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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)



Labor green with envy over Whitlam

The Australian Labor Party and the Greens, two parties of neoliberalism, are fighting over the legacy of Gough Whitlam.

Whitlam’s 1975 Budget, under Treasurer Bill Hayden, was the first attempt at introducing neoliberalism in Australia. So bad was it that the Fraser coup government kept the rotten Hayden budget.

This is what started the cat fight among the political kissing cousins.


The response from some Labor caucus members was to accuse the Greens of being grave diggers.  Anthony Albanese spent much of one interview condemning the Greens for using the photo of Whitlam. He was always a Labor man, Albanese thundered, and to worship graven images and false idols was a heinous political sin.

No doubt, and like all good Labor men and women his main role was to manage capitalism. So although the Party has changed markedly over the last 45 years, the desire to manage capitalism remains at its core. That means the party has changed over time, but that there is continuity in that change.  As I have argued elsewhere it has moved from being a capitalist workers’ party to a CAPITALIST workers’ party, perhaps on the way to becoming a CAPITALIST party.

Whitlam’s task was top modernise Australian capitalism. A fit and educated workforce was a key to that, and for a short time the needs of capital coincided with the demands of an active working class many members of which struck in 1974 for better wages. strike rates then were up to 100 times higher than now.

That short time disappeared as the post war boom collapsed on the back of falling profit rates across the globe. Anticipating Hawke and Keating, Hayden and Whitlam implemented an austerity budget in 1975 in response to the economic crisis gripping the world and Australia.  Whitlam, like Hawke and Keating to come, remained loyal to the central Labor goal of managing capitalism.

However, the Greens do have a point. Whitlam did abolish university fees from 1974 (and I was one of the beneficiaries in my third year at University). The Hawke Labor government under education minister John  Dawkins abolished fee free higher education in 1989.

Whitlam, under pressure from his working class base, ahd set up a universal health care scheme. It was Hawke Labor who first introduced a GP co-payment in 1991, initially announced as $3.50 per GP visit, watered down to $2.50 and coupled with a similar cut to the bulk billing reimbursement rate. The change of leadership saw Keating ditch this unpopular measure in March 1992 after it had been in place for 3 months.

In other words, Whitlam was a man for his times, a right wing Labor party leader forced by pressure from below and by inaction by conservatives over their 23 years in power to introduce some reforms which benefitted workers.  However he came to power at precisely the time the global crisis of profitability was hitting Australia and the social surplus out of which reforms could be paid for was drying up.  His response was the austerity Budget of 1975.

If Labor hacks like Albanese were serious about reclaiming Whitlam’s legacy they’d abolish university fees and loans, make universal health care a reality, oppose the war in Iraq, abolish the gender pay gap, legalise same sex marriage and take visionary action to address climate change. They’d welcome refugees, stop the Northern Territory Intervention and basics card, announce a royal commission into deaths in custody and begin negotiations with Aboriginal peoples to recognise sovereignty and pay the rent. They’d abolish restrictions on unions and the right to trike. That is just for starters.

The crocodile tears from these Labor Party hypocrites is cover for their neoliberalism. In honouring Whitlam they dishonour the reforms working people forced Gough to introduce.



Comment from Kay
Time October 24, 2014 at 8:56 am

The Greens are desperate, having lost the power they had over Labor during the Gillard reign. They are even prepared to steal to get some attention.

In my view, this article by Bob Carr is an excellent discussion of Whitlam:

Comment from Dorothy
Time October 24, 2014 at 4:35 pm

If you are serious about a not-for profit education model (which is the opposite of the USA plutocratic paradigm), then if it is not too much trouble could you sign my petition, making sure that Bill Shorten fights against exorbitant fees and cut backs to tertiary education. Here it is:

Thanks everyone. It’s a start.

Comment from Ross
Time October 25, 2014 at 5:09 pm

I was conscripted ready to go to Vietnam. Gough saved many young men from the horrors of this filthy war for profit.

The Kemlani Loans affair was all about Gough borrowing money from unauthorised sources other than the privately owned US Federal Reserve.

Gough and Rex Connor wanted to buy back our resources and energy for the people of Australia. Alas the British oligarchs had him sacked.

We could have been the most prosperous country on the planet,but greed and corruption of our ruling class has made the bulk of our society debt slaves to bankster corruption.

Comment from Kay
Time October 26, 2014 at 6:35 am


“Gough saved many young men from the horrors of this filthy war for profit.” I certainly applaud Gough for stopping conscription. However, I have always viewed the Vietnam War as an ideological war – part of the Cold War battle between communism and capitalism. The primary factor, as I saw it, was the Domino Theory.

The Domino Theory was the basis for the United States strategy of containment, and the reason for entering the Vietnam War. The national strategy of containment demanded the U.S. stop communist aggression into the countries of Southeast Asia. The Domino Theory basically stated if one new country went communist in Asia, then it would begin a chain reaction that would cause several more Southeast Asian countries becoming communist. The experience of massive Chinese Communist intervention in Korea created a restraining upper limit on the risks later administrations were willing to run in Southeast Asia.

Comment from Kay
Time October 26, 2014 at 6:41 am

Greg Sheridan has written an article critical of Whitlam, which puts a different perspective on Whitlam’s opposition to the Vietnam War.

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