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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 Greens smash Labor in Freo

The Greens have won the Western Australian state seat of Fremantle. 

In a by-election on Saturday, their candidate, Adele Carles, got just over 54 percent of the two party preferred vote.

Labor had held the seat since 1924.

Is this a seismic shift in voting, or explicable solely because of local issues? Or perhaps both?

Local issues were certainly part of the shock win.

The Greens campaigned against the proposed $10 billion North Port Quay project.  This would see 10,000 dwellings being built on the waterfront. The pro-development candidate received just 3 percent of the vote.

Both major parties want to transport lead through the electorate.

The Liberals didn’t stand, but their candidate at the last election stood as a Liberal Independent at this one and won 5 percent of the vote.  He preferenced the Greens.

His vote at the last election was 30 per cent.

So where did the 25 percent go?

 The Greens, with the same candidate from the State election only seven months ago,  increased their primary vote 17 percent. 

If that vote came from Liberal voters who felt they didn’t have anyone representing their politics to vote for and couldn’t bring themselves to vote Labor then this means their shift to the Greens is probably temporary.

Certainly Labor’s primary vote  stayed virtually the same. 

So on the surface it would appear that the increased primary vote for the Greens came almost entirely from former Liberal voters who may well have only crossed to the Greens for this by-election.

However it may also be that these were soft Liberal voters who returned to Labor, (or couldn’t stomach voting for the ‘radical’ Greens), and that more left-wing Labor voters went to  the Greens.  Crikey’s Poll Bludger put it this way:

Equally interesting was the lack of a significant correlation between the Greens swing and the Liberal vote from the state election. That would seem to argue against the notion that a static Labor vote was swamped by Liberals moving to the Greens.

The Labor hierarchy parachuted their candidate in, the mayor of Fremantle, a man who was not a member of the party a few months ago.  That may have helped drive Labor voters to the Greens and perhaps that move will become permanent.

If it really was Labor voters moving to the Greens and Liberal voters moving into their spots then Labor needs to start examining what it stands for and why. 

Certainly some of the vote may represent a historic shift to the Greens, the Party most people identify with saving the environment.

That spells trouble for Labor in seats with similar demographics – federally for example  inner Melbourne and Sydney seats.

The increased vote for the Greens from Labor voters is a swing to the Left.

But the Greens are not left wing.  They are supporters of wage slavery and all that goes with it.   

They fail to understand the dynamics of capitalism and so see solutions to global warming through the prism of profit – either the market per se or some form of subsidised and regulated market mechanism to save the planet.

People are looking for change to save the environment and naturally at this stage see that change coming about through parliamentary means.

However the Greens won’t be able to address the systemic issues causing global warming – the very way production is organised under capitalism.

Here in Canberra for example we have a minority Labor Government which survives only because of the votes of the 4 Green members.  This is the most left-wing Labor Government in Australia. (That isn’t saying much really.)

Yet despite the Green’s power, the economic crisis has seen the ACT Labor Government  introduce a stupid ‘efficiency dividend’ on its own staff, and  urge wage restraint on them, to cut Government costs.

So Labor, with Green support, is attacking workers.

And environmentally the ACT Government’s much trumpeted Zero Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions target is aspirational without deadlines and enforcement mechanisms.  Buying forest sinks in NSW might assuage our guilt but doesn’t reduce emissions.

It is good to have the Greens winning seats.  It shows people want radical change.

The Party’s inability to address climate change in any meaningful way without addressing the accumulation process will expose them as just another green tinged reformist party.

And therein lies real hope for the Left.

In the meantime, if I were Kevin Rudd and his pro-polluter party, I’d be very worried.  The Greens are coming.



Comment from peritech
Time May 18, 2009 at 11:05 am

You say..”Certainly some of the vote may represent a historic shift to the Greens, the Party most people identify with saving the environment.”
Where is the hard evidence that the CAN save the environment? Talk is cheap but to truly save the environment with a population of nearly 7 billion a true understanding of the engineering problems associated with resource utilisation.
Is there one practicing engineer amongst the greens? Or any political party for that matter

If there was we wouldn’t be messing around with the sort of infrastructure planning we have now. The only solution to effectively supporting populations as great as we have is cheap and plentiful energy – the only really economically and environmentally sound solution to this is to start developing Australia’s nuclear energy now.

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