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John Passant

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October 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)



Amanda Vanstone: more expensive whines


Wake up Australia. Life is tough at the top – but top sorts aren’t being paid their due, writes Ben Hillier, tongue firmly in cheek, in Red Flag. The rich need a champion, not ever more detractors stoking class envy and making the nation uncomfortable.

That’s why Fairfax Media pays Amanda Vanstone, the former Liberal government cabinet minister, to initiate conversations about the big issues facing the country. “How often have you been told that the gap between rich and poor is growing, and directly or indirectly invited to believe that something is therefore radically wrong?” she asks in a comment piece recently. “Have you, like me, heard the stereotyping of the sons and daughters of wealthier people as ‘the cream’ – as in, rich and thick?”

Too right we have. And it’s the dairy industry and rural jobs in the end that suffer from such damaging metaphors. No question. It’s about time poor people had a good hard look at themselves and realised what contributing is all about. How will they learn? The best way is to do a stint as ambassador to Italy. “I’ve noticed Italians seem to understand how important it is to have a good life”, Vanstone related to News Corp journalist Joe Aston in Rome at the end of her appointment in 2010. “This is in contrast to what I see in Australia, which is much more materialistic.”

Straight talk 101 from the truth train, but is the country ready to listen? Unlikely. It’s too caught up with chatter about job insecurity, falling real wages, unpayable medical bills, child poverty and other distractions from la dolce vita. Get real Australia – if you want to live on a higher plane, get a nice deep breath of cost-free kumbaya into you. And grab a few bottles of turps to soak it up over brunch. “Vanstone rarely misses an opportunity to wheel out the homemade liqueurs”, noted Aston. “[L]imoncello … orangecello, mandarincello, and a feisty grappa.” Don’t forget the whine, Signor.

Vanstone knows that corrosive anti-socialite banter can become entrenched in the national psyche and lead to community dysfunction. In the Fairfax piece she rightly points out: “[T]he so-called rich get a pretty rough deal … What about stories of businesses evading their tax or treating workers badly?” Spot on – they’re just stories. You know what a synonym for story is? Tale. And a synonym for tale? Myth. Stop myth-making Australia. It only deprives future generations of a living.

Instead, get on your knees and bow to the generous and the humble: “The people you want to hate are the ones who help the people you want to help … [T]he private families and companies that are so generous … generally avoid grandiose publicity.” Blessed are the meek Australia. We know the rest of it only too well.



Comment from Lorikeet
Time October 14, 2014 at 9:55 am

Yes, good points. I can remember a time when Amanda Vanstone and Bronwyn Bishop were making attacks on the elderly, sole parents and children. That was during the Howard years.

I suggest also trying to sit through a speech made by Evonne Chapman (Nationals) on the virtues of Premier Campbell Newman slashing the jobs of government workers, and then trying to resist throwing up.

At a seminar, I asked Evonne if she could think of any job creation program to which Adolf Newman could redeploy unwanted public servants. I had to repeat the question several times before receiving the short answer: “No”.

Comment from Fred
Time October 14, 2014 at 1:25 pm

The quickest way to reduce the gap between rich and poor would be to cut public sector wages.

The overpaid ABC presenters would be a good place to start.

Comment from paul walter
Time October 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Classical eastern subs green’leafies “opinionated”guff from a true heiress of the Great Wakefieldian/Dickensian Adelaide tradition.

Vanstone consolidates her reputation as one of the most facile and superficial figures to have emerged onto the nationl political stage from this ancient bosom and old redoubt of Empire.

It should be revealing that Vanstone is of the same faction as Christopher Pyne.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time October 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

I don’t know anyone who likes Christopher Pyne, not even Coalition supporters. Even Annabel Crabbe would only cook him pasta and tomatoes when he was on her show.

Fred, most public servants are low to middle income earners. The ABC has already had its budget slashed to further empower the Murdoch Press. Your ideas support corporate neo-communism.

Comment from Kay
Time October 18, 2014 at 7:36 am

Mark Scott gets paid more than Abbott and Shorten combined. The ABC hides the salary details of its best known presenters. The ABC’s budget is more than $1B, and it received a further $75M from Labour just before it lost office. The ABC has been spared all past budget cuts given to all other public service agencies. I’d like to see Mark Scott get the flick, but he is in his second 5-year term to 2016, so the contract payout would be considerable.

Other media outlets have their budgets governed by the income they can earn, mainly via advertising revenue. In that regard, ratings determine where advertisers wish to place their adverts. Channel 7, for example, recently had to cut $75M from its ‘back room’ operations in response to falling ratings. The ABC is exempt from such pressures – its funding continues regardless, courtesy of the taxpayer.

An independent review of the ABC identified significant savings that could easily be made by making the ‘back room’ operations more efficient. But, instead, Mark Scott announces the possible axing of popular programs like ‘Peppa Pig’ and ‘Lateline’. Talk about playing politics!

Comment from Kay
Time October 18, 2014 at 10:21 am

Correction: “Channel 7, for example, recently had to cut $75M from its ‘back room’ operations in response to falling ratings.” That should read $46M! I clearly had the figure of $75M stuck in my brain! Apologies.

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