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John Passant

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September 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)



Australia’s adult government is one year old

Is it only a year ago that Tony Abbott’s Liberal and National Party Government came to power? It seems an eternity. How can we survive another 2 years?

Not to put too fine a point on it the adult government is one year old and spreading shit everywhere.

The election last year was a rejection of Labor and its neoliberal policies rather than an endorsement of the incoming Abbott government and its version of neoliberalism. That is why there was no honeymoon for this government after the election. The separation was almost immediate.

Is divorce inevitable? Not necessarily.

The Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has all the punch of a wet rag. More importantly Labor is trapped within the logic of neoliberalism.

Labor of course is opposed to the proposed $7 GP co-payment. In government in the 1991 Budget ALP Prime Minister Bob Hawke and his leftwing deputy Brian Howe announced a $3.50 co-payment to send a price signal to slow down the growth of health costs. Sound familiar to what the Liberals are saying today? The  left accepted a $2.50 co-payment to save Hawke.

The ACTU played its usual pathetic role. It wasn’t ‘convinced’  the co-payment would rein in ‘overservicing’. That is standing up to ’em, ACTU.

It was only when Keating replaced Hawke that the Labor government ditched the introduction of its GP co-payment.

Labor too is opposed to the Budget cuts to universities, the very same $2.3 billion of cuts it proposed last year when in government.

Labor supports the demonisation of asylum seekers and their incarceration in the concentration camps on Manus Island and Nauru. They ar Labor’s concentration camps.

Labor of course supports single parents too. That is why in government it drove 80000 single mums off the single parent payment into deeper poverty.

Labor has joined the Coalition of the trilling on Syria and Iraq and the Western warmongers in the imperialist battle over Ukraine.

The Abbott government is a continuation of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Labor governments just as an ALP government elected in 2016 will be a continuation of the Abbott government.

The real opposition to Abbott has been on the streets and from some sections of students.  But the demonstrations this month, although in their tens of thousands, were smaller than previous ones.

Each new government is a government of neoliberalism and of deeper and deeper neolberalism  in practice. Labor has the support of the trade union bureaucray in, arguably,  more successfully implementing neoliberalism while the Liberals have the support of most of the ruling class.

Shifting more wealth to capital from labour is the policy of both parties and, no matter who is in government, this will only intensify as the Great Recession in North America and Europe spreads into Asia.

What is missing is a working class response.  Not just marches, placards and angry speeches but actions that cut the flow of profit to the bosses, that is strikes. That won’t happen  under most of the current union leadership who are an impediment to successfully fighting Abbott.

Only rank and file members can build the fightback. If that doesn’t happen Abbott and co could win the election in 2016. Alternatively if that rank and file fightback doesn’t happen an Abbott like ALP could win government.

The attacks on the unemployed, the sick, the disabled, universities, the poor, poorly paid workers and public health and education are not going to disappear. They are driven by the needs of capital for more and more wealth to offset systemic falling profit rates.

There is no alternative to defeating the neoliberalism of Abbott and the neoliberalism of the Labor Party other than class struggle; massive, unified strikes.



Comment from angelo
Time September 8, 2014 at 8:34 am

I think it was George Carlin who said that democracy is the illusion of choice.

Comment from Mental Health First Aid
Time September 8, 2014 at 10:35 am

“What is missing is a working class response. Not just marches, placards and angry speeches but actions that cut the flow of profit to the bosses, that is strikes” – Totally agree with this point. And this should be followed by pressures from business bodies too.

Good luck!

Comment from paul walter
Time September 8, 2014 at 6:45 pm

And on that cheery note…

Comment from Lorikeet
Time September 9, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Yes, I agree with most of this, John.

But lately I have been thinking a bit more about the $7.00 co-payment. Overloading the government’s budget with excessive medical costs is a good way of enabling capitalists to take over the health and hospital system. Joe Hockey recently said he wanted to invest Australian superannuation into the Health system. This would create a situation where workers and service recipients would have to be very heavily financially screwed to satisfy shareholders.

In a bygone era, everyone paid their own medical bills. Humanitarian doctors charged a lower fee to those who were struggling financially, and the strain on the public purse was comparatively minimal.

When I was working for an orthopaedic specialist in 1978/79, a Medicare rebate (then known as Medibank) put more surgical work into the private sector. Then it was withdrawn again for a time. With Medibank in place, we were flat out like lizards drinking. Without it, we twiddled our thumbs.

If Joe Hockey brings in a co-payment and also invests Australian superannuation into Health and Hospitals (already happening in Aged Care), the poor and the average will be paying through the nose, while the rich profit. I think it will be a double-dip into the pockets of ordinary people.

I’m not sure I fully understand the concept of “systemic falling profit rates”.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time September 10, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I have noticed that lots of banks and other large corporations are still posting record profits.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time September 10, 2014 at 3:32 pm

I’m wondering if anyone saw Scott Morrison at the National Press Club today. He said 457 visa holders created employment for Australians, when in actual fact, they take lots of jobs which could be done by Australians, creating a comparatively small number of jobs and dramatically increasing the number of people applying for welfare payments. I am sick of this manipulative bastard lying to everyone.

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