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John Passant

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May 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)



That Q&A protest – this is what democracy looks like

The activists after the protest

What a magnificent student protest on the ABC’s Q&A on Monday night. Socialist Alternative and other student activists from the Education Action Network infiltrated this talk fest of the one percent.

After making the point about the Government having money for war but not for education, they unfurled a banner and chanted slogans in defence of higher education such as “No cuts, no fees, no corporate universities” and “Chris Pyne, get out, we know what you’re all about; cuts, job losses, money for the forces.”

I really liked the banner ‘more brains, not war planes.’  The only zombies in sight were the ruling class panellists and the host Tony Jones, who dismissed the protest as ‘undemocratic.’  Undemocratic is denying a voice to the 99% against the 1%.

And in the spirit of free speech and democracy the ABC shut down the broadcast for a few minutes. Can’t have the audience seeing people protesting can we? It might give them ideas.

Why the protest? Abbott and Pyne are attempting to Americanise universities through more and more deregulation, increasing work loads and higher and higher fees (up by as much as 34% if current proposals go ahead).

Tony Jones and the other members of the one percent were not amused.  Get used to it Tony. This is what democracy looks like.

For once Tony Jones didn’t get to hijack Q&A. If the choice is between ruling class war mongers, between warriors on workers, students and the poor and protesting students, give me the protesting students any day.

At last someone has interrupted the cosy little tea and biscuits discussions of the ruling class and its hangers on and shouted to the world ‘enough is enough.’

It is a lesson all those under attack could learn.  Do not surrender. Fight back.

Let’s hope this is just the beginning and that people across Australia are inspired by this display of direct democracy and begin organising their own protests and link up with others under attack.

The forthcoming marches in May across Australia and the student organised campus demonstrations in the days and weeks after the Budget attacks on higher education next week are just two activities people angry with the Abbott government can participate in. (If readers can provide links to those events across Australia I can put them in here.)

But there is more to it than that.  Cometh the hour, cometh the organisation.

The bankruptcy of Labor and the parliamentary game playing of the Greens and the inadequacy of both in resisting Abbott’s attacks have opened up a little bit of a space for the revolutionary left.  Let’s hope the Q&A protest has levered that space wider.

We need not just demonstrations. We need strikes to stop Abbott and co and put the frighteners on Labor.

We also need political organisation that expresses the anger, that understands the system that produces the attacks on workers and the poor and helps organise the real fightback on the streets and in the workplace.

To find out more about Socialist Alternative visit the website of their newspaper, Red Flag.

Forthcoming mass protests


March in May 

13:00 18 May Belmore Park Hay St Sydney

Emergency rally against University cuts and fee hikes 

21 May at 14.30 UTS Tower Building


Say no to fee increases and the US education model

21 May at 14:00 State Library of Victoria

Like all posts on this blog comments close – hit the link under the heading – close after 7 days.





Pingback from That Q&A protest – this is what democracy looks like | OzHouse
Time May 6, 2014 at 3:11 am

[…] May 05 2014 by admin […]

Comment from Jessica
Time May 6, 2014 at 8:18 am

Great blog post. To hear TJ say this is not what democracy is about was the worst possible thing the host of a ‘democracy’ show with the ABC could say. Correction TJ, it’s exactly what democracy is about.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time May 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

I agree with most of this, John, but in the general scheme of things, a good education for Australian students does not go hand in hand with taking away our nation’s ability to defend itself.

We need:

Good Education + Good Defence to maintain our national independence.

The UN Educational model is for a rise in educational standards in the third world, and a decline in the western nations, which has already been in progress for at least 2 or 3 decades.

The UN Defence model is to train the soldiers of every nation to attack dissenters amongst their own people i.e. anyone opposing the UN model.

I believe the UN is currently at work in Russia and the Ukraine, the first steps in redeveloping the USSR and forming another economic union comprising that area plus possibly nations of the Middle East.

Comment from Colin
Time May 6, 2014 at 10:40 am

If the protester’s behaviour offends people, watch parliament question time.

Comment from Kay
Time May 6, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Well, I think SA just made fools of themselves on Q&A. It just confirmed what most people think of uni students – spoilt brats, who do not understand that their opportunity for higher education is largely funded by the taxpayer, a large proportion of whom never that that opportunity themselves. All I picked up was a raucous, very impolite lack of willingness to allow the panelists to answer questions the audience posed. Not a good look for so-called “educated” people. Uni students have nothing to complain about – their education is partly free, and they don’t have to pay their HECS debt until they have a good wage, a wage level they would not have were it not for the generosity of the ordinary, often lower-income taxpayer. Many go overseas and never repay their debts. We’ll see if there is any unreasonable change to these policies come Budget night. Even if the proportion of fees paid by the taxpayer is reduced, big deal! Young people today seem to have a mentality of entitlement, and a lack of motivation to work hard for their own futures.

Comment from Anamele
Time May 6, 2014 at 5:44 pm

It is a great relief, although not really surprising, that you have acknowledged that you and those students represent the 1%. Don’t confuse democracy with mob rule.

Comment from Ross
Time May 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm

Even our conservative EX- PM Malcolm Fraser can see the dangers if US/British imperialism and the austerity measures being brought in to pay for the war machine.

Perhaps people are finally waking up. Q&A is so orchestrated and all questions are vetted. Bring on the student protests but may they also see the bigger picture.

Comment from John
Time May 6, 2014 at 9:18 pm

The Sydney Morning Herald poll on this has got tens of thousands of votes, with 55% in favour of the protest. It clealry has major support.

Comment from John
Time May 6, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Ha Anamele! In your dreams. Suddenly the voiceless find a voice and the one percent go all huffy.

Comment from MacGregor Scott
Time May 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Hard to fathom the attitude of the right when their own newspaper runs a poll that supports the students. It seems incredulous that people would label these protesters as rabble and bludgers and write them off so blithely. How can someone who is prepared to risk jail time by interrupting a tv show to voice their legitimate concerns, be considered ‘unmotivated’? How can reducing the gene pool from which we draw the future leaders of our country from be anything but a socially and intellectually retarded scheme? How can forcing students into poverty the moment they get a job be anything but encouraging slavery? The Commission of Audit says these students should pay their debt off when they are receiving $25,000 p/y. Put your hand up if you agree that is a ‘good wage’. $25,000 minus Hecs debt repayment is WAY below the poverty line in Australia. The suggestion that this demonstration somehow proves that uni students are spoilt brats is appallingly simplistic nonsense. Complaining on behalf of all the people that have not gone to uni on one hand and then defending the imposition of higher fees on those that can least afford it is utterly hypocritical. Saying that young people who are ALREADY at uni, (many of whom have payed jobs), are not motivated is nonsensical. What? They aren’t doing enough to impress who? When watching a staged tv show on education policy, one should not be surprised or judgemental when some actual students turn up and want to be heard FOR A CHANGE. The comment above comparing the despicable behaviour of the so called ‘responsible adults’ making education policy act is succinct imo. Who would dare call out these unheard voices while that disgraceful show is running the country? Christopher Pyne Abbot and Co. are the epitome of the ‘spoilt brat’. The photo of Pyne sticking his tongue out at the Speaker comes to mind. ‘the adults are in charge’; rubbish

Comment from Lorikeet
Time May 8, 2014 at 10:33 am

I saw the re-run of Q&A. Sure, some of the students seemed a bit aggressive and rude, but I think they definitely needed to speak out against government decisions which advantage the rich over the poor, and which follow the undemocratic USA model.

I would also dispute that the students who so bravely spoke out came from the spoilt brat brigade. I’d say they were poor to average students who definitely deserved an equal chance of academic and career success.

I think Christopher Pyne turns most people off, including a large number of Coalition voters.

The government also needs to address the issue of expecting students to pay high fees for tertiary education, when there are no jobs available at the end of their courses.

Australian universities are turning out large numbers of teachers for whom there are no jobs. Those who manage to get some part-time work in a high school for example, have to be there all day but only get paid for the number of hours taught.

Recently Senator John Madigan got up in the parliament and loudly objected to corporates using foreign Accountants instead of employing Australians.

If university graduates can’t get any work, any money spent by the government is wasted, and a HECS debt remains to be paid. Methinks the Abbott government wants to squeeze the money out of the students regardless of their ability to repay the debt.

They want to turn our universities in money making machines, instead of providing excellence in Education, NOT TO MENTION ACTUAL JOBS FOR AUSTRALIANS.

Comment from Kay
Time May 9, 2014 at 8:02 am


No problem with people voicing their concerns. There was a forum precisely for that to occur. But the disruptive, raucous behaviour displayed by some was juvenile and counter-productive. And the threshold for repaying a HECS debt is currently $53K – not $25K. It is deceptive to suggest that the Commission of Audit recommendations are government policy. We know how many recommendations of the Henry Review were actually implemented – just as an example!

Comment from Ross
Time May 9, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Lorikeet you are spot on. The way forward is a new Govt bank. If we can create all our money for growth + inflation of $90 billion pa + interest, we can pay down the debt and give everyone free education.

This present system of debt slavery is total bullshit that is all designed to empower an elite few.

Total turnover of all financial transactions including our toxic derivatives is $130 trillion. Just a small tax will raise more than enough revenue for all. The GST is a tax on the worker.

Comment from Kay
Time May 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm


Re comments on another blog site re unsuccessful dating: I think you and Ross would get on really well! Is he single by any chance (Ross to answer that question, I guess)? He probably doesn’t live in Brisbane, though.

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