John Passant

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Me quoted in Fairfax papers on tax haven use
Me quoted by Georgia Wilkins in The Age (and other Fairfax publications) today. John Passant, from the school of political science and international relations, at the Australian National University, said the trend noted by Computershare was further evidence multinationals did not take global regulators seriously. ”US companies are doing this on the hard-nosed basis that any [regulatory] changes that will be made won’t have an impact on their ability to avoid tax,” he said. ”They think it is going to take a long time for the G20 to take action, or that they are just all talk.” (1)

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. 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
(0)

System change, not climate change
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

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The Killing Season does not explain Labor’s crisis

The ABC’s The Killing Season explains nothing, yet exposes everything, about what is wrong with Labor today writes Erima Dall in Solidarity. Produced by 7.30 journalist Sarah Ferguson, it is pitched as a “three-part examination of the forces that shaped Labor during the Kevin Rudd / Julia Gillard leadership years”. Complete with sensationalist re-enactments and a chilling soundtrack, it makes for intriguing viewing.

And yet the critical question, posed by Alan Milburn in the final scene, is left hanging: “how is it possible that you win an election in November 2007, on the scale that you do, with the goodwill that you have, with the permission that you are gifted by the public, and you manage to lose all that … within just six years?”

To read the whole article click here.

International Socialist Tendency Statement on Greece: No to the Agreement!

 

This is the International Socialist Tendency statement of 29 June 2015 on Greece.

1. The victory of Syriza in the Greek general election of 25 January was a victory for the left and the workers’ movement – not only in Greece but throughout Europe. It marked a breakthrough in the struggle against the austerity measures with which the Western ruling classes have reacted to the global economic crisis (once the immediate scare caused by the 2008 financial crash passed).

2. For the following five months the government of Alexis Tsipras struggled to seek a compromise with the dominant powers in the European Union that would bring relief to the Greek people from austerity and reduce the burden of debt under which they labour. Tsipras and his allies pursued this objective even after they were forced to climb down on 20 February, when it was clear that the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers, and behind them the German government were determined to impose a humiliating defeat on Syriza.

3. Last week the Syriza-led government finally had to accept they were pursuing an impossible goal. The Eurogroup and its allies in the so-called ‘Institutions’ (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) continued demand yet more cruel austerity – pension cuts, VAT increases, and labour market ‘reforms’ – and refused to offer debt relief.

4. Tsipras responded on Friday 26 June by calling a referendum on Sunday 5 July on these proposals. This is a victory for the left and the workers’ movement in Greece, who have pressing the government to reject the EU diktat. It has been welcomed with delight by the left elsewhere in Europe.

5. The Eurogroup and its allies have reacted with fury. The whole logic of European construction has been to centralize power in institutions unaccountable to popular vote. Successive treaties have been defeated in national referendums. Now the Greek people have won their chance to pronounce their judgement on austerity. The ECB is trying to scare them into submission by cutting off the supply of funds to the Greek banks. Never has the undemocratic character of the EU been more evident.

6. We stand alongside our comrades in the Greek Socialist Workers Party (SEK) and their allies in the Anticapitalist Front (Antarsya) in calling for a No vote in the referendum. The rejection of the Eurogroup proposals will strengthen the struggle against austerity in Greece and the rest of Europe.

7. We call on anticapitalists and socialists everywhere to show their solidarity with the struggle of the Greek masses in words and, where possible, in deeds. Their struggle is our struggle as well.

The Coordination of the International Socialist Tendency
29 June 2015

Greece defiant

Lee Sustar writing in Socialist Worker US explains the background to the announcement of a July 5 referendum on austerity measures in Greece–and how it will affect the struggles to come.

Rallying in front of the parliament building in opposition to austerity (Sarah Levy | SW)

 

THE DECISION by Greece’s left-wing government to hold a national referendum on the European authorities’ latest proposal for austerity measures has sent political shock waves across the continent.

All eyes are on Greece as the relentless assault of the biggest European powers forced the country’s banks to close temporarily after the weekend–and raised the specter of a Greek exit from the eurozone, the group of 19 countries that share the common currency.

Citing the “blackmailing of the ultimatum that asks us to accept a severe and degrading austerity without end,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras used a post-midnight speech January 27 to call for a “no” vote on an austerity program proposed in exchange for financing from the “institutions,” previously known as the “troika”–the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The European authorities struck back by refusing to extend deadlines for Greece to repay installments on its international debts–while the ECB limited lines of credit to Greek banks. This forced the SYRIZA-led government to announce the temporary shutdown of the banks and the imposition of capital controls to keep money from leaving the country. Mainstream Greek political parties, along with the country’s big businesses, joined the attack on the referendum.

Supporters of SYRIZA believe–based on their experiences in workplaces and communities, as well as the sizeable demonstrations earlier this month supporting the government resisting the lenders’ extortion–that there is a strong current of defiance, formed through the years of savage austerity that plunged the Greek economy into depression, which will drive the “no” vote.

But the pro-austerity parties that agreed to the austerity measures in the first place will be the local face of the Eurogroup’s blackmail campaign–which threatens the economic destruction of Greece if its people refuse to go along with the austerity program.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

TSIPRAS, WHO had offered significant concessions from SYRIZA’s radical program, only to see them spurned each time by the European institutions, appealed for calm and solidarity over the bank closures, with assurances that salaries and pensions will be paid. SYRIZA is mobilizing for the one-week election campaign with printed materials, a media campaign and a mass rally planned for Syntagma Square outside parliament.

“The reaction from all parts of the party is good,” said Sotiris Martalis, an activist in SYRIZA and member of the Greek socialist organization Internationalist Workers Left (DEA, by its initials in Greek). SYRIZA’s left wing, which had viewed the government’s offer of concessions as unacceptable, is now working with the Tsipras-led majority on the “no” campaign.

There are differences in the party over the purpose of the referendum, however. While Tsipras has said that he will use a “no” vote to strengthen his hand in future negotiations with Greece’s creditors, the left is calling for a rejection of all austerity measures and a program to reverse their impact. Thus, Martalis said, the SYRIZA trade union fraction in the city of Attica, meeting in the wake of Tsipras’ speech, called for a reversal of austerity.

But for the next week, these differences will be secondary to the priority of building a united “no” campaign. SYRIZA has initiated “vote no” groups in which non-party members will be invited to participate. This may include the ANTARSYA coalition, a smaller radical electoral alliance that has remained outside of SYRIZA.

The sizeable Greek Communist Party (KKE, by its initials in Greek) initially suggested it would abstain from the vote, but then backtracked and avoided taking a clear position in the first days following Tsipras’ announcement.

Meanwhile, voices in the mainstream media “are using the language of civil war, although they have not acted upon it,” Martalis said.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

SUCH LANGUAGE has a grim meaning in Greece. The country was torn by armed conflict between left and right in the years following the Second World War, as the U.S. and Britain helped the Greek capitalist class crush the Communists and others on the far left who had spearheaded the struggle against the Nazi occupation during the war.

When the left revived in the mid-1960s, a group of army colonels staged a murderous coup in 1967, in which the left was again repressed–until popular struggles overthrew the military regime seven years later.

Entry into the European Union in 1981 was supposed to end such conflict forever. But in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis, after both the center-left PASOK and conservative New Democracy rammed through a series of austerity measures–in the face of more than 30 general strikes and massive demonstrations of all kinds–society is now highly polarized, both socially and politically.

When PASOK and New Democracy suffered crushing losses in the January 25 elections that brought SYRIZA into office, the Greek capitalists had no reliable political tools. Now, faced with the referendum, they are trying to up the pressure.

“The line of the bourgeoisie has two phases,” Martalis said. “The first one is the huge pressure they are creating with a run on the banks. They say, ‘All this is the result of SYRIZA’s policies. So we don’t know that they will pay the pensions and salaries.'”

The other part of their line is to say that this referendum is not about the austerity proposals, but about saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to being in the eurozone,” Martalis said. “This policy is aimed at creating a split in the population.”

After unsuccessfully trying to derail the referendum through parliamentary maneuvers, PASOK and New Democracy are effectively calling for a “yes” vote on measures that would slash pensions and impose further crippling sales tax increases on a largely impoverished working class.

The big European powers, led by Germany, are doing their best to exacerbate the crisis, along with the Washington-dominated IMF. The central bankers at the ECB refused to expand the funds available to Greece under an emergency program. When negotiations between Greece and the European powers broke up, Eurogroup head Jeroen Dijsselbloem immediately moved to hold a meeting with the other 18 member countries, excluding Greece.

Nevertheless, the chances are good that a “no” vote will succeed, said Martalis. “Everywhere, you can hear people saying that they will not support a vote for a deal,” he said. “They say it’s crazy what they want to do to us, so I will vote no. Most of the people understand that, but also at the same time, they are afraid of what will happen.”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE REFERENDUM comes more than five months after SYRIZA took office pledging to halt austerity measures, revive the Greek economy and begin to restore social benefits that were radically cut back under governments that agreed to austerity measures encapsulated in the so-called Memorandums in exchange for financial bailouts from European authorities and the IMF.

Despite these promises, leaders of the new government offered substantial concessions–only to be faced with demands for even more austerity.

This was one reason for the government’s call for a referendum. But Tsipras was also under substantial pressure from SYRIZA’s influential left wing.

Unlike social democratic parties that have been regularly elected in Europe and rule within the free-market, neoliberal consensus, SYRIZA is a product of the Greek far left, rooted in labor struggles and social movements and socialist organizations from a variety of traditions.

In recent weeks, SYRIZA’s Left Platform–which includes figures like Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis–signaled that government ministers and members of parliament would break with Tsipras if he brought back an agreement that involved cuts in pensions and higher sales taxes. Other sectors of SYRIZA’s left, such as the Red Network, have been organizing public meetings calling for a rejection of any agreement with the creditors that involves more austerity.

That debate has now come to a head. After winning a convincing victory in the January 25 elections, Tsiprsas and his economic team, led by Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, had proceeded on the assumption that the European institutions would bow to the new political reality in Greece and back off demands for even deeper austerity.

In his effort to make a deal, Tsipras signaled a willingness to retreat even before the election, setting aside SYRIZA’s radical economic platform from its founding conference and putting forward the much milder Thessaloniki Program, named for a speech last fall given in that city.

Then came a major concession to the “institutions” on February 20–Tsipras essentially agreed to an extension of previous austerity and privatization programs, shelving even the milder planks in SYRIZA’s program.

But that surrender wasn’t enough for the lenders. Since February, they have drawn out negotiations with SYRIA over access to the $7.7 billion in funding due under a 2012 bailout–the second of two financing bills in which Greece was promised debt relief in exchange for economic “reforms.”

Previous austerity measures included sweeping cuts in the public health and education systems, privatization of state-owned enterprises and government services, as well as higher taxes on working people. The results: a catastrophic 25 percent contraction of the Greek economy, sending unemployment to 26 percent and leaving 40 percent of Greek children in poverty.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

NEVERTHELESS, TSIPRAS sought to reach an accord with the creditors. To keep negotiations going, the Greek government paid $495 million to the IMF in April. The following month, it drained its reserves at the IMF to repay the fund another $826 million.

In its offer to the creditors earlier this month, put forward in a 47-page document detailing the government’s proposals, Tsipras and company crossed many of SYRIZA’s “red lines” that it had promised not to cross, like increases in the value-added sales tax.

But European authorities responded by making even more stringent demands. Germany and its mouthpieces among European officials were determined to make it clear that if any other debt-ridden country contemplates breaking with austerity or leaving the euro, they should prepare to suffer horribly.

Having turned the eurozone into a vehicle for their growing economic power, German politicians and policymakers have concluded that Greece’s left-wing government must be discredited or destroyed. The IMF, which at one point posed as the soft cop in negotiations, was equally aggressive.

Thus, Tsipras was left with a choice: Bow to the Europeans and split SYRIZA, a move that could bring down the government–or take a firm stand against the creditors and rally the party’s rank and file for a fight.

There are many questions to be confronted in the days ahead. Without access to the long-promised bailout funds and no money on hand to pay the IMF some $1.7 billion by June 30, a Greek default on its debt is all but inevitable. The same is true of interest payments and other debt owed to the ECB. This sets the stage for a possible “Grexit”–a Greek exit from the Eurozone.

A growing number of journalists and analysts have concluded that European officials are determined to drive Greece out of the Eurozone. As Matt O’Brien of the Washington Post put it, European officials are “leaking stories about how shaky Greece’s financial system is–not so much shouting “run” in a crowded bank as starting one–to put more pressure on the government to agree to a deal and agree to it now.”

The stakes in Greece–and for the left internationally–are enormous. A “no” vote would not only be a message of resistance to Germany’s economic empire in the EU, a call to action for anti-austerity activists, unions and working people across Europe and beyond.

As Tsipras put it in his speech announcing the referendum: “To authoritarianism and harsh austerity, we will respond with democracy, calmly and decisively.” The people of Greece deserve solidarity and support as they send a message to the rulers of Europe.

Dear editor – it’s the Liberal, Labor and Greens’ neoliberal troika that is the problem

I sent this to the Sydney Morning Herald in response to an article quoting me. What chance?

John Passant

My thanks to Gareth Hutchens for using me as an example of those who have condemned the Greens’ shift further to the neoliberal right. (‘Meet the new Greens economics team preparing to shake up Australian politics’, The Sydney Morning Herald 27 June 2015.)

Hutchens quotes me from my blog En Passant (http://enpassant.com.au), as saying “In their eagerness to prove their ‘realistic and pragmatic’ credentials, the Greens have been sold a pension pup,he spat.” I would quibble with the spitting comment. I didn’t spit this comment out. I wrote it very calmly as part of trying to enlighten a wider section of society about the essential neoliberalism  of the Greens and their commitment to the very capitalist system which is creating and deepening the very real climate change threat to humanity, which locks up kids in Nauru and Manus Island, which wages wars around the globe, and which attacks jobs, wages, public schools, public hospitals and public transport.

It is good that Hutchens used my quote as a some sort of counterbalance to the rest of his panegyric for the Greens’ turn further to the economic right.  It gives me hope that, as Labor continues to capitulate to Abbott and his reactionary agenda, and as the Greens move to embrace neoliberalism in its totality, there is a small but perhaps growing audience for the ideas of socialists like myself who fight for a world of democracy where production is organised to satisfy human need, not to make a profit.

Thanks Gareth. Here’s to more quotes from me in your articles, I hope, highlighting that it is in fact socialists who are the main [intellectual and propaganda] opposition to the Liberal, Labor and Greens’ troika of neoliberalism in Australia.

Who knows, maybe one day the voiceless like me could even grace the pages of the Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax papers with a regular column.

The Sydney Morning Herald highlights the reality of the Greens pro-capitalist approach

Here is a quote from an article in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald about the Greens’ new economic team and direction:

‘Liberal senator Sean Edwards, who chairs a Senate estimates committee with Whish-Wilson, says the Greens have benefited from Whish-Wilson’s contribution.

“A lot of the stuff I’ve talked to him about privately I’ve found him economically very sound and he would fit quite squarely in the Coalition with a lot of his positions,” Edwards said.

“I suspect I have an affinity with him because he comes from a background of finance and small business. He understands it. And at least he can read a balance sheet.”

And not only that but the article ‘ Meet the Greens new economic team …‘ quotes me from my blog. Well worth a read even despite that!

 

 

 

 

Je suis Zaky Mallah anyone?

 

The reactionary Abbott government is using Zaky Mallah’s appearance on Q&A to try to close debate on the draconian citizenship stripping powers it is legislating. It wants no discussion or understanding of why some young Australian men and women might travel to Syria to join ISIS or rage against Australian society.

Its wider agenda is to create an us and them atmosphere and exclude ‘ them’ from society. Zaky Mullah is one example. Muslims more generally are another. Asylum seekers are a third.

The rhetoric and actions of the Prime Minister are becoming more frightening. He asked the ABC whose side they were on. Now he is saying, ISIS like, heads must roll. He has also ordered a Stalinesque government inquiry into the incident.

Mark Scott is no Gillian Triggs.  He won’t stand up to the Abbott government and its attempts to suppress free speech. The way to defend the ABC is for the unions and workers there to stop work in response to these government attacks and to call mass demonstrations to shut our cities down in support of the organisation.

The added advantage for Abbott in all of this is that the Liberal government can attack a traditional enemy, the ABC. Again, while the hatred is real, it misunderstands the role of the ABC – to  present minor differences as major debates.

Its task is to create the impression there is no alternative to Labor and the Liberals (plus the Nationals and the Greens). It sometimes tries to do so with the mask of intelligence and capitalist objectivity but even that is too much for Abbott and his anti-Enlightenment crew.

Zaky Mallah blew the ABC’s ‘respectable’ no real debate tango for a few minutes with his question to MP Steve Ciobo and then his response to the dangerous ideologue and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to the Minister for Trade and Investment.

In 2005 Mallah was acquitted of two terrorism offences. As part of a bargain he pleaded guilty to threatening to kill ASIO officials.

According to The Guardian:

Ciobo and Mallah engaged in heated conversation on Q&A after Mallah posed a question about his court case and how it would have been different had a minister decided the outcome.

Ciobo replied that he wasn’t familiar with the circumstances of Mallah’s case “but I’m happy to look you straight in the eye and say that I’d be pleased to be part of a government that would say you are out of the country, as far as I’m concerned”.

“Rubbish,” said Mallah, adding: “As an Australian I would be happy to see you out of the country.”

Mallah later said: “The Liberals now have justified to many Australian Muslims in the community to leave and go to Syria and join Isis because of ministers like him.”

There is nothing untoward in Mallah’s comment. Peter Greste certainly didn’t think a line had been crossed. He blamed the government for shooting the messenger.

Mallah raises a serious point. It is this government’s actions in excluding Muslims which is helping radicalise a few of them. As Mallah told the Guardian:

Some young Australian Muslims – who were already feeling vilified – now feel they are being openly targeted by this government. They are saying they would love to leave and join jihadist groups.

They ask themselves, “Why should we Muslims live here, and be subject to this bullying, when in Iraq and Syria, Isis tell us we are welcome?” The harder the Abbott government pushes its counter-terrorism agenda, the more radicalised some young people feel.

The never ending invasions by the West (including Australia) of the Middle East and the support we give to ‘our’  dictators there and the state of Israel are some of the underlying reasons, coupled with Abbott’s Islamophobia and targetting of Muslims, why some of them take up the false flag of Islamic resistance.

These are dangerous times. The Abbott government is repressing differences outside the narrow neoliberal mainstream. It is gathering extreme powers to itself under the lie of protecting Australia. It is othering significant sections of Australian society. It is trying to silence the Human Rights Commission and the ABC.

The danger is real. That is why it is important to fight every attack of this rotten Liberal government. A good start will be the protests on 18 and 19 July across Australia against the Abbott endorsed (nudge nudge wink wink) Reclaim White Australia rallies.

I will post details closer to the date, along with stop the WA remote community closures.

There is a protest in Melbourne to defend remote communities on Friday 26 June at 3 pm at Flinders Street Station

 

 

Governments treat Muslims as the enemy within

The obsession with radicalisation and the programs to supposedly combat extremism treat wide swathes of the Muslim community as suspect, writes James Supple in Solidarity

Tony Abbott is using every available opportunity to whip up fear about terrorism, scapegoat the Muslim community and talk tough on “national security”. ….

But both the rhetoric, and the government’s response, is continuing the demonisation of Islam and the attack on the Muslim community that began after 9/11. A new book by Arun Kundani The Muslims are Coming traces the development of “the concept of radicalisation” to explain Islamic terrorism, and the government responses in the US and UK over the past decade.

The idea of radicalisation treats Islamic extremism almost solely as a product of an evil ideology and as “how Islam is interpreted”. This serves to downplay if not reject the political causes of extremism as a response to Western imperialism and the war on terror. But fundamentally, it is a response to the atrocities of Western imperialism in the Middle East.

You can read the whole article here. How governments treat Muslims as the enemy within

Labor must not support Coalition legislation to save offshore processing

Refugee Action Coalition

MEDIA RELEASE

LABOR MUST NOT SUPPORT COALITION LEGISLATION TO SAVE OFFSHORE PROCESSING

Refugee advocates have called on the parliamentary Labor Party not to support any Coalition legislation aimed at saving offshore processing from a successful High Court challenge.

The Human Rights Legal Centre’s challenge seems to have exposed what so many felt for a long time – that offshore processing is illegal. It certainly has exploded the lie that offshore processing is the responsibility of Nauru and PNG.

The High Court challenge comes at a time when offshore processing is also facing a Constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court of PNG.

“The issue of offshore processing will be vigorously debated at the Labor conference in July,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Resolutions will be put to the conference to end offshore processing and close Manus Island and Nauru. The recent ACTU conference unanimously adopted policy to end offshore processing.

“Any support for the Coalition in the present circumstances would not only preempt Labor conference discussion, and possible rejection of offshore processing; it would be regarded as explicit support for the corrupt detention system and the corrupt Nauru government.

“The shocking revelations of physical and sexual abuse on Nauru have exposed the horror of the offshore regime that the Coalition is scrambling to legitimise. The detention regime on Nauru is crumbling under the weight of the corrupt government and the scale of abuses being maintained by the Australian government and Transfield.

“Even as concerns mounted for the welfare of baby Asha, sent back to Nauru two weeks ago, this morning, the Coalition government has sent another 40 men, women and children back to the hell of Nauru.

“The parliamentary Labor Party has an opportunity to break the toxic bi-partisan support for offshore processing that violated human rights and inflicted torture and misery. A number of Labor politicians including leader Bill Shorten have referred to mistakes over asylum seekers that Labor made when it was in government – restarting offshore processing was one of them.”

“Labor has an opportunity to rectify one of its most serious mistakes. We urge the Labor leaders to seize that opportunity – don’t throw the Liberals a lifeline.”

Rallies have been called to “Bring Back Baby Asha” in Melbourne, Thursday 25 June, Federation Square 6.30pm; and Sydney, 5.30pm, Tuesday 30 June at Sydney Town Hall Square.

Saturday 27 June: Refugee Action Coalition forum, “Breaking the Bi-Partisan Cruelty on Refugees, with Manus whistleblower; Labor Senator Sue Lines and Michael Thompson, Unions for Refugees. (Sat 27 June, Building 2, level 7 room 44.)

Which side are you on?

Tony Abbott asks ‘Whose side are you on?’

Pete Seeger gives this answer.

Fuel tax increases – the unity ticket of Liberals, Labor and the Greens against workers and the poor

Bill Shorten has announced the Labor Party will support legislation to allow the Abbott government to index fuel tax increases twice yearly to inflation.  This is already in place under a regulation that will lapse in October, after the government failed to get legislation passed last year to index the increases to inflation when Labor and the Greens opposed it.

Shorten outlined the cogent reasons why Labor opposed it last year. He said then (as reported in the Australian):

… today [Abbott] ambushes Australian motorists, ambushes the parliament of Australia and through the back door has launched a sneak attack on the wallets and cost of living of every Australian,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra.

This is outrageous. He doesn’t have the courage to take his new taxes to an election. He is desperate to prop up his unfair budget.

What has changed? Well, the Government was in discussions with the Greens under new leader Richard Di Natalie to get the fuel indexation Bill through the Parliament and it looked like they would fold if the Government agreed to spend the extra money on public transport. The deal with Labor means the money – expected to be $23 billion over the decade – will be spent instead on roads.

There are two impacts to the increase. It will add, according to the government, about 40C a week to your petrol bill. The Australian Automobile Association said it was more likely to be $2 to $3 a week.

The second problem is that increased transport costs will increase the cost of necessities across the board.

This will impact on poor people and workers more than it will on the rich.

The agreement shows the priorities of the Liberals, Labor and the Greens. It isn’t taxing the rich. The Abbott government has been joined by Labor and the Greens in a rotten unity ticket on fuel tax indexation to attack workers and the poor.

This should not surprise us because what unites them – capitalism – is greater than any of their differences over aspects of how to manage it. Like all parties of capital they make workers and the poor pay for the crises of capitalism and the fuel tax is just one small example, a portent of things to come.