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John Passant

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November 2010



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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)



Idealism and the Labor Party

Wayne Swan argues in today’s Australian that the Labor Party is the party of reform and idealists should be joining it. Here is a link to the article, Bring idealists back to the ALP.

Here is my brief response, a letter to the Australian.

Wayne Swan says ‘…the answer lies not in the fringe issues of the far Left but in bread and butter idealism…’ (‘Bring idealists back to the ALP’ The Australian Wednesday November 24)….

Oh, you mean fringe issues like equal pay, Afghanistan, refugees, racism, climate change, marriage equality, the Australian Building and Construction Commission and growing inequality do you Wayne?

There’s a Greens’ poster that sums up the problem the right wing hacks of the ALP have. It reads ‘My principles haven’t changed – my vote has.’

No amount of pontificating from anti-reform and pro-boss politicians like Swan is going to change that now.



Comment from CALLIGULA
Time November 24, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Well, Chief,
I read the article,
It goes on for some while saying nothing and ends the same.
In that regard it is truthful – in that he only lies by omission.
It speaks of lost opportunity and near misses and ends (a Freudian slip?) by saying we can harness the mining boom for a few more years. (So what after that?)

He mentions reform but doesn’t offer the schedule or timeframe.
Like all politicians he assumes that we are all completely stupid – that whoever reads the tripe is partisan anyway and will therefore fill in between his lines with blind trust and the echoes of past speeches.

That doesn’t mean the other lot would offer better – rather that it is reaching the stage of getting harder for them to offer much worse.

Maybe I’m thick – maybe I don’t get to hear the real news – but what I do interpret from what I hear is a labor minority government that is reduced to mere ‘reaction’ to what confronts them rather than leading the play themselves.

In any case the labor party seems to like it that way.
They certainly seem damned keen to discourage idealists and reformers if they ever knock on the door.

Nah, parliaments have become just another privatized industry but with, instead of qualified staff – just a collection of overambitious blow-ins off the street who just happened to win a glorified raffle.

Comment from Walter
Time November 24, 2010 at 7:50 pm

It is so easy to attack, ridicule and mock, yet I don’t see many true socialists running for political office and being elected. I know there are many reasons you could site for this, but the reality is – and it is a reality – that Labor represents the broad majority of Australians and that we prefer a moderate, centre-left government.

I hear your howls of protests about equal pay and workers rights and foreign wars, and bi banks, but these are not issues most Aussie’s care about. We want a safe and secure home to own, tenure, a football team that stays under the salary cap … and yes, we want Julia as she is a decent, moderate and pragmatic leader.

Socialism today equals violence and oppression. I have read here that Mr Passant supports the oppressed over the oppressor. I present North Korea and rest my case. A communist/socialist country where people starve to death, where there is no freedom of the press or expression and now seeks to create another war in Asia by attacking a moderate, democratic US backed nation!

Socialism is not the answer. Centre left governments are. They may move incrementally, but they don’t crush people along the way.

Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time November 25, 2010 at 7:45 am

Walter’s view that most Australians are poujadist idiots like himself is certainly the view you’d expect from a poujadist idiot! By ‘centre-left’ I presume he means the likes of Tony Blair, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama. I think the Left can rest its case too.

Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time November 25, 2010 at 7:57 am

Or maybe ‘poujadist’ is the wrong term — ‘folksy parliamentary cretinism’ might be better, as Poujade was hostile to parliamentarianism.

Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time November 25, 2010 at 7:58 am

Except that the other bit of what I said seems to have vanished altogther. Oh well, c’est la vie.

Comment from CALLIGULA
Time November 25, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Without being intendingly hurtful could it be that Australians somehow manage to be middle of the road, mundane and exclusivist at the same time?
It might appear that a middle left administration meets the needs/expectations of the majority – except for the fact that it doesn’t.
All it amounts to is mediocrity.

But that’s interesting too since we seem to choose mediocre cars – live in mediocre houses (if we have one) do mediocre things in mediocre ways – even our rednecks buy mediocre firearms to kill mediocre animals in mediocre ways while pretending to be mediocre conservationists.
So I suppose it computes in some sort of mediocre way.

See how boring mediocrity is?
All I have to do is repeat myself like one of our mediocre politicians.
I rest my case.
PS – One day you might need to request and require something from governance only to be told that what you need is not legislated for.

Then you’ll discover the show is more than mediocre.

Comment from Auntie Rhoberta
Time November 25, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Please forgive my own mediocre early-morning comments!

Comment from Walter
Time November 25, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Calligula – that’s actually very clever. My only response is that I’ll support mediocre, mundane, middle of the road government over amazing, exciting and ultimately destrcuctive socialist enterprises. Cuba may be the exception – a wonderful and vibrant country, although even Fidel admitted he allowed persecutive of gays and an oppressive police regime. Little freedom in what is otherwise an incredible country with possibly the most incredible government. Just don’t try to leave…. or be critical. Or gay.

Keating was hardly mediocre. Agree or not, floating of the dollar, removal of tarrifs, redfern speech, republicanism etc all approached with style and chic. He may not have been your socialist messiah, but he certainly moved this country to a better place. Centre left that is!

And while I agree I want things from government that are not legislated for, let me put this to you. However much I may complain, I live in a place with one of the best health systems in the world, I was educated almost for free, I have access to a fairly good public transport system, crime is minimal and me and my family are free to express our views and live our lives with little government interference. Hell, my kids can even smoke pot and not be jailed!

So it is not perfect, or even utopian … but there is a reason people like Mr Passant live in Canberra and not Cambodia, Camaroon, the Congo or Calcutta – and that is that any Australian city is preferable to just about anywhere else.

So show me where it exists – or has existed (or will exist) the government and society you want.

Comment from Tom
Time November 25, 2010 at 10:01 pm

In the past I always voted labour. Im sick and tired of the promises the major 2 parties make then break if they are elected. This time I’m going to vote for independants.

Comment from CALLIGULA
Time November 28, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Well said Walter –
But I don’t live in Canberra or near a capital city so my life seems to cop all the bad elements you mention about Cuba but none of the perks.
Some years ago I was fortunate enough to meet a Cuban High Commissioner for trade at a social gathering in town.
A very courteous Spanish Gentleman type of bloke.
As we say in our part of the world – ‘No flies on him’.

I found it interesting that at the time Cuba was an ogre to the US – he and our people were getting on very well.
In conversation Fidel was just Fidel and that surnames only needed mentioning when the less well known members of the Cuban administration were discussed.

And before you ask there was obvious affection and high regard evident both in voice and body language whenever Cuba’s Premier was mentioned – with the odd wry joke thrown in for good measure.

I came away from that occasion more than impressed with the confidence and trust our trade reps had for the Cubans and with the openness with which they discussed their difficulties coexisting with such an unremittingly hostile northern neighbour.

I guess the point I’m making is that nations and leaders all have their ways of dealing with their particular circumstances and that Cuba (since you mentioned her) has had (despite the adversity and bad publicity) for many years some things Australia lacks.
Without writing a treatise may I just mention openness and honesty.

So, sorry old mate – a bit of amazement and excitement could be put up with here if once in a while the ‘masters’ could be contacted about something that was important to us – rather than to ‘them’.

PS – I’d like to be a fly on the wall whenever Guantanamo Bay is mentioned in Havana

Comment from Lana Renn
Time November 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Good content! Going to take a bit of time to toy with this writing!

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