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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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
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Sick kids and paying upfront

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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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Scott Ludlum attacks Abbott with a verbal feather

Scott Ludlum has electrified social media and some on the Left with his blistering attack on Tony Abbott. Among other things he said:

Mr Prime Minister, at your next press conference we invite you to leave your excruciatingly boring three-word slogans at home. If your image of Western Australia is of some caricatured redneck backwater that is enjoying the murderous horror unfolding on Manus Island, you are reading us wrong. Every time you refer to us as the ‘mining state’ as though the western third of our ancient continent is just Gina Rinehart’s inheritance to be chopped, benched and blasted, you are reading us wrong.

Well, that isn’t that blistering. He also said:

Just as the reign of the dinosaurs was cut short to their great surprise, it may be that the Abbott government will appear as nothing more than a thin, greasy layer in the core sample of future political scientists drilling back into the early years of the 21st century.

That’s a bit better. Maybe he just needed warming up. Then this.

Mr Abbott, your thoughtless cancellation of half a billion dollars of Commonwealth funding for the Perth light rail project has been noted. Your blank cheque for Colin Barnett’s bloody and unnecessary shark cull has been noted. Your attacks on Medicare, on schools funding, on tertiary education-noted. The fact that your only proposal for environmental reforms thus far is to leave Minister Greg Hunt playing solitaire for the next three years while you outsource his responsibilities to the same Premier who presides over the shark cull has been noted too.

He did justifiably get a little hot under the collar:

And, perhaps most profoundly, your determined campaign to provoke fear in our community-fear of innocent families fleeing war and violence in our region-in the hope that it would bring out the worst in Australians is instead bringing out the best in us. Prime Minister, you are welcome to take your heartless racist exploitation of people’s fears and ram it as far from Western Australia as your taxpayer funded travel entitlements can take you.

Too true. But what is the strategy to stop Abbott? What has Ludlum built on the ground in his 6 years in Parliament to fight Abbott? Nothing.

All of this rhetoric has been prompted by the new Western Australian Senate election on 5 April, so rather than a crescendo calling for strikes and demonstrations to drive Abbott from power now, Ludlum finishes up meekly with:

What is at stake here, in the most immediate sense, is whether or not Prime Minister Tony Abbott has total control of this parliament in coming years. But I have come to realise that it is about much more than that. We want our country back. Through chance, misadventure, and, somewhere, a couple of boxes of misplaced ballot papers, we have been given the opportunity to take back just one seat on 5 April, and a whole lot more in 2016.

We can’t afford to wait till 2016. We need to get rid of this lot now, and only workers fighting back against job cuts, wage cuts, condition cuts, services cuts, can do that. The union leadership won’t do it. Rank and file unionists might realise the need to act now, although after 30 years of failed neoliberal union and Labor Party leadership organising around that realisation is much easier said than done.

The other side to Ludlum’s speech is the electrifying effect it has had. Some on the left are praising this mild rebuke as the best speech of the year. There will be much better speeches made every day on the workplaces of Australia, in real class terms.

Of course if all we have to compare Ludlum’s speech to is the bumbling ineptitude and class collaboration of what passes for Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, the Labor Party, then this could easily be the speech of the century. It isn’t but where the hell is the Labor Party these days?

Ludlum’s speech doesn’t specifically mention class let alone using it as the basis for fighting Abbott. All we have to do is wait 2 1/2 years to vote Abbott out. This is the talk of defeat, the strategy of failure, not fighting back.

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Comments

Pingback from Scott Ludlum attacks Abbott with a verbal feather | OzHouse
Time March 5, 2014 at 9:11 pm

[…] Mar 05 2014 by admin […]

Comment from Geoff
Time March 6, 2014 at 6:40 am

And how many voters has the entire revolutionary left mobilised to defeat the likes of Abbott?
Nothing will change in Australia if you ignore the contest for control of Parliament.

Comment from John
Time March 6, 2014 at 6:49 am

I think the Greens turn away from street activism to parliamentary cretinism explains their failure to go beyond aorund ten percent and their new neoliberal respectability which will not cut it with workers. We revolutionaries are working away in our workplaces, unions, social movements and the like so that when the working class does move we are there with them. Unlike the Greens and the ALP.

Comment from Kay
Time March 6, 2014 at 7:00 am

“What has Ludlum built on the ground in his 6 years in Parliament to fight Abbott? Nothing.” Well, I think the Greens are a bit of a waste of space, but at least the Greens have sufficient numbers in the Senate to be able to influence legislation! What have you socialists achieved? Truly nothing. So people in glass houses……..

Your solution?: “a crescendo calling for strikes and demonstrations to drive Abbott from power now”. You’re joking! Your pathetic rent-a-crowd demonstrations that hardly get noticed – even by the news-hungry press? QANTAS job losses? Why not call for the resignation of the failed CEO and Board? The closure of Ford, Holden, SPC, the Alumina smelter etc – these companies are huge multinationals making economic decisions despite the billions of dollars that successive Australia governments have thrown at them. Sadly for these heavily-unionised industries, the end result of closure was inevitable – might as well bite the bullet now.

Refugees? The majority of the population see the boats stopping – so Abbott’s “Stop the boats” slogan appears to have been successful! And stopping the boats and getting rid of the profligate and dysfunctional Labor government were the two main outcomes that the voters wished to achieve in 2013. There are many things that voters are not 100% happy with now, but there is certainly nothing like the level of discontent that both the Greens and you would like! Abbott is no genius, but so far he has outwitted all opposition.

Comment from Kay
Time March 6, 2014 at 8:46 am

John

You criticise the Greens’ “failure to go beyond around ten percent”. I bet you’d be thrilled to get 10% voter support for socialism! Thank heavens socialism, for which there is absolutely no evidence of successful implementation anywhere in the world, will never be accepted by the community. It would all end up like Stalinist USSR!

Comment from Lorikeet
Time March 6, 2014 at 9:36 am

Here’s what I think is Scott Ludlum’s best line:

“We want our country back.”

I also encountered this sentiment being expressed on a Seniors blog yesterday.

Unfortunately we would not get it back under a Greens government either.

It is my belief that somebody disposed of some of the Senate ballot papers in WA to keep Clive Palmer’s candidate out.

Speaking of Her Majesty the Queen, I wonder how many people are aware that last year she gave an award for Human Ethics to a person who ran for the Senate for the Greens. This person openly supports Bestiality and Infanticide and is considered one of Australia’s leading human and animal ethicists.

The Greens lost votes in the 2013 federal election for coming up with the Paid Parental Leave Scheme Mark II which gave $50,000 to women for having a baby instead of the Liberals’ $75,000.

I am frankly quite sick of hearing about the rights of sharks in Western Australia. I would prefer a measured cull on sharks to an ongoing cull (by sharks) being perpetrated on the people.

Yesterday I wrote to Dr Chris Davis, state member for Stafford (Brisbane) and asked him to become an Independent or defect to Katter’s Australian Party if he wants to protect the rights of doctors working in our public hospital system. Since then, it seems his LNP mates have managed to hose him down.

Please everyone, write a letter each day to someone regarding things you do not like. For me, today’s letter will be to the ACCC complaining about a fraudulent rewards program being offered by a chain of clothing stores which promises double the rewards, while only delivering the usual.

Comment from Geoff
Time March 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I was a member of the rank and file group in the Victorian AEU. I was an AEU councillor for 10 years. I vote for the Greens because there is no more left wing alternative. Activism to raise class consciousness in the workplace and a strategy to win political power so society can be transformed are not mutually exclusive – they are complimentary. The eternally sectarian and splintered left should join the Greens and support a left orientation and trajectory. I agree that the Greens will not move beyond 10% unless they develop a strategy to appeal to the class interests of working people. Ludlum used his parliamentary platform to criticise capitalism and Adam Bandt has strongly and noticeably represented unions in industrial relations. Such developments should be encouraged.

Comment from Geoff
Time March 6, 2014 at 2:45 pm

The closure of Australian industries is the product of decades of bipartisan globalisation and degregulation. Adopt such policies and the outcomes are predictable. Other outcomes include pressure to cut wages and conditions, increasing inequality, stripping back public welfare, health and education provisions and more costly services from newly privatised sectors which raise prices to make profit – such is their nature. Some people are happy with such outcomes. They are generally not those who have lost from the process. They are happy to distract people who have lost with scapegoats. Socialism shifts control of the economy to the workers. Both the political and economic spheres would be democratised. Neither were democratised in the Stalinist USSR. Hence it was not socialist. That is why the workers remained passive when it collapsed. Socialism has never existed. That does not mean it can never exist. No person had walked on the moon until 1969. The fact that it had never happened until 1969 does not mean it could never happen.

Comment from Sergei
Time March 6, 2014 at 3:40 pm

While some of what Mr Ludlum offered up was valid the Greens offer nothing but the chance for all of us to experience the thrill of living in a bark hut. Can anyone imagine the Greens responding to the recent tar babies of Ford, GMH, SPC, etc with a solution?

Comment from Lorikeet
Time March 6, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I think Kay would be wise to speak for herself where Tony Abbott and his pro-rich party are concerned. I put them last on my federal ballot paper.

When the workers and the financially disadvantaged have been hammered enough, they will end up voting for whoever seems most likely to improve their employment and lifestyle prospects.

If the younger generations cannot buy a home or get a job, they will most certainly vote for communists and socialists.

I think a vote for the Greens would not be a vote that is Pro-Australia. While we might be lucky to dodge a bark hut, we are likely to get a unit the size of a double garage and have to sleep in the rafters like possums. This housing model was put forward in the USA some 2 or 3 years ago.

Queensland councils have developed a new residential planning scheme expected to be adopted in late 2014.

From information provided by the Moreton Bay Regional Council:

“The property zones have also been renamed by the State Government and in most cases will be different to your current land zoning.”

Comment from Kay
Time March 7, 2014 at 6:42 am

Lorikeet

I vote for where my personal interest lies – like most people. I also have some overarching views that help to influence my vote – like a party’s attitude towards conservation; commitment to balancing the Budget; enabling people who are prepared to work for their own benefit to be able to just get on with it; a limit on welfare including a commitment to work-for-the-dole; but a reasonable safety net for those who really can’t help themselves. Ergo – no political parties completely satisfy my interests! So, rule out those that sound too silly for words – the Greens, Katter, Palmer, and any other minor party, and you end up with the Labor/Coalition choice! I voted Labor til Hawke and Keating were gone, then switched to Howard. There is nothing about Labor now that would even tempt me to vote for them again – Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, hysterical Shorten?. So I vote for the Coalition – plus write many emails to Coalition MPs telling them when I think they have lost the plot, as they do quite frequently. I do not follow Abbott slavishly, and he is definitely less than inspiring, but, in my view, the best of the very bad lot at the moment!

Voting for socialists and communists? The socialists appear to eschew taking part in the democratic process – they want revolution and the complete destruction of democracy. So you can’t actually vote for them. Maybe they would be embarrassed by how little electoral support they would get! Communists? No candidates there either that I know of, although they actually believe in running for office (Australia’s only Communist Party MP was Qld’s Fred Paterson, 1944-49). The very leftie party, the Greens? Their support is strongest at the moment in the affluent leafy inner city suburbs – not those heavily impacted by unemployment etc.. And if the wider voter base gets serious about not being able to buy homes, unemployment, lifestyle etc, both the Coalition and Labor will modify their policies to address this rising sentiment. So no need for a revolution – democracy adapts to the times.

As for refugees – the wider voter sentiment appears to favour a stop to boat arrivals. But I do also favour an increase in the humanitarian intake.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time March 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Maybe someone should send Kay out to work in Abbott’s Green Army. When she suffers a permanent workplace injury with no compensation in place, maybe her pro-rich bias will change.

Whenever an election is called, she comes out of her corner swinging punches at everyone who opposes voting for those who support the rich at the expense of the poor.

However, I agree with her comment regarding the number of Greens who earn high incomes and live in affluent places.

Labor and Coalition will continue to pass the ball back and forth, gradually sending our nation further down the gurgler, unless people vote for Pro-Australian parties.

Only truly rusted on Coalition supporters would completely rule out Palmer’s United Party as a choice, without actually waiting to see what they will do.

I don’t bother to worry about how a party “sounds” when only being observed through the prism of either government or commercial television and newspapers, especially if it involves the Murdoch Press.

I wonder if Kay has ever met or spoken with Bob Katter, or perhaps read his book or a list of his policies???

When I vote, I try to consider the likely effects on the entire community of various candidates’ ideas.

As for the idea that “democracy adapts to the times”, I cannot see much democracy in the development of a Corporate Neo-Communist Regime which screws service recipients, workers and shareholders, while using up government/ taxpayers’ money.

Perhaps Kay could give some more thought to attempts by both Labor and Coalition to take away our democratic freedoms (association, speech, assembly).

Comment from Kay
Time March 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

Lorikeet

Whatever…..

Katter and Palmer make fools of themselves every time they open their mouths! You surprise me – supporting a bully like Palmer who uses his fortune to sue everyone in sight, and is totally self-serving in his policies!

I gather you’ve moved from the DLP to Katter. Katter may have some policies that sound supportive of Australian farmers (good for him), but they are largely impractical motherhood statements. They are also homophobic, pro-Christian, pro-shooting anywhere including NPs, and are completely unworkable from an economic point of view! Go figure!

I always support those who are prepared to ‘have a go’ and try to help themselves. That includes providing a safety net for those who simply can’t look after themselves. But permanent bludgers who won’t even try to help themselves, or to repay the community for the community’s support, no I have little patience for them!

Comment from John
Time March 8, 2014 at 9:43 am

I agree. I reckon those bludgers like Gina Rinehart, Twiggy Forrest, Apple, Google, Amazon should be sent packing, or at least made to pay just a little bit of tax instead of bludging on the hard labour of Australian workers.

Comment from Kay
Time March 8, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I’m sure that if Gina Rinehart, etc that you mention, would be taken to court if they actually broke taxation laws. So clearly the problem is the laws. I mean, do you voluntarily pay more tax than you have to? I don’t. And at least these so-called ‘bludgers’ provide significant employment opportunities – including for indigenous communities.

On the other hand, I despair of welfare families where the kids make no effort to get educated because no one in the family, going back several generations in some cases, has ever worked, but everyone in the family knows how to get every cent out of the welfare system. Their contribution to the community? Zero.

Comment from John
Time March 8, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Yes, the next target of your bigotry, after refugees and Muslims, is those for whom capitalism cannot provide jobs. What a surprise.

Comment from John
Time March 8, 2014 at 10:26 pm

The tax system is rigged in their favour.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time March 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Kay knows very well from a seniors blog that a lot of people in the 50+ age group cannot find work, and that there are also high levels of genuine unemployment in the younger generations.

Gina Rinehart is a very rich bitch with no compassion for the disadvantaged.

As we know, Kay’s preferred source of information is the Murdoch Press, which does not want Clive Palmer or anyone from PUP in the parliament, because they may work against Rupert’s best interests.

I don’t currently belong to any political party.

I am really sick of retired people thinking all unemployed persons are bludgers, when huge numbers of Australians are losing their jobs every year and most of the work is going offshore.

Rupert Murdoch has a vested interest in making Clive Palmer and Bob Katter look like idiots on the TV, because he only supports the Woolworths and Coles of politics, both of whom have a long track record of sending the country backwards.

I was not supporting Clive Palmer. I was simply doing the intelligent thing and waiting to see what he and his party will do in the parliament. Surely in a functioning democracy (if we still have one, doubtful at best) he would be given a test drive before being condemned out of hand.

I think it is difficult for smaller political contenders to move beyond Motherhood statements if they are undemocratically deprived of equal air time and print space to keep them out of the parliament.

From my knowledge of Katter’s people, most are certainly not as you describe. They are not gung ho gun wielders simply because they don’t want the entire nation completely disarmed.

It’s the Greens who want blow animals away in National Parks. As we know, they despise anyone keeping domestic and farm animals and won’t be happy until we are all turned into vegans. I wonder if they want those brumbies in Victoria sent to the dog food factory? I think maybe not.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time March 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm

I think Geoff has made some excellent points here regarding where the nation is heading and why. There’s nothing like a bit of logical reasoning from someone who is not heavily influenced by the Murdoch Press.

Comment from Kay
Time March 10, 2014 at 12:29 pm

John (second attempt at a response to you)

As I said, I have no sympathy for those who perpetuate the welfare mentality through the generations. Just one example is Claymore – an assisted housing Sydney suburb. Many families there have never ever worked – nor have their parents and grandparents. Their choice is to live off welfare payments. Their kids don’t go to school.

Yet, within the same suburb, there are families who have sought work and encourage their kids to attend school so the kids at least can lift themselves out of the poverty cycle. So there is some choice involved, and personal motivation is crucial. In this country at least, a person who is motivated can get educated and lift themselves out of poverty. Many many people have done so very successfully.

There are also people whose choice is to work – but no work is available. For them I really do feel very sorry. This is a dreadful circumstance that can befall anyone in the community – through no fault of their own.