has promised that his government will ‘never ever’ privatise Medicare.

Of course they won’t. Labor’s election campaign has put that Liberal long term goal on the backburner, for now. And to make sure there is no hint of privatisation, Turnbull has now taken selling back office operations off the agenda, for now. That is a Labor success.

However the real threat at the moment to Medicare is not privatisation. ┬áIt is underfunding. The Abbot/Hockey Budget of 2014 cut $57 billion, mainly from Labor’s proposed funding after 2017.

Don’t take my word for it. The former President of the Australian Medical Association, Brian Owler, called the failure to commit to spending $57 billion a cut.

The Turnbull government in its last Budget restored $2.9 billion of that cut and Labor has added an extra $2 billion to that, bringing its commitment to restoring $4.9 bn of the $57 billion cut.

Labor leader Bill Shorten has refused to commit to addressing the whole of the $57 billion cut.

Far better for Labor to beat up the very real bogyman of privatising Medicare than admit that it too is, like the Liberals, going to cut future health funding but perhaps by not quite as much as the Coalition.

Privatising Medicare is no doubt a long term goal of the Liberals.

Australia has a two tier health system – a public one funded by our taxes and a private one covered by individual health insurance. Underfunding the health system forces more people into the private system to get decent and more importantly timely treatment. (Public waiting lists are very long.) The more underfunding there is the less viable the public system becomes in the long term.

Underfunding is the half way house on the way to privatisation and Labor by its failure to commit to restoring previously agreed $57 billion of funding is a key party to the long term destruction of Medicare.

The government has also frozen the Medicare rebate which is a backdoor way of introducing a co-payment by stealth, another important part of commodifying health. Labor to its credit will, if elected, unfreeze the rebate from 1 January next year.

Labor has form on privatisations. It was of course the Hawke and Keating Labor governments who were our first governments to sell off swathes of publicly owned assets like the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and QANTAS and to commodify University access.

The logic of neoliberalism and the market pervades Labor’s very essence and that includes privatisation. However for political and electoral reasons – Medicare is engraven in our hearts – Labor will defend Medicare to enable it to get into office to continue its version of the neoliberal project.