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John Passant

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November 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)



Strike to defend the ABC and SBS

In my view, the ABC is not ‘our’ ABC, nor is it ‘our beloved’ ABC. It certainly isn’t an ‘impartial’ ABC. It is up to its armpits in defending capitalism. Sometimes it questions aspects of capitalism, but more often it seems to be pushing a conservative agenda.

It was the ABC whose reporting gave John Howard the ammunition for the Northern Territory intervention, a racist action of the highest order aimed at further de-humanising indigenous people and driving them off their land.

I think Chomsky captures the spirit of this very well in this comment which has become a Facebook meme.


The ABC represents and presents that narrow spectrum in Australia, a spectrum best described as the battle between two versions of neoliberalism.  Nowhere is this more obvious than in Tony Jones’ dismissive reaction to the student protesters on Q&A and eventually cutting them off. We need more protesters and less Tony Jones on ‘our’ ABC.

On the evening before the election last year Abbott said there would be no cuts to the ABC or SBS (and none to health and education and no changes to pensions or the GST). Of course Abbott lied to us. And now his idiot front bench think the best way to get around this is to argue that these aren’t cuts, they are efficiency dividends. Do they really think we are that stupid? They are compounding the lie with another one and that will only make many Australians even angrier.

The real question is how can we defend the ABC and SBS, and in doing that break out of the neoliberal spectrum of of acceptable opinion. Waiting another 2 years to vote out these barbarians  allows them 22 more months to recreate Australia in their small minded, racist, sexist, profit before everything, let the market rule and the devil take the hindmost image.

There is deep community anger about this attack on the ABC  and SBS, and rightly so. The ABC provides services to many Australians that the for-profits would never consider. It is the backbone of many regional and rural communities, an important lifeline for them. SBS provides a level of international and non-anglo community reporting that helps enrich our nation and supports the communities of difference.

How then can we defend the ABC and SBS? How can we defend the jobs, the work-life balance of the remaining workers and the ability to deliver some quality programs from time to time instead of the shit dished up on the commercial channels?

There is only one way. The two main unions, the Media Arts and Entertainment Alliance and the Community and Public Sector Union have to call their members out on strike until the government backs down. The unions would have mass support if they did this. The ACTU and individual unions have  to pledge that if any action is taken against these ‘illegal’ strikes under bourgeois law then members in other unions will walk off the job.  This is the only way to stop Abbott and Turnbull, and in doing that we open up the possibility of a more democratic and popular ABC and SBS reflecting the views of a population which is far to the left of the major political parties on most issues.

In defending the ABC and SBS we have the chance to reclaim them.




Comment from Lorikeet
Time November 21, 2014 at 9:20 am

The answer to this is simple. Just get the new Common Sense Coalition to sink the boot into Abbott and raise a challenge to all of his pro-rich manoeuvres.

Television viewers could also boycott the commercial channels.

With a Queensland election looming, most of my political contacts intend to vote out Coalition politicians if they don’t immediately roll der Fuhrer and start exhibiting the courage of their true individual convictions.

Comment from Fred
Time November 21, 2014 at 11:15 am

Great idea. I’ll be striking from my average paying job to support Tony Jones’ $355,789 a year, Juanita Phillips $316,454, Leigh Sales $280,400, Quentin Dempster $291,505, Richard Glover $290,000, John Faine $300,000, Barry Cassidy $243,478, Vaginia Trioli $235,664.

Comment from Kay
Time November 22, 2014 at 6:00 am

At this point in time, the ABC is really only a taxpayer-funded lobby group for Labor and the Greens. Under Mark Scott, the ABC has abandoned its duty to produce a balanced commentary on news events. I gather that Mark Scott has even stated publicly that, under him, the ABC’s role would be to counter the perceived right-wing influence of that instrument of the Devil, the Murdoch press. An example of this bias is its coverage of the G-20. Very little, if any, coverage of economic outcomes – and it was actually an economic conference! Rather, an obsessive focus on trying to force interviewees to say that the conference was really all about climate change and that Abbott had made an idiot of himself. It just went on and on, all weekend!

As for producing quality shows, forget it. Just grab something, anything, as long as Stephen Fry is in it! Or fund the disgusting antics of The Chaser crew! I do watch ABC24 in the morning, but very little ABC after that. I used to watch the ABC as my default channel, but no longer. Now, my favourite evening viewing channel is SBS.

The best cost saving the ABC could achieve would be to get rid of Mark Scott. But that would require a huge payout of the residue of his second 5-year contract. He earns more than Tony Abbott.

I fully support ABC radio. It does display some left-wing bias, but that is balanced by the quality of the shows it produces, as well as the very important role it plays in the lives of regional and country listeners. I always listen to the ABC when I’m driving. I especially love ABC News Radio with its segments from the BBC, NPR and Radio Amsterdam, but all 3 ABC radio channels are good.

But ABC TV – a whole different story! And the overseas TV service of the ABC – another disaster!

Comment from Kay
Time November 22, 2014 at 1:06 pm

I think Mark Scott earns just under $800K p.a.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time November 26, 2014 at 9:32 am

Kay, I think the ABC tells us more than the commercial stations. How do shows such as “Insiders” push the views of only Labor/Greens?

Comment from Lorikeet
Time November 26, 2014 at 9:33 am

Everyone knows you are in love with right wing politics most of the time.

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