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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)



Saturday’s socialist speak out

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and Treasurer Joe Hockey enjoy cigars outside Parliament House in Canberra.


The Budget was a shocker. It was a vicious ruling class Budget to hit workers with job losses, higher taxes, less public services and higher living costs.

It undermines the (half baked in Australia) reality of a universal healthcare scheme.

It further commodifies higher education.

Despite a slight but temporary increase in income tax for those earning over $180,000 (a temporary 2% levy which actually makes it even more worthwhile for the rich to negatively gear or shift more money into superannuation) the Budget shifts the burden of taxation onto workers through fuel excise indexation and the consequent increase in the price of necessities.

By cutting $80 billion from health and education destined for the States and Territories, it forces them to look for ways to fund these activities through new taxes or increasing old ones like the GST and broadening its base.

It is workers and the poor who will suffer from this Budget’s attacks on social services like unemployment benefits, Family benefit B, pensions, Disability Support Pensions. On and on the list goes of those targetted for cuts by this government.

Indigenous Australians, the poorest sector of our society, with life expectancy more ten years below the rest of us, have had $800 million cut from their services.

Tony Abbott immediately after the Budget


There is hope. The march in May demonstrations this week provide a focus for our anger. So too does the Victorian Trades Hall Council decision, under pressure from rank and file members, to have an all union members’ meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the movement’s response.

Rank and file workers in other States and Territories need to be pressuring their trade union councils to do the same thing. Our slogan could be something like ‘Stop work to stop the bosses’ budget.’

That might then give Labor and the Greens the backbone and absolutely necessary support to deny the passage of the Budget (or the especially rotten parts of it) through the Senate.

Let’s be clear. The politics should flow from mass mobilisations and mass actions. We should be out on strike and in the streets demanding the end of this Government and forcing Labor and the Greens to defeat the Budget. We should not go back until we have won both the end of the Abbott government’s attacks on us but also a revitalised Labor government putting people before profit, not the neoliberal shambles it currently is. The only way to win that is through our own mass actions, our strikes and our demonstrations.

We don’t want a Labor government that sends single mothers deeper into poverty; that blackbirds asylum seekers offshore; that attacks higher education; that re-introduces the Hawke Labor government’s co-payment on going to the doctor or some variant of it to undermine or cut Medicare; that cuts wages and vilifies and attacks unions; that sacks public servants through ‘efficiency’ dividends; that cuts taxes on the rich and capital; that extends the pension age to 67; that outlaws strikes.

The anger against this Budget is palpable among many workers. The struggle against the Abbott government offers the revolutionary left the opportunity to relate to many workers on matters that immediately affect their lives and livelihoods, to make the case for strikes and demonstrations to change the world now and into the future.

The anger among workers offers the opportunity to spread the struggle against Abbott’s version of neoliberalism to a struggle against the ALP’s version of neoliberalism as well and to raise wider questions about capitalism and the need for, and how to win, a socialist society.

The march in May in a number of capital cities this Sunday is a good first start.

Photo: SHARE – LIKE – MAKE THIS GO VIRAL! Adelaide: Sydney: Melbourne: Perth:


The response of University students has been magnificent, with noisy demonstrations greeting conservative politicians wherever they go. Here is one welcome recently for the Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop.  There will be demonstrations on many campuses across Australia on or around Wednesday 21 May.

The Minister for Education, Pyne the Grub, has crawled out from under his rock to say Bishop was assaulted. I call bullshit.   And no doubt any ‘investigation’ will proceed at the same pace as those into the murder of asylum seeker Reza Berati. He was murdered 13 weeks ago on Manus Island. Still no closer to finding the murderers, despite media clearly identifying the PNG and guard groups responsible for the mayhem. 

The Abbott government has also jumped into bed with the war criminals who run Sri Lanka, and the murderer of Muslims who has just been elected Prime Minister of India.  Now that is real violence.

Chris Bowen, the former Minister for attacking refugees and current Labor Party shadow Treasurer, has dissociated the Labor Party from the ‘violent’ protests. It says much about the degeneration of the ALP that they side with Pyne the Grub and mislabel peaceful but rowdy protests. Loud and angry protests against the people who are destroying the lives of millions of Australians are not violent. We can’t rely on Labor to defend us.

Let’s put our class interests back on the agenda. Stop work to stop the bosses’ Budget. Together we can win.

In India the anti-Muslim BJP has won the Indian elections overwhelmingly.  based on the previous track record of the new Prime Minister, Modi when he ran Gujarat, there will be bloody attacks on Muslims at some stage in India orchestrated by the BJP,  probably when Modi fails to revitalise the economy with his neoliberalism.

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Comment from Ross
Time May 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Unless we move back to Govt owned banks, there will be no democracy. Monetary sovereignty gives us independence from Global Corporations. The USA has 900 military bases is 154 countries which does the bidding of our Corporate elites. hIs this not an empire ?

Another reason they want to privatise Universities is that dissent by an young and educated few has nearly always been initiated via Govt Universities.

If the Corporates have total control of education, dissention will mean failure or termination of your course.

Comment from Chris Warren
Time May 17, 2014 at 11:54 pm

While I support government banks, I do not think they will lead us to democracy. Government banks have in the past acted like capitalist banks as has Members Equity (ME Bank).

To get democracy you need banks that do not set interest rates above the rate of wages increase. This ensures that the share of production going to labour remains constant.

This can be achieved with cooperative banks, trade union banks, and community banks provided a suitable legal structure is created.

Banks are not the problem. Capitalism is the problem. Even under socialism, workers may still benefit if individual savings are pooled and invested in research and other useful purposes.

Comment from John
Time May 18, 2014 at 8:54 am

Chris, I agree that capitalism is the problem which means that socialism is solution and that involves the abolition of the wages system.

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