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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)



Cut the pension age to 60

Imagine a society which cares for its older workers.  Imagine a society where you can retire from wage slavery at 60, on the average wage.

Now look at what Rudd Labor delivers.  A pittance of an increase in the pension, to be paid for by forcing people to work an extra 2 years before they get the pension.

On top of that the Labor Party Government is going to increase the superannuation access age to 67.  This is, as Bill Kelty says, a tax on workers. 

We paid for compulsory superannuation through wage cuts and now we are going to pay by not being able to access our superannuation for a couple more years.

It can only get worse. One US academic is predicting, based on the sort of logic the HowRuddistas are using, that the retirement age in 2050 will need to be 85.

The HowRuddistas will say that they couldn’t afford any more than the $32 a week small change for singles and the pittance of  $10 a week for couples.  Couldn’t afford it?  Then how come Defence is receiving billions extra each year till eternity?

 How come Rudd Labor gives billion to super funds and capital gains concessions worth billions to the bourgeoisie?

Of course it is possible to spend more on pensions, carers, students, hospitals and schools. 

But that would mean attacking capital and its dictatorship over all our lives.  Labor manages the system for the bosses so won’t do it.

The HowRuddistas will also argue that the pension age has stayed the same for the last 100 years (i.e. since the pension in Australia began.)

Well, yes, but that’s an argument for reducing it, isn’t it? 

After all, in the last 100 years workers’ productivity has increased exponentially so we produce much much more.

Why should it be that the bosses are the only ones to benefit from this massive increase in our productivity?

Because that is the way our society is organised – profit first, people (including pensioners) last.

In fact some countries do have better funded retirement schemes than Australia. 

For OECD countries workers on the average wage can expect to receive 70 percent of that income in retirement (from both public and private sources).  Australia is well below this.

The standard age of retirement across the OECD is 65, although this is beginning to increase. On the other hand the effective retirement age is below this and continues to fall (although it may be plateauing during the Great Recession).

The harder and harder the bosses make us work, the sooner we want to retire.

I have a novel suggestion.  Tax the rich to pay for workers, if they want to, to retire at 60 on the average wage. 

The we can begin the process of abolishing alienated labour so that the life of the retiree becomes the life of us all – a world where, as Marx put it:

… as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic.

It probably needs updating to include gardener, driver, tourist, cafe dweller and blogger/critic but you hopefully get the idea.

This carefree life of choice is what pensioners aim for in retirement (and what socialists dream of for humanity) but of course the alienated society we live in pervades everything around us. 

For pensioners this mean the ability to live a decent retirement is restricted by age rules and pension amounts and the impact of 40 years of wage slavery. 

It’s time for workers to demand a just retirement on a living wage at 60.



Comment from Mary Jenkins
Time May 26, 2009 at 12:09 pm

My husband was working 12 hour shifts for the last 10 years before he retired at 65. He was shattered most of the time. His body couldn’t take working 12 hours. He worked in heavy industry since 15 his back knees and mind were broken. The last 2 years he was off with injury most of the time. The company Alcoa forced him back and tried to re train him! What a joke. He became depressed more than he already was and when he retired he was really depressed and had to see the metal health for the aged for treatment.
Rudd said re train the over 60’s who can no longer do manual work, retrain for what?
Politicians who side behind a desk have no conception of the toil of heavy work and shift work on a person. That alone takes 10 years off a life. My father in law dies at 68 after working for 51 years in the Steel works. Shift makes it difficult to join and be involved in community activities on a regular basis. Retirement is welcome, to wait another 2 years will mean less pensions for a government to hand out because more will die soon after if not before retirement.
One size does not fit all Mr Swan

Comment from Peritech
Time May 26, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I wonder who ‘the bosses’ are that are causing all this destruction ?
Could it be our largest employer – small to medium industry with less than 20 employees or could it be the Building Industry or perhaps it is our government employers.
This contributor, should, I think, re-evaluate the situation and, while doing so, consider whether there will be any ‘bosses’ left to employ those who are going to pay his pension

Comment from Leonie
Time May 27, 2009 at 6:11 am

Thanks Mary. Rudd and Swann have no idea how tough manual labour is and asking older workers to do an extra 2 years is criminal. My hope is the union movement forces them to back down. But all the Government can think about is saving money to pay for a really pathetic pension increase. The increase isn’t enough, and making people work an extra two years shows how little respect Rudd Labor has for working people. I’d tax the rich to pay for the $30 increase. In fact I’d tax them enough to pay for a $100 increase for pensioners, carers and the unemployed.

Unfortunately your story will be the same across the country with millions of families in similar positions. Let’s hope the unions can force a backdown.

Comment from Bill
Time May 27, 2009 at 6:39 am

Thanks Peritech. Some of the other articles on this site explain in fairly easy to understand terms the labour theory of value which might help you see the point we are making. In fact we want a world without bosses, where wage slavery is abolished and the individual can develop their real humanity supported by all of us. And do what they choose for society instead of being forced into decades of drudgery to make profits for someone else, profits which are in effect stolen from the labour of ordinary people.

Comment from Abi
Time June 5, 2009 at 12:04 am

Of course people should be working until 67. i think they should work until 70. Bugger me if i want to pay for the ever retiring, aging, hospitalising and health industry sapping generation. For those wondering, yes, I’ll be happy to work to 70 and beyond and yes i do work behind a desk but i do understand manual labour, i grew up with it.

But I’m from the selfish generation and i say tough.

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