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John Passant

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September 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)



A choice beyond the no choice election: fight back

Tony Abbott has been reassuring everyone that his will be a “no surprises” government. In a sense he’s right: if the Coalition wins the federal election, it won’t be surprising at all when he and his filth-pot conservative mates start kicking workers and the poor in the teeth.

In May, shadow treasurer Joe Hockey declared in a speech to the Institute of Public Affairs that a Liberal government will usher in “the end of the era of universal entitlement … and the reinvigoration of the culture of self-reliance”.

He wasn’t talking about ending the billions of dollars in government subsidies to mining and energy companies, or stopping the banks reaping billions from dubious fees. He was foreshadowing, as the Financial Review’s Philip Coorey wrote, “drastic welfare and spending cuts”.

In the lead-up to the election, Abbott and Hockey are now saying it isn’t so; we’ve got nothing to fear. But this is the party of the born to rule – the caviar-munching, Gucci Brera two buttoned suit-wearing, silver spoons up their arses la-di-darlings who would have the rest of us on rations of stale bread and warm milk if they thought they could get away with it. Their word means nothing.

That they look on track to win convincingly is a tragedy – and one that was avoidable.

For so long our side has hesitated and wavered. Union leaders have insisted on “boxing clever” – a euphemism for not actually throwing any punches.

By “boxing clever” we have more and more learned to put up with a beating. It’s become so natural that nobody seems to know how to fight any more: the Labor left has disappeared in everything but name, and unions are in their weakest state in generations.

Left and union quiescence has allowed the ALP to shift unopposed to the right. The more it has shifted, and the more passive the union movement has become, the more the conservatives have been able to get a hearing.

Just look at western Sydney. That these North Shore slime suckers might actually pick up seats here is the greatest indictment of Labor – the party that made neoliberal economic policy “common sense”.

The Australian ruling class has made no secret that it wants governments to increase the attacks on workers. The voices calling to ditch penalty rates, to make it easier to sack people, to stop unions getting into workplaces, have been getting louder. The Liberals will be more receptive to those calls than Labor has been. They should be put below the ALP at the ballot box.

But voting is not the most important thing. The choice for election 2013 is about whether we want to be stabbed in the back again by the ALP or punched in the face by the Liberals.

More important than the election outcome will be the extent to which people can mobilise to resist any and every cutback in the coming years. No matter who wins, we can’t just sit and wait for the next attack.

We have to organise now on campuses, among the rank and file in workplaces and in the few campaigns that exist.

If our side continues to avoid the fight, we will continue to lose. There is nothing clever about that.

This article by  first appeared in Socialist Alternative. Like all posts on this blog, comments – hit the link under the heading – close after 7 days.


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