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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)



Are the 400 job cuts at the ABC inevitable?

Mark Scott, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s managing director,  has announced job cuts of 400 staff, almost ten percent of staff. He has also announced cuts in particular to regional and rural services, local current affairs, some international bureau reorganisation women’s sport broadcasts and some TV programmes exploring politics.

I understand the job losses will be through sackings and non-renewal of contracts.

The leadership of the two main unions, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and the Community and Public Sector Union, have so far shown all the fighting spirit of wet lettuce leaves.

Job cuts last year at Fairfax were met with immediate walk offs, action which ameliorated some of the worst aspects of the cuts. Neither union has mentioned let alone called for strikes against the cuts. Neither have rank and file members in the ABC, as far as I know.

Strikes would of course be illegal under bourgeois law. It is time to break the law to defend the 400 jobs and save those remaining from even more overwork. It is time for the union movement to smash the restrictions on strikes. left wing unions where are you? You organised rolling strikes in 1969 to free Clarrie O’Shea from jail. Why not the same thing now, around an issue that will mobilise many in support?

It isn’t just the ABC. The Tax Office has got rid of about ten percent of its staff through VRs and non-renewal of contracts. It plans to get rid of another ten percent by 2017/18. The main beneficiaries of these cuts will be big business tax avoiders and rich tax evaders. Most of society seems unaware of or even unconcerned about this gutting of the ATO, a gutting Martin Lock, echoing some of what I have said before, exposes in Michael West’s recent article in The Canberra Times.

The CPSU was useless in defending tax office staff from the cuts. It won’t defend ABC staff (both those losing their jobs through non-renewal of contracts and those remaining who will have to do the extra work). The MEAA is  similarly weak.

Only staff organising independently of the leadership of the unions to strike until the government withdraws its cuts can win.




Comment from Lorikeet
Time November 25, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Yes, it is all very concerning.

Some of the commercial channels have also extended their news and current affairs coverage by 30 minutes in the evening, in order to discourage people from watching the ABC news at 7.00 p.m. The commercial channels also now have late afternoon editions.

I have also noticed a shift of popular Whodunnit type programs from the ABC to other networks.

I am not happy with the plan to get rid of 7.30 State programming and a reduction in political coverage. I consider the last to be of similar significance to John Howard reducing parliamentary sitting time to only 12 weeks per year.

“Keep people in the dark and then railroad them”

which is also happening in the Dept of Human Services, where there have also been significant job cuts.

Comment from Ross
Time November 25, 2014 at 6:11 pm

By the same token the Public Service should not be a sacred cow for employment security when people in private enterprise are made redundant with little benefits on a daily basis.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time November 26, 2014 at 9:22 am

Ross, as John has pointed out before, taxation officers bring in 50 times their income in tax being evaded.

I recently waited for an hour in the Dept of Human Services, trying to get a Medicare rebate. During this wait, I was subjected to one whole hour’s indoctrination on how I could save time by doing everything online. As we know online services reduce employment opportunities.

Some of the people waiting an hour were on their lunch breaks from work. Some left in disgust. We are all being deliberately railroaded onto online services.

When I was finally seen by Medicare staff, I noticed that around half of the terminals were not being manned (personed) at a busy peak time.

I was also disgusted to find that the system rejected my entitlement to a refund. I have since had to phone the service provider and go back to Medicare AGAIN. This time I made it known I had already waited ONE WHOLE HOUR in another of their offices, only for a stuff up to occur.

I was directed fairly quickly to a senior member of staff, but had to wait another half hour for her to phone the service provider and get some details.

She then filled out a Medicare form, another form to enable manual processing and attached it to the account.

By now I should have received my refund, but cannot check my bank statement because it still hasn’t arrived.

The Public Service has not been a sacred cow for employment security for quite some time.

Comment from Ross
Time November 26, 2014 at 7:26 pm

So lorikeet, we have tax being extracted from hard working Australian people to pay private banksters debt on money they created from nothing ? WTF are you too so brain dead that you accept this counterfeiting of our currencies as being the norm?

Our total private + public debt is now over $5 trillion and we have a GDP of $1.5 trillion ?

The debt can never be repaid unless we move back to Govt owned banks that can create new money debt free.

Comment from paul walter
Time November 27, 2014 at 7:24 am

Quite simply, it reached a stage where the plans of the likes of Citibank, Morgan and Gold Sack couldn’t advance at a fast rate while the accountability ensured by strong public broadcasting existed in a civil society.

The propensity to deteriorate from constructive innovation and human interaction, as per theoretical Smithian capitalism, to lazy coercive looting that marks deteriorating late capitalism means that Marx is again proved right in predicting the totalising and regressive tendencies of modern capitalism as feudalist tendencies take over.

Broadsheet journalism (without ever actually meaning to be) is the enemy of the DeMaistrean Reaction that is the true face of neo liberal globalisation.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time November 27, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Ross, how dare you ask if I am brain dead? To my knowledge, you and I agree on quite a lot of things. There are a lot of people engaging in income tax evasion in this country. The worst perpetrators are Big Business people.

I support the idea of a return to government owned banks. This is a policy of both the Democratic Labour Party and Katter’s Australian Party.

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