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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)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

Will Indonesia start to turn back Australia’s boats? By sending 3 boats to the border between Australia and Indonesia, and with a frigate on the way, the Indonesians are upping the ante against the racist anti-refugee Abbott government. Co-operation on asylum seekers is dead.  Can Indonesian trade embargoes be far away?

In its desperation to give life to slogans, tow back the boats has become a reality, a reality of diplomatic disaster on the road to soft Konfrontasi between the two countries.

Australian Navy vessels have breached Indonesian sovereignty and one of the boats towed back may have been towed back from near Christmas Island (Australian territory) all the way to Indonesian shore. 


The Abbott government has issued a half-hearted apology saying the breaches were ‘inadvertent.’ The modern Australian Navy and Customs boats with their up to date navigation systems don’t know where they are? All of them?  Seriously? it looks to me as if this was the Navy or Customs following the Government’s policy of towing back [aka turning back, nudge nudge, wink, wink] the boats.

The only ‘illegals’ I see are Abbott and Morrison.

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

Australia’s two way trade with Indonesia was worth $14.6 billion in 2012, making Indonesia our 12th largest trade partner. Two-way trade in goods decreased to $11.1 billion in 2012 (down 1.9 per cent from 2011). Australia’s major merchandise exports to Indonesia are:

  • wheat ($1.3 billion in 2012)
  • aluminum ($296 million)
  • copper ($247 million)
  • crude petroleum ($2.5 billion)
  • gold ($788 million)
  • iron, steel and aluminum structures ($303 million)
  • refined petroleum ($203 million).

Indonesia is also Australia’s third largest agriculture market, with exports worth $2.3 billion in 2012. Australia’s main agricultural exports to Indonesia are: wheat, cotton, live animals, meat, horticultural products and sugar.

Two way trade in services reached almost $3.6 billion in 2012. Australian services exports to Indonesia grew by 2.5 per cent in 2012, and reached $1.26 billion, while services imports from Indonesia to Australia grew by 3.5 per cent to reach 2.2 billion.

Australian investment in Indonesia is growing. In 2012, it grew by 35.5 per cent to reach $6.7 billion. Indonesian investment in Australia was around $600 million in 2012.

There are presidential and parliamentary elections this year in Indonesia. I could imagine Indonesia raising health concerns about the live animal and meat trade for example, hitting  National Party cattle and sheep producing voters in revenge. I am sure populist politicians in Indonesia will make such calls.

It is not only some Coalition supporters whose livelihoods might be threatened who could be getting the jitters about these bumbling idiots upsetting our most important neighbours. These foreign affairs fools are also alienating sections of the bourgeoisie over this.   As Tony Walker in the Weekend Australian Financial Review says: ‘This is what happens when a focus group-approved political slogan becomes national policy…’ 

It may become a choice between trade or jingoistic slogans.  These children in the play pen may choose jingoism. Of course they’ll search for some solution that saves face but I can’t see one that won’t be a massive back down by Abbott and co if they want to keep important trade and investment flows between the two countries continuing rather than pretending to’ stop the boats.’

Of course the Colonel Blimps now in charge of Australia and playing at a war on refugees also reflect white man superiority and the real interests of Australian imperialism of not only co-opting Indonesia but also dominating it. Indonesia’s recent moves to a closer relationships with China (e.g. Indonesia pushing ASEAN with China in it rather than the TPP without China in it as the way forward for trade in the region)  mean that Abbott’s bullying strategy is guaranteed to fail.

It is not only incompetence towards Indonesia this mob of political juveniles are displaying. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said, while in Israel for the burial of war criminal Ariel Sharon, “I would like to see which international law has declared [Israeli settlements] illegal.” As George Browning in The Age wrote:

According to the Fourth Article of the Geneva Convention, to which Australia is a party, it is a war crime for an occupying power to ”transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.  In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that ”the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law”.  It is in upholding this ruling that the United Nations and, until the election of the Abbott government, Australia have opposed the construction of Israeli settlements.

This isn’t about legality. It is about a major shift in Australian government policy to support Israel right or wrong. It is no surprise that one colonial settler state supports another and in doing that shores up support for its own disgraceful treatment of the indigenous inhabitants.

South Eastern Australia has been experiencing an extreme heatwave.  Here’s what the Climate Commissions says, via Oliver Milman in The Guardian:

Heatwaves in Australia are becoming more frequent, are increasing in intensity and are lasting longer, according to an interim report by the Climate Council.

The report, which will be released in full in February, finds that climate change is having a key influence on a trend that has seen the number of hot days in Australia double and the duration and frequency of heatwaves increase in the period between 1971 and 2008.

It will worsen as climate change continues unchecked. I am becoming more and more convinced that capitalism cannot address the climate change challenge and that there are now two medium to long term options for humanity – barbarism or socialism. I am not alone.  Some scientists have come to the conclusion that radical cuts to CO2 emissions are needed now and the current political and economic system cannot deliver.

Official unemployment remained steady at 5.8% because more people gave up looking for work. Unemployment will pass 6% in the next six months, according to the Treasury, and the Budget in May will add further to it with its cuts, cuts, cuts for the poor and working class and benefits for the rich.

Real unemployment is much higher.  According to Roy Morgan Research unemployment in December was 11.2% (not quite double the official rate) and with another 8.6% of people wanting to work more hours.

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