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John Passant

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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)



The spectre of unemployment

A spectre is haunting Australia; the spectre of unemployment.

Last month in Australia unemployment went up from 4.8 percent to 5.2 per cent. There are now 590,000 unemployed.

The rate of unemployment among 15 to 19 year olds looking for full time work is a little under 24 per cent.

There will be at a minimum 200,000 school leavers and graduates looking for work next year and unable to find it.  200,000 is the conservative estimate, based on previous Government analysis. 

No one will be surprised if the figure reaches 300,000.  That sure is a lot of angry unemployed young people.

What can we make of all of this?

The global economic crisis is really beginning to hit Australia and unemployment will skyrocket.

At present many bosses are cutting back on hours – hence the increase in part time workers. 

In addition more women are going back into the work force, often as part timers or casuals. This is insurance against hubbie’s (possible) reduced hours or job loss.

The increase in part time work can only be temporary. Part time employment is a staging ground between boom and slump for many companies.

As the orders dry up, more and more employers will sack staff. There won’t be enough money coming in to  move them to or keep them on part time.

The Government says unemployment will reach 7 percent by mid next year.  This is a sick joke.

It will reach that figure well before the end of this year.  

While some economists are now talking openly about 9 per cent unemployment by June 2010, others are privately saying the figure could be 11 per cent.

None of this factors in underemployment – when people want to work longer hours but can’t.  The changed definition of employed in Australia – working one hour or more – means that there is a lot of disguised unemployment in the system.

If unemployment reaches say 11 per cent, then underemployment is likely to be around 20 per cent.  In fact, as the crisis worsens the movement of workers will be from underemployed to unemployed or employed to unemployed.

The global economic crisis is just beginning. As capitalism destroys more and more lives across the world, it is possible unemployment in Australia could reach 15 per cent by late 2010.

Last month ANZ job ads fell 10 per cent. They have fallen 50 percent year on year.  These figures are a good predictor of movements in unemployment over the next few months.

The Rudd Labor Government has no answers to the present increase in unemployment.  It will do nothing (and given its total support for the profit system, can do nothing) even when the present trickle of unemployment turns into a flood.

How will the Government stop 1 million people from being on the dole?

Certainly its stumuloss package won’t do that.  It hasn’t saved any jobs. In fact it is aimed at saving profits, not jobs.

The merging of the economic with the climate crisis shows a way forward. Create green jobs through building green energy providers like solar plants, windmills, geothermal heating, tidal power and so on.

Take over the car companies and build public transport vehicles.

Introduce a 30 hour week without loss of pay to spread the work around.

But to do all of this, to rid the world of unemployment and to stop climate change, would mean challenging the rule of profit and putting people first. 

Are we up to that?



Comment from juan
Time March 16, 2009 at 10:06 pm

John I like your rhetoric but the real line is: “Introduce a 30 hour week without loss of pay to spread the work around.” And I would add: stop the warmongering of the capitalist classes. Are we up to it?

Comment from John
Time March 17, 2009 at 4:18 am

Thanks juan. As you will see from other posts, I get criticized for raising a 30 hour week with no loss of pay.

I am hunting up material to make the case using capitalist (or perhaps unionist) arguments for a cut in working hours.

Yes the warmongering is a real cost – 30 billion for Australia alone. And trillions (I think) for the US.

Imagine if all that money were spent on socially useful activities – like health, education and housing.

Or feeding the 1 billion in the world who are starving.

I was also going to add in that for factories that sack workers or close down the workers should take them over and produce socially useful products for free or cheap. pacific brand workers could produce jocks and sock, auto workers public transport like buses, manufacturing could turn out solar plants and wind engines, etc etc.

Miners in ravensthorpe could take over the mine and town and provide some of the raw materials.

Be realistic – demand the impossible.

Comment from juan
Time March 17, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Be realistic – demand the impossible. Yes, yes! I just had a great idea. According to recent serious scientific reports in the media, monkeys have the ability to plan!! Well, why don’t we offer peanuts and employ monkeys to run our private corporations and some of our government organisations and in particular Wall Street. Surely monkeys would do as good a job as the present incumbents,,,and just for a handful of peanuts not the $250 millions the AIG executives are paying themselves for ruining the world economy.

Comment from John
Time March 17, 2009 at 3:07 pm


Brilliant. I love it. I’m going to take this and publish it all on its own (with attribution.)

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