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John Passant

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June 2009



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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)



Canberra Labor: attacking women, aborigines and workers all in one go

Sometimes the mask of reformism slips. 

One action here in Canberra captures the failure of laborism.

In the ACT the minority ALP Government under Left Labor Treasurer Katy Gallagher  has effectively cut funding to the community welfare sector, including the Women’s Legal Centre.

The Centre is a community legal office for women in Canberra and the surrounding area.  It provides advice to women on a range of legal issues including divorce and separation, disputes over children, property settlement, domestic violence and child support among other things.

It has a particular focus on helping indigenous women and to that end has a full time aboriginal liaison officer.

The Centre, like most community welfare groups in Canberra, is grossly underfunded.  It depends for its ongoing existence on the incredible commitment and sacrifice of its workers and volunteers and a trickle of money from Federal and local Labor.

The Centre has eked out an existence  in the past on a $200,000 grant from the Federal Government and a $50,000 grant – not recurrent funding – from the Territory Government.

Rudd Labor has cut the Centre’s funding by almost two-thirds, to $70,000.  The Labor Attorney General in the ACT, Simon Corbell, has refused to guarantee the Territory’s $50,000 after 2010.

The loss of $130,000 in Federal Labor funding and the uncertainty about the future of the $50,000 Territory grant mean that the aboriginal liaison position is under threat.

In fact, since writing this, the Federal Labor Attorney General has pointed out that the Rudd Government funds the Centre, with about $190,000 planned for the coming financial year and this amount will be indexed. It also gave a special grant of $200,000 last year which it will be cut to $70,000 in the coming year. This is an effective cut of $130,000 and when coupled with the uncertainty about the Territory’s grant continuing after 2010, the Centre’s very existence must be in question.

So the fact is that both Governments are attacking the centre through underfunding it. And the outcome is still the same – the aboriginal liaison position may go, and in the long run the Centre itself.

Isn’t it time Simon Corbell guaranteed the Centre adequate funding to make up the shortfalls identified and to enable the workers to do their job?

Staff have responded by taking a pay cut.

At the same time the Labor Government here in the Territory found an extra $720,000 to bail out the local rugby team, the Brumbies, after one of its sponsors went into receivership.  This is on top of an annual grant of $1 million to the Brumbies and an extra $1.05 million to upgrade their training ground.

By comparison, the most successful sporting team in Canberra, the women’s basketball team – the Capitals – receives little from the Labor Government. Money for men’s sport, nothing for women’s sport.

Apparently milli0naire footballers are more important to Canberra Labor than poor and aboriginal women and the Government’s own community sector workers.

In the last Territory Budget left Labor Treasurer Katy Gallagher cut real spending on community welfare groups.

The ACT Greens voted for Labor’s Budget, ensuring its attacks on community welfare groups went through.

Is there any way the community sector can force the Stanhope Labor Government to increase its spending on the poor and disadvantaged in society?

I can understand the motive behind staff taking wage cuts.  It is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Labor is using the care and concern staff have to impose these cuts on already poorly paid people. Taking pay cuts accepts Labor’s logic that workers should pay for the crisis of capitalism.

An alternative would be for the women to join their union and organise a strike to defend and increase their funding and staffing, and call on other sections of the community sector workforce to join them. 

Don’t let left Labor get away with this attack on workers, women and aborigines. Strike against the neoliberals who run Labor.


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