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John Passant

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December 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)



Have your say – Saturday’s socialist speak out

The Conservative Coalition won the election in Victoria pretending to be worried about the high cost of living, transport, health and education. Pro-boss Labor in Government made their lies credible. The Greens put on a moderate face and got a tiny swing. Yet in the federal election, when they put on a left wing face, they got a bigger swing. Maybe appealing to the left is a better strategy for the Greens than pandering to ‘the centre’.

Wikileaks hasn’t revealed much, but the ferocious response shows the real nature of the dictatorship of capital we live under and the narrowing of democratic options available to US imperialism as its power slowly declines and it looks to more brutal ways to protect its interests against any challenger.

Australia got one vote for its 2022 World Cup bid. What fool voted for us?  Having Paul Hogan as part of our campaign for the cup cry ‘hand it over’ was irony. Just what the ATO is saying to him for the possible $100 million he allegedly owes in back taxes, interest and penalties.

Speaking of tax, Joe Hockey has floated the idea that the company tax and top marginal tax rate should align. I agree. Increase the company tax rate from 30 percent to 45 percent. That’s what he meant, wasn’t it? Hit the comments button to have your say or read what others are talking about.



Comment from Nic Stuart
Time December 4, 2010 at 9:07 am

Dear John,

You have an interesting letter in the Canberra Times about a piece I wrote on the Greens and the Victorian election. Thanks for your comments, but I’m afraid we’ll have to disagree about the meaning of the election’s results. I do think that voters are rejecting the dual-party paragidm, but that’s not what happened here. I also don’t believe people are ready to embrace the socialist left. I assume you will probably disagree with my analysis, however I think that if the Green agenda becomes conflated (or subsumed) within a socialist one, both groups will be weakened by inter-necine conflicts. Better for both to flourish (or wither) on their own. Otherwise they will battle over scarce resources, dragging each other down.

Yours faithfully,

Nic Stuart

Comment from Dave Bath
Time December 4, 2010 at 9:44 am

The right wing vigilante types aren’t saying that if people will hand over this stuff for no personal gain, and release it to the public so their government can react, then there is a huge chance that really damaging stuff has been taken for profit.

I’m half suspecting that the real threat of wikileaks, the reason the nutters want wikileaks shut down, is the upcoming leak from Bank of America.

Comment from John
Time December 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

Hi Nic. Thanks. I don’t disagree with your argument that the Greens and Socialists should stay separate. In fact I have consistently argued that on my blog. I think the Greens – even the left of the Greens – are committed to the market. They have no links to the unions. In fact to call them left wing is a mistake I think. They have some left wing policies but their social base is not the labour movement or working class, and hence unlikely to be radical or left wing consistently.

It is why we in Socialist Alternative are trying to build our own revolutionary organisation and are highly critical of the Greens. (Our site is at

But I do think there is a questioning out there of the neoliberlaism of both the ALP and the Coalition, and a search for something that challenges this uniformity of politics. The Greens, when they talk left wing, seem to appeal to that dis-satisfaction among some sections of society. When they mirror the ALP and the Coalition they seem to do less well. That analysis might prove unsustainable over time but at the moment appears valid.

I like your articles by the way. They engage me and make me think. I’d die for exposure like that.



Comment from Magpie
Time December 4, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Regarding the WikiLeaks/Julian Assange affair: precisely the disproportion between the WikiLeaks revelations and the official response makes me worry that a serious trend may underline this whole story.

Because, let’s not fool ourselves, WikiLeaks and Assange so far can at best only be described as a pain in the American Govenment’s ass (and, to a lesser extent, to other governments).

However, if one were to judge by the magnitude of the official reaction, one would conclude that WikiLeaks and Assange are the Anti-Christ incarnate.

Now, a former adviser to the Canadian PM came forward to suggest Assange’s assassination during a CBS interview:

And look at the faces of the journalists. Anyone would have thought that was a joke.

Comment from Mervyn Jacobi
Time December 5, 2010 at 4:46 am

I believe that because of the “Pledge” or whatever else it may be called – when a person joins a Political Party, and I understand it applies to all Parties, they have to sign a form to say that they will accept the decision of the majority – as far as I am concerned, it means that that person has no integrity and reduced intelligence and that belief is held by some of my friends.
This is what our Political Parties consist of, isn’t it? At least, this is the attitude presented.The recession Australia is possibly just/maybe escaping from is a repetition of the one we had back in the 1930’s and one in the early 1980’s when the top personal tax was reduced to about 50%, there have been two more, in John Howard and Peter Costello’s days, and one with Wayne Swan as treasurer. It may be necessary for a tax of only 25% or 30% to cater for the running of the country, but it needs a top tax of about 70% to restrain people – who are not otherwise restrained – from taking high salaries or other incomes that they are not really worth and this has caused much higher prices than should be. These higher prices are another tax being applied by individuals or Companies to be able to pay high incomes or salaries to their CEO’s and others. It is the lack of integrity and intelligence required to join a political party, that is causing the economic problems world wide. It is a global problem, but only of the low ability of the people in all parties.

Comment from Mervyn Jacobi
Time December 5, 2010 at 5:07 am

Talking about the wonderful asset the mining exports are, when you realise that countries DO NO SELL their products, they trade, and when Australia trades its non renewable, non value added reserves, for commodities we had been producing previously, clothing and such, tools for manufacture and other manufacturing, and most of these factories have been destroyed because in the process of trade, goods are traded at prices rediculusly low, our coal can be considered as being traded at between 30% and 15% of its true value, considering that coal traded by BHP Billington for $US98 about 2007, was retraded for $US308.70 to Pohang, Sth Korea. The “Big” parties, if you look at their own constitution, you will find that they neither obey or honour their own constitution. If our Politicians had been intelligent and had integrity ( which they promise they have not got when signing to join their party) Australia would be sitting on the top of the world. Today.

Comment from Shane H
Time December 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm

So whats the social base of the socialist sects? In my experience they are mostly students or ex-students. You and I are academics (as I was when I was in the DSP) as are Rick Kuhn and Tom Bramble (who I heard speak at the Brisbane launch of the their new book) so none of them are working class either on your defn. The Greens I know are academics, social workers, teachers, ie what I would call white collar working class (much the same as the socialist sects). The white and blue collar working class – unionists and migrants – overwhelmingly support the ALP. So that would make them a workers party.

Comment from Arjay
Time December 5, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Why hasn’t Prof Tom Flanagan been charged with inciting violence against Julian Assange by calling fro his assassination? Obama wants the legal assassination of anyone deemed to be a suspected terrorist. No trial or legal representation.

Tom Flanagan did not say this is jest.Why are we not alarmed ?

Comment from Walter
Time December 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm

I think you get the Greens wrong Mr Passant. The unions in Australia are not left wing, many of them are as moderate and right as can be and their support for the destruction of native forests and support of coal etc means the Greens are the only party to represent the ‘left’ in a pragmatic way.

Your views are definately in a minority. The people want a left party, but not an extreme left party – not one who thinks everything the US does is evil, or that their great President Obama is a war criminal (or defends that accused assulter of women Assange!). I havwe written this before – your black and white view (oppressed/oppressor; left/right; west/middle east) does not accept the reality of world politics and the way the majority want to live their lives.

Comment from John
Time December 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Sects? Shane has a new word and he uses it incessantly since the big lie repeated ad nauseum can become the truth. Just ask Murdoch. As to the make up of socialist alternative ( many students are in transition to being workers. Our composition is about fifty percent working class, some intellectuals (both academic and public)and the rest students.

By working class I mean those who sell their labour power to survive and have little control over their work or workplace- and that includes blue collar, white collar and many academic workers.

But I agree with Shane on one point. The ALP is a workers party – a bourgeois workers party. We are trying to build a socialist workers party, based on the militant section of the working class now and into the future.

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