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John Passant

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April 2013



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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)



Nationalise the Shell refinery at Geelong under workers’ control

Shell has announced plans to sell its Geelong oil refinery. It is looking for  a buyer and the 450 employees and 150 contractors are rightly worried about their futures.  If Shell can’t find a buyer it will consider turning the refinery into an import terminal.

A few years ago Shell closed down its Clyde refinery in Sydney and turned it into an import terminal. 350 workers lost their jobs.

The Geelong refinery supplies about 50% of Victoria’s fuel and 30% of South Australia’s.

While not impossible, according to the Australian Workers’ Union a sale is not likely.

I have two suggestions. The AWU should make it a condition of sale that all workers keep their jobs. If that isn’t part of the sale contract they should walk off the job.

That would make a sale even less likely. So the workers could demand, and excuse me for using the racist phraseology of the Labor Prime Minister but I hope it makes a point, that ‘Aussie jobs first’ Julia Gillard nationalise the refinery without compensation to defend their jobs.

If Gillard won’t do that – she won’t – then workers could take the refinery over and run it themselves. There is an alternative to the madness that is the market. Occupy the workplace. There is no other alternative if workers want to defend their jobs.



Comment from Lorikeet
Time April 5, 2013 at 7:17 am

I agree with this wholeheartedly, John. The proposed import terminal sounds like another attack on Australian made products.

When a major non-Australian owned company closed down a food processing factory in Victoria, Senator John Madigan and his staff did their best to try to form a workers’ co-operative to buy it.

When word got out, thugs came in the night and destroyed all of the processing equipment on site.

Comment from Gil
Time April 5, 2013 at 8:11 am

Why not the workers make Shell a fair offer and purchase and run the refinery?
They will then have control over their future and productivity will certainly increase.

Comment from Tom Biegler
Time April 5, 2013 at 8:38 am

“The madness that is the market” is simply the end result of all the millions of decisions humans make every day about what to do with their lives and their resources. So if Shell workers wish to buy the Geelong Shell business then that would be a market outcome and so be it. Some of them may well think that such a decision would be madness indeed, given the prospect that they would all lose their money. But I suspect John sees a slightly different scenario more like a South American expropriation. In that case the losses would be nicely (or ‘fairly’, in left wing jargon) distributed amongst all Australians. Now that’s real madness.

Comment from Ralph Bennett
Time April 5, 2013 at 9:21 am

Very simple……on the basis of national security, the Govt mandates that Shell keep the refinery or it doesn’t do business in Australia.

Being dependent on ” JUST IN TIME’ IMPORTS ” from Singapore , with supply chain fragility in a time of crisis, is too risky.

Sadly, Labour hasn’t a clue.



Comment from Robert LePage
Time April 5, 2013 at 9:33 am

The government should nationalize the whole of the oil and gas industry. The recent case where the Japanese company building the gas processing plant in Darwin, refused to supply the NT with gas “because all the gas was presold to Japan” is a case in point.
Australia should not allow the oil companies to dictate oil policy here. It belongs to Australia and they are only concerned with profit, profit profit.

Comment from Hasbeen
Time April 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

Can you imagine government, & particularly this one, running a refinery? They would lose a fortune of our money, & I don’t think the site could physically accommodate the numbers of people they’d hire to run the thing. So no John &Robert, very bad ideas.
Robert you can’t have a law requiring one company to do something, but we could have a law requiring ALL companies, who wish to sell fuel in Oz to refine a percentage, say 65% in Oz.
Just imagine forcing Coles & Woollies to do something useful.

Comment from Bazz
Time April 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

There is one big problem with either nationalising or worker takeover.
It gets to the reason Shell wants to sell or get out, and that is because Australian crude oil production is declining at 4% to 5% a year. In very few years there won’t be enough crude to bother running the refinery
Caltex at Kurnell closes this year and I believe the refinery in Brisbane closes next year.
Does that send you a message ?

Comment from John
Time April 5, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Bazz asks, apropos of market forces, ‘Does that send you a message?’ No Bazz, that is the whole point. To overcome market forces; to defend jobs; to produce goods and services to satisfy human need; to stop worshiping at the altar of profit.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time April 5, 2013 at 6:58 pm

This has nothing to do with whether or not Shell is profitable. It’s about a further sellout to overseas interests.

Remember the Gorgon Project off the NW coast of WA? The one where the government is selling 50 years worth of natural gas to China at 6 cents per litre, while the locals pay through the nose?

Comment from Ross
Time April 5, 2013 at 8:35 pm

We cannot afford not to have fuel refinement in our country.Petrol when refined has only a 6 month shelf life.

We only have 2 weeks of fuel reserves in Aust and a serious disruption with no production here,will mean starvation for many of us.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time April 9, 2013 at 8:14 am

Yes, Ross, and to say nothing of the concomitant national economic decline. The last I heard, Holden is also shedding around 500 staff.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time April 9, 2013 at 8:20 am

Bazz, did you know that South Australia has masses of shale oil deposits, to the tune of 22 trillion?

To those who think the ALP is simply “dumb”, please be aware that they are working to a UN agenda to bring the whole world down to the lowest common denominator. If it were otherwise, neither of the major parties would have signed 7000+ international agreements that sell us out as a nation.

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