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John Passant

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January 2014



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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)



Bernardi’s counter revolution

Arch reactionary Senator Cory Bernardi has released his book ‘The Conservative Revolution’. Counter revolution is perhaps a better description.

Bernardi called the pro-choice movement pro-death. He described abortion as a ‘death industry [which] despatches 80,000 to 100,000 unborn children every year.’ According to Latika Burke at the ABC News website:

In his book Senator Bernardi rails against non-traditional families, surrogacy and euthanasia and calls on fellow conservatives to help to reverse the trends in social acceptance of changing attitudes.

Children living with their biological mother and father who are married will evidently reduce crime.

This is the same Cory Bernardi who last year said that legalising gay marriage would lead to bestiality.

According to the good Senator, the Greens and Islam are a threat to traditional Christian and Western values. Further, kids getting breakfast from charities take away parental responsibility and create a ‘state will look after us’ mentality among young people.

In his book Bernardi also argued for a return to individual contracts, one of the most hated aspects of John Howard’s WorkChoices laws. Bernardi suggested workers and bosses could agree for example to trade off overtime for pay increases.

It is not surprising a reactionary like Bernardi argues for ‘traditional’ values. These are values that capitalism used and uses to enforce the family unit as the way to provide the next generation of workers to capital at almost no cost to the bosses.

It is also not surprising he argues for more flexible work arrangements. This is code for more power for the boss and hence less pay and conditions for workers.

It would be a mistake for the Left to imagine these are the rantings of one individual. This is part of the agenda of the conservative faction of capital to set the agenda and drag Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the rest of his conservative government towards it.

As a conservative and a practising Catholic, Abbott is naturally inclined to this sort of family agenda talk. However he also knows the unpopularity of both anti-abortion ideas and flexible work arrangements.

Bernardi is the stalking horse for reactionary change and beating back the social and economic gains of the past.

When Abbott makes some ‘refinements’ to industrial relations law or Medicare support for abortions we will supposedly breathe a sigh of relief that that nice Mr Abbott hasn’t implemented that nasty agenda of reactionary Senator Bernardi.

You can just imagine it. “Um, look, Cory has his views and while I umm respect them, I won’t umm be introducing changes to ahhh abortion laws. They umm are a state responsibility. And umm I said before the election that ahhh WorkChoices is dead and ummm buried. ‘

Followed by:

‘The ahhh refinements I am announcing today, umm, to the Fair Work Act are designed to ahhh empower hard working Australians.’ Or ‘These umm changes to Medicare support for ahhh abortions will make the ummm system more ummm cost effective and enable ahhh other priorities to be ummm addressed.’

What this will require is a concerted campaign to defend the gains of the past like abortion rights and resist further attacks on labour rights. They are interconnected. Defence of abortion rights is defence of workers’ rights. Defence of workers’ rights is defence of abortion rights. A strong working class industrial campaign against any attacks – Medicare co-payments, abortion rights, overtime – has the potential to defeat the specific attacks and open up the possibility of workers generalising the experience.

Bernardi argued it was appropriate for politicians to put forward ideas and begin the debate. True.

To shift the debate and climate back to the left we need big strikes and mass demonstrations.

Why then won’t one of the Labor Left or Greens politicians make the obvious call – the only way to defend our side’s gains from attack by Abbott and Bernardi is by striking and with massive demonstrations?

They could of course also try to drag the agenda to the left by calling for the rich to be taxed, for nationalising the big battalions of capital, for free universal health care, for open borders, for a treaty with the Aboriginal people recognising prior ownership….

What is Senator Doug Cameron doing these days? Lee Rhiannon? To pose the question is to answer it.

It is the radical and revolutionary left that has this sort of understanding and analysis. What it doesn’t have is the social support. The task for us is to win that support by making the arguments for strikes and demonstrations today and where we can to mobilise people to take to the streets to resist Bernardi and Abbott.



Comment from Lorikeet
Time January 7, 2014 at 8:13 am

I agree with quite a lot of what Senator Bernardi has to say, but if he wants to reduce the high rate of abortion, he should give the Coalition the flick, as their workplace policies and mass sackings only mitigate towards people being unable to support their children.

Having raised 2 children with a husband and 1 child without a spouse, I agree that the best situation for children is to live with both of their biological parents whenever humanly possible.

I think there is some truth is his idea that charities providing breakfast for children has a tendency to absolve parents of their responsibilities. This is the corporate model, which is also being used in child care centres. Paradoxically speaking, it is the government’s support for the corporate model that is creating child poverty.

If Senator Bernardi doesn’t support the corporate model, I think this is commendable, and another reason that he should quit the Coalition and join Katter’s Australian Party or the Democratic Labour Party, the only parties that seem to support strong family values and are also pro-Australia.

I am absolutely tired of successive governments complaining about an Ageing Population while supporting pro-death policies which limit growth at the bottom of the Age Pyramid. This would include dumping sole parents on the dole, as I’m sure this would make a pregnant single woman think that both she and her child were unwanted (suicide/abortion).

Comment from Lorikeet
Time January 7, 2014 at 8:20 am

I would certainly not support the idea that the government allowing free access to the ability to kill your own child is a gain. I think Tony Abbott is correct in thinking that abortion should be legal, safe and rare… with the emphasis on RARE.

What kind of society sanctions the killing of its own children even when they are likely to be perfectly healthy?

If Tony Abbott brings back various aspects of Work Choices, he will be out on his ear very quickly. Perhaps he will even lose his own seat like John Howard.

Comment from John
Time January 7, 2014 at 7:11 pm

I just approved a comment in response to Lorikeet and it disappeared. Sorry to whoever I have inadvertently censored. I am away from home and using my portable doesn’t always work well.

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