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John Passant

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August 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

The Abbott government remains in stasis, unable as yet to pass the worst aspects of its Budget. Treasury analysis revealed that 98.9% of the Budget had already been implemented because Labor and the Greens passed the Appropriation Bills in the Senate but some big picture items like the GP co-payment require separate legislation to be implemented. They won’t pass the Senate unless the Government does a deal with a rag tag of minor parties and interest groups and the Palmer United Party. Not just one or two of them but all of them.

The government can’t even get mining billionaire Clive Palmer to agree to abolish the Minerals Resource Rent Tax because Abbott and Hocket have linked the abolition of the tax to the abolition of the funding measures it supported on the school kids bonus and government superannuation co-contribution of up to $500 for low income earners.

This stasis has seen Treasurer Joe Hockey expose himself as an arrogant rich berk and rotten neoliberal politician. Abbott isn’t much better. However putting a smooth talking snake-oil salesman (it would be a man if it happened) in charge of the current government won’t change the fact that the problem is the shit sandwich they are trying to sell, not the salesman.

It has also seen the Government switch to fear of terrorism vaudeville, which if it weren’t so serious would be laughable. Team Australia is an exclusive club for white Anglos, preferably Christian, who like footy, beer and meat pies. Good sorts are allowed in to this blokey paradise, but not Aborigines, non-whites, communists, dissenters, lefties, gays, or Muslims, and especially not women who think for themselves.

By creating and reinforcing the threat from the ‘other,’ that is those of us outside Team Australia, Abbott and co, like all previous governments, hope to bind the white Anglos to them and their capitalist system and divert attention from the very attacks the neoliberal politicians are launching on those self same white Anglos (and others) as workers or, like pensioners, the disabled and the sick, people in need.

In Iraq the Islamic State decapitated an American journalist. This barbaric act should be condemned. But ISIS was a creature of US foreign policy and actions. The barbarism of the Islamic State pales into insignificance compared to the US itself. From Hiroshima to carpet bombing Indo-China and on to the invasion of Iraq the US is directly responsible for the deaths of millions of innocent people. Its attack dog in the Middle East, Israel, has just resumed attacking Gaza and it killed 35 innocent people overnight, taking the total of Palestinian dead to more than 2000. Most of them are civilians. The rockets of the Palestinian resistance killed a four year old Israeli boy.

Obama continues to approve drone bombings that kill innocent women and children.

The Minister for torturing asylum seeker children, Scott Morrison, argued before the Human Rights Commission that detention centres were not jails. He is right. They are concentration camps.

The censorship of voices for Palestine is increasing. A media company in Melbourne took down a billboard with one quote from Nelson Mandela and one from Desmond Tutu because of numerous complaints about the billboard comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa. Let me repeat that. The powerful have censored a billboard with quotes from Mandela and Tutu. What better confirmation that Zionism is a form of apartheid?

Universities or groups within them have begun censoring pro-Palestinian groups. At the University of Western Australia, for example, according to a petition doing the rounds:

On 13 August, the UWA Socialist Alternative club received an email from the UWA Student Guild secretary informing them that their club privileges had been suspended, including the right to put up posters in Guild areas, access funding and hire Guild rooms to hold meetings.

The allegations justifying these measures are a mixture of right-wing opinion (“a student taking offence at the UWA Socialist Alternative Club’s t-shirts with ‘F*** Tony Abbott’ printed”), vague and unsubstantiated insinuation and blatant lies. They also include a complaint about a poster criticising Israel which was approved by the guild, and a complaint of “swearing” made eighteen months after the alleged incident. Such allegations would be thrown out by anything resembling a court, yet the UWA Socialist Alternative club has been judged guilty before a hearing has taken place.

To sign the petition in defence of free speech at UWA go to this link.

At ANU members of the ANU Jewish Students’ group in early March made accusations of anti-Semitism against members of Socialist Alternative.

The accusations would not hold water in any court. In March the Canberra Times of course sprayed news of a University investigation into the accusations of anti-Semitism against Socialist Alternative across its pages. Woroni, the student newspaper, on 11 March ran a disgraceful article about anti-Semitism at the ANU effectively convicting Socialist Alternative of the crimes making sure they could not receive a fair hearing. I merely note that the enquiry into the accusations has not made any comment or released any finding after 5 months of deliberations. Nor has as far as I know has the Canberra Times followed up the investigations nor commented about it. [Update: the Pro-Vice-Chancellor investigation the accusations found there was not the evidence to support them. Nothing in the Canberra Times as far as I could tell reporting this.]

The mud has stuck. These false accusations of anti-Semitism makes it even more difficult for pro-Palestinian activists to organise on campus. Indeed since the accusations first surfaced I have not willingly gone on to the campus.

There are other Universities where pro-Palestinian groups such as Socialist Alternative have been prevented from speaking out, or putting up posters, or setting up stalls. Meanwhile the genocide of Palestinians continues its 66 year progress.

In Sydney the Supreme Court effectively shut down a planned pro-Palestinian protest outside the Israeli Film Festival. Protesters gathered nearby faced with a strong police presence and then marched to the Theatre.

In Ferguson, Missouri, the killing of black teenager Michael Brown has exposed the racism and poverty infecting US society. The US ruing class that supports systemic segregation in Israel/Palestine supports systemic segregation at home. The riots of the oppressed in Ferguson deserve our support. Like Palestinians they are resiting an oppressive occupier.


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