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John Passant

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May 2011



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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)



Greens – abandon Labor over refugees

Today I had the pleasure of looking again at the Greens-ALP agreement. This is the document that forms one of the bases for the minority Gillard Labor Government surviving.

Anodyne is a word that springs to mind. But it is worse than that. 

The agreement commits Labor to superficial changes to parliamentary processes but to nothing concrete. There is talk of studies and reports and consideration, all of which, as every good bureaucrat knows, is a way of burying or postponing action. It is parliamentary cretinism writ small.

Take refugees. The agreement doesn’t even mention them. Not one word. 

While the Greens made- irony alert –  massive gains in having regular meetings with Gillard, and won some commitments for ‘better’ parliamentary processes, they didn’t win anything from Labor on the humane treatment of refugees.

And what does Labor get from this Greens’ capitulation? A guarantee of supply and support in any no confidence motions from non-Greens members.

I wrote at the time that this was a shocking document, a complete capitulation to Labor.

The fact that Labor can shift to temporary protection visas, change the character test and persecute freedom fighters in the concentration camps for fighting back shows my criticism were valid. The Greens are the silent partners in Labor’s morally criminal jailing of refugees, people who have committed no crime.

Is there a solution? The Greens could threaten to withdraw their support from Labor. They could move a no-confidence motion in the Government over refugees in Parliament. 

They could, shock horror, actually lead a campaign of civil disobedience against Labor and its concentration camps. They could bring out their supporters and occupy the centres of the capital cities until every refugee is freed from prison.

They won’t.

Why not? Some Greens might argue lesser evilism.

If the Greens do bring Labor down Tony Abbott might become Prime Minister. One answer is that as Labor shifts further and further to the right, Tony Abbott is Prime Minister in all but name.

A second response is that by allowing Labor to move so far to the right, the Greens are complicit in the shift to reaction in society that is occurring and almost certainly guarantees an Abbott Government at the next election.

‘But we have to do it through Parliament’ some Greens will bleat. ‘Just vote for us.’

Actually Parliament at the moment is a rubber stamp for reaction, in part because the social movements and labour movement have been so quiet.

Building extra-parliamentary resistance is the best guarantee of success. Gay marriage is on the agenda not because the Greens pontificate in Parliament but because activists in the Equal Love campaign are building larger and larger demonstrations in support.

For refugees, tomorrow is too late. We need action now, not in a few years time.

Greens, threaten to bring the government down over its cruel and inhuman treatment of asylum seekers. Organise mass civil disobedience to close all detention centres.

Bring your members and supporters onto the streets in their hundreds of thousands to demand an end to mandatory detention. Show some spine for a change.

Readers, if you haven’t already done so, might also like to read The Labor-Greens Agreement – is Bob Brown serious?



Comment from Dave
Time May 2, 2011 at 10:47 am

The Greens could also take a lead in pushing back against Liberal driven and Labor sanctioned Islamophobia by endorsing and organising a contingent for this rally:

The Australian Defence League
intend to hold a fascist rally
Sunday 15 May at 12noon
at Federation Square, Melbourne

You may remember that the last time they tried this in Melbourne last March, we held a Rally Against their Rally and the fascists went home

So this time we have to stop them again. Be there to help stop the fascists.

Comment from Graham Dooley
Time May 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm

If the Greens are a Party of Principle then they will take this stance. They are the ONLY group with the political power to dictate to the ALP and could (if they have the will) engage with the community to also explain why the current system is flawed. This latter point may seem trite but it should be THE objective for the Greens if they intend to remain engaged in the Parliamentary process and maintain ANY semblance of political principle when it comes to Australia’s obligation to treat refugees and asylum seekers with compassion and equity. Bob Brown has a store of goodwill he could draw on to achieve this. Will he draw down or not?

Comment from Caroline Storm
Time May 2, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for telling it! I voted for Bandt, worked for Bandt. Will email his office. Is there any chance he’ll see it??

Comment from John
Time May 2, 2011 at 2:38 pm

No Caroline. I emailed one soon to be Greens Senator some time ago for an interview and got a stock reply – we will contact you within 3 days. That was about 30 days ago. Still waiting.

Comment from Terrance
Time May 2, 2011 at 8:11 pm

If the Greens withdraw their support the government may well collapse and we would face an election, one that the Coalition would win if Essential, Newspoll and Nielson are to be believed.

You see, purity only exists when one never is confronted with the art of compromise. If the Socialist Alternative, for eg, held the balance of power, they too would be faced with ‘Sophie’s Choice’ on certain issues. It is something those outside of politics and power never know or are confronted with.

The Greens were ‘pure’ over the first ETS and were attacked for not supporting Labor. Now they are being attacked for supporting Labor. The thing is John, one cannot cherry pick. Oh yes, I like Bob Brown when he says X, but I so oppose him when he says Y. Imagine being bob Brown even within his own party?

It is very easy to say what a party should or shouldn’t do from afar – like wanting to be a selector or coach. But politics is about the practicable – and having Abbott as PM is far worse than Labor’s dud asylum-seeker policy.

Further, none of us know what conversations are going on between the Greens and Labor. They could be working on a new policy as we speak. Too easy to knock, much harder to be there in parliament making these decisions, I believe.

Comment from John
Time May 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

Yes Terrance, I actually respond to thsoe anticipated criticisms in the piece. So why vote Green if they are captured by ‘lesser evilism’ and so do nothing for refugees? It is not about being pure. It is about playing politics tough, something the Greens don’t do and instead capitulate to labor. They could be leading instead of following. hey could even be calling mass demonstrations and putting pressure on Labor from the streets. Instead they come up with the most pathetic, wishy washy agreement with Labor one could imagine.

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