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John Passant

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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. 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

(0)

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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Week one of the election campaign

resources0.news.com.au

This is the link to my analysis in Independent Australia of the first week of the election campaign. I start off by saying:

‘IT HAS NOT BEEN a good first week in the election campaign for Malcolm Turnbull and his Government.

‘The Prime Minister looks and sounds out of touch, aloof, and to use the words of Peta Credlin, comes across as “Mister Sydney Harbourside Mansion”.

‘There is a good reason for this. He is.’

To read the whole article click here. Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull’s shaky start

 

 

Malcayman Turnbull

Details of my forthcoming Panama Papers discussion at the University of Queensland

Here is the link to details of the panel I am on on Tuesday at 6 pm at the University of Queensland on the Panama Papers.

 

 

No matter who wins the election, the rich will still rule

Innovation Turnbull

 
The rich run society in the interest of profit—and we can’t vote them out come July, explains James Supple in socialist magazine Solidarity. He starts off by saying:

‘Elections are about deciding who runs the country, they say. But most of the power in our society is not held in parliament, and even the choices of elected governments are heavily restricted.

‘This is because a tiny super-rich minority, the ruling class, control most of society’s wealth.’

To read the whole article click here. No matter who wins the election: It’s the rich who rule

In defence of Duncan

Duncan Storrar asked a question on Q&A on Monday night and then made a comment that, with blinding clarity, highlighted the unfairness of the Budget and the wealth shifting agenda of the ruling class. Here is part of his exchange with Assistant Treasurer Kelly O’Dwyer and Chief Executive of Australian Industry Group Innes Willox.

“I’ve got a disability and a low education, that means I’ve spent my whole life working for minimum wage. You’re gonna lift the tax-free threshold for rich people,” he said, addressing federal minister O’Dwyer.

“If you lift my tax-free threshold, that changes my life,” he went on. “That means that I get to say to my little girls, ‘Daddy’s not broke this weekend. We can go to the pictures’. Rich people don’t even notice their tax-free threshold lift. Why don’t I get it? Why do they get it?”

O’Dwyer told him it was all about balance (seriously!) and business now being able to buy $6000 toasters.

Willox said:

“Duncan, I’ll be harsh in my message. If you’re on the minimum wage and with a family, you would not pay much tax, if any at all. Would you? You would not pay much tax.”

Duncan replied: “I pay tax every time I go to the supermarket. Every time I hop in my car.”

The exchange revealed how out of touch the ruling class are. Duncan’s question and response resonated with many many working class people whose living standards have been under attack or falling or who are seeing growing inequality and wondering why the rich are getting richer but they are not.

The Murdoch press have unleashed a barrage of ‘ revelations’ about Duncan. They are making clear that debates about the future of and future direction for capitalism are limited to the ruling class and their politicians, not poor people and workers struggling to get by. Dissent is verboten. Where a pleb like Duncan does slip though the heavily guarded battlements then the king’s entourage vilify him. Democracy is OK as long as it is effectively limited to polite chatter among the circles of the 1%.

The ruling class don’t and won’t address his valid point, because they can’t. Trickle down economics (which is what O’Dwyer was getting at when she referred to balance) is indefensible.

So the Murdoch mudslingers attacked the man rather than address the point he was making. I look forward to News Corpse now exposing the peccadilloes, misdemeanors, malfeasances and crimes of the ruling class. Phone hacking might be a good place to start. Some of the journalists at News and Fox have sordid histories too. Why not expose them?

Murdoch’s minions might then go on to investigate the underbelly of News Corpse’s tax affairs and why on $2.8 billion revenue News Australia Holdings Pty Ltd paid no tax in Australia. According to a report last year in the Financial Review, News is the ATO’s top tax risk.

Willox, and Murdoch, and other ruling class members, have a stock standard response to questions and comments like Duncan’s. You pay no net tax. Just think about that. Apparently the only people who have a right to discuss and debate issues are those who pay net tax. That rules out News from the discussion then, does it?

The very idea is anti-democratic to its core, but democracy is an add on to capitalism that was fought and won by the working class from the ruling class and can be disposed of, or restricted, when the primary goal of capitalism, the extraction of profit from workers, is threatened, or even queried.

The net tax argument is also wrong. It does not, as Duncan made clear, include the GST. As ACOSS says: ‘Households in the lowest income quintile pay 21% of their income (after income tax) in indirect taxes, whereas the highest income quintile pays only 8%.’ The same report shows that the lowest 5% pay 34% of their income in GST and for the top 5% the figure is 6%. (See ACOSS, Inequality in Australia, page 28.)

Indeed, if you include GST and other taxes in the ‘ net’ tax calculations then taxes effectively vary a little around 25% of income across all income deciles, (being slightly progressive), except for the bottom 5%. Their contribution is well above everyone else’s at 34.2% of income. By contrast the top 5%’s contribution is only 30.2% of their income. Again, see the ACOSS report referred to above at page 28.

Second, revenue raising and spending are separate issues. To net them off is a false equivalence.

Third, spending on social welfare is part of the social wage which is itself part of the value of labour power. If it is removed or cut then workers could and should make it up with wage increases if they are to retain the overall value of their labour power and their current standards of living.

Fourth, the conservatives do not factor support for the rich and business, either directly through grants or indirectly through the billions upon billions of tax expenditures (exemptions etc which as superannuation and the capital gains tax discount show overwhelmingly favour the well off.)

Fifth, this social welfare spending buys some form of social peace, and this is especially important for the ruling class both personally and economically.

Sixth, the economic history of the last few decades has been the history of growing inequality in Australia and across the globe. The causes are not individual but systemic. Duncan has not failed the system. the system has failed him.

Duncan’s contribution on Q&A on Monday night was a lightning rod of class clarity. That is why the ruling class is trying to silence his message and punish him and anyone else who might expose the rotten reality of Australia today. Defend democracy. Defend Duncan.

PS: Reports (Saturday 3 pm) are that Duncan is now on suicide watch.

Melbourne refugee protest – civil disobedience has the potential to close down Australia’s concentration camps

Protesters in Melbourne have occupied Immigration and have called for civil disobedience to be our watchword and way forward.

Here is how Melissa Davey reported in the Guardian on the reasons for occupation of over 100 protesters  in The Guardian:

“I feel like the level of violence occurring in offshore camps is at a point where civil disobedience is the only way,” one of the protesters, Anastasia Kanjere, said.

“We want to show people the feeling is here for mass civil disobedience. Ordinary people are ready to disrupt in ways they haven’t before, and there will be more to come.”

An organiser of the protest, Emma Kefford, said: “The goal was to disrupt to some degree because we feel rallies haven’t been getting the message across, and the degree of despair and misery occurring offshore requires a heightened response that intervenes a bit more,” she said.

 

As Friends, Family and Feminists Against Detention noted ‘Hopefully this is the beggining of a movement for civil disobedience to ‪#‎BringThemHere‬!’

In the face of the barbarity of Australia’s detention centre gulags, the time for pussyfooting is over. If we can mobilise hundreds and then thousands in each major city to disrupt business as usual we can build a mass movement to close down these concentration camps.

Malcolm Turnbull, the Panama Papers and tax havens


When the rest of the world’s leaders moved swiftly to condemn the tax rorts exposed in the Panama Papers, our Prime Minister was curiously silent. Today, we learn that he was one of those named. John Passant in Independent Australia questions just how serious Malcolm Turnbull is on cracking down on tax avoidance.

To read the whole article click here. PM Turnbull named in #Panama Papers

Here by the way is the document, courtesy of the Guardian, about Turnbull’s involvement. Looks pretty cut and dried doen’t it?

When will Turnbull reveal all about his tax haven use?

 

Turnbull’s Budget – for business and the rich

Malcolm-Turnbull-web
The latest article in socialist magazine Solidarity starts off:

‘Turnbull has delivered a budget for business and the rich. Its centrepiece is handouts to business and high income earners. Most workers get nothing, except the impact of further cuts to services.

‘Everyone earning over $80,000 a year, including those on million dollar incomes, will get a tax cut. Only the top 25 per cent of tax-payers will benefit.

‘The tax increase on those earning over $180,000, introduced two years ago as a “deficit repair levy”, is also being reversed. Close to $8 billion over four years that could have gone into schools and hospitals is being sacrificed.

‘Alongside that are tax cuts for business.’

To read the whole article, outlining some of the cuts and why Turnbull is doing this, click here. Turnbull’s budget for business and the rich

Duncan Storrar is a hero


 
Duncan Storrar is a hero. He made a pretty obvious point. A lift in the tax free threshold would improve his life. He survives on the minimum wage and benefits related to his disability. His comment and question on Q&A on Monday night was:

“I’ve got a disability and a low education, that means I’ve spent my whole life working for minimum wage. You’re gonna lift the tax-free threshold for rich people,” he said, addressing federal minister O’Dwyer.

“If you lift my tax-free threshold, that changes my life,” he went on. “That means that I get to say to my little girls, ‘Daddy’s not broke this weekend. We can go to the pictures’. Rich people don’t even notice their tax-free threshold lift. Why don’t I get it? Why do they get it?”

Assistant monster Kelly O’Dwyer told him it was all about balance (seriously!) and business now being able to buy $6000 toasters. Toorak toasters anyone? This, by @artbylynettag is her tag

Image created by Lynetta Gelsomino. @artbylynettag

 
Spokesthing for the Australian Industry Group, Innes Willox, slithered out from under his super rich rock and showed his caring side. He said:

“Duncan, I’ll be harsh in my message. If you’re on the minimum wage and with a family, you would not pay much tax, if any at all. Would you? You would not pay much tax.”

Duncan replied: “I pay tax every time I go to the supermarket. Every time I hop in my car.”

It was a classic put down of an arrogant dismissive out of touch ruling class blood sucker.

The vultures of the press, the capitalist class and the politicians who don’t understand, or worse attack Duncan, like Willox did, say he is already getting more for the State than he pays in tax.

This is not correct. Duncan, as he pointed out, pays GST, and as a percentage of his income pays lots more GST than either Willox or O’Dwyer (on average about 34% of his income compared to 5% or 6% for Willox and O’Dwyer, according to Figure 16 from the ACOSS Inequality in Australia: A Nation Divided report).

Second, tax and spending are two matters that are not susceptible of being netted off. One represents raising revenue and the other represents spending to achieve societal or other goals.

Third, Duncan’s position has worsened in comparison to O’Dwyer and Willox over time. His wages have grown at a rate well below the rate the remuneration of the top 1% has grown.

Fourth, Duncan’s wages and support payments mean he is close to the poverty line (which, for a couple with 2 children, was $841 per week in 2014. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet, even with government support.

Fifth, the income the ruling class are taxed lightly on is not theirs. It is the unpaid labour of workers, workers like Duncan.

The answer is not to play games like business and the media do and net off Government payments against tax paid. The answer is to increase Duncan’s wages and the government support payments he receives so he can take his daughters to the pictures on the weekend.

Jobs and growth eh?

Jobs and growth eh? That must be why the Budget papers say GDP growth this financial year will be just 2.5% and the same next financial year.

CPI will be just 1.25% this financial year and 2% next year.

 

A low growth economy for the next year or two might be why Turnbull is going early. And those unemployment figures look dodgy, although the work for $4 an hour scheme will artificially reduce them and the growth in part time jobs will keep them low for a while.

Once the election is out of the way he can then cut the social wage, and spending on public health, education, transport and other programs that benefit workers. Then the Turnbull government can hand a big fat tax cut to business as one way to try to address falling profit rates in Australia.