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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/18-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-g20-meeting-age-of-enttilement-engineers-attack-of-austerity-hardship-on-civilians.mp3 (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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2014/02/11/john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-2/ (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. http://sharonfirebrace.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/4-2-14-john-passant-aust-national-university-canberra-end-of-the-age-of-entitlement-for-the-needy-but-pandering-to-the-lusts-of-the-greedy.mp3 (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
(0)

Sick kids and paying upfront

(0)

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. http://sharonfirebrace.com/2013/12/03/john-passant-australian-national-university-8/ (0)

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Abbott might be a buffoon but he is their buffoon

 

I wrote an article about Abbott back in August 2012. Recent events seem to confirm my analysis. Here is a snippet.

The bosses will welcome an Abbott victory. Buffoons can make good leaders for them, as Ronald Reagan and George W Bush showed in the US context.

But Abbott’s instability, his thought bubble approach to policy, his climate denialist base within the extreme right of the Liberal Party and the looming economic crisis in Australia all make for a possible tumultuous period of rule for the leader of the Opposition and his by and large unremarkable front bench if they win, as they will, the next election.

The key will be class struggle. How much longer can Australian workers not fight?

To see the whole article hit this link.

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Comments

Comment from Kay
Time January 31, 2015 at 8:24 am

Well, I must admit – you did get it right – except for the anachronistic “class struggle” bit.

As a Lib supporter, I was not really enamoured of the perpetually unpopular Abbott, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and hoped he would grow into the PM job – as John Howard did. I always disliked his ultra-religious bent (as I am an atheist, and fervently believe in the separation of Church and State), and his Menzies-like love of the monarchy. I had hoped he would keep his personal views separate from his government decisions.

But, alas, first of all he re-instated school chaplains (I wrote to him violently objecting to this move), then, horror of horrors, he re-instated knighthoods (once again I wrote expressing my horror at this antiquated decision that even the very conservative John Howard objected to)! At that point I had more or less decided Abbott had to go – and the faster, the better!

But, come Australia Day, I became apoplectic at the political stupidity of his latest self-indulgent ‘captain’s pick’!! I mean, is he really a Labor fifth-columnist? (Lorikeet would probably agree with this conspiracy-theory suggestion). No, I think Abbott is just plain stupid and stubborn, and is totally out of touch with the electorate. Not PM material!

As far as I can see, this will be a one-term government – unless Abbott is replaced soon with someone a little more sensible – someone who doesn’t make me cringe every time I see him on TV. I guess I favour Julie Bishop. I would hate to see Shorten get a dream run into the Lodge – courtesy of the Liberal Party being too gutless to tap him on the shoulder and move him aside. I do want the nation’s debt to be clawed back, but by more reasonable methods than those proposed in the very mean and unintelligent 2014 Budget.

Comment from Ross
Time January 31, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Kay ,Julie Bishop has no answers.http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=14866
Here you see Julie Bishop demonising China while at the same time ignoring the crimes in the West. We do not need war with China or Russia .Our Western Oligarchs want war to supress we the people because they know their money printing will bring about a total economic collapse. They will blame Russia and China for their own corrupt ,wilful demise of our economies.
http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=1486

Comment from Kay
Time February 1, 2015 at 7:19 am

Ross

I’m not sure what this very old link to Julie Bishop’s comments about China is supposed to prove. It is all very factual, and since then the Abbott government has signed a FTA with China – hardly the act of a government wishing to demonise China!!

It has long been known that China has invested heavily in Africa. So what? Big deal! It is also in dispute with Vietnam over territory.

A much more concerning development for Europe is Russia’s recent push to regain territory ceded to Ukraine decades ago. Putin’s actions are very concerning, especially as he says one thing, then goes ahead and does the opposite. Fortunately, Putin’s actions have adversely affected Russia’s economy, so perhaps that might make him think twice about any further military incursions. But that is a worry for Europe, not Australia.

Comment from Kay
Time February 1, 2015 at 8:00 am

Well, my emails to the Liberal Party were on the money! Abbott has managed to destroy another State government! Look out, Mike Baird, banning Tony Abbott from the NSW campaign will not save you! Abbott will come up with some utterly stupid and poorly timed announcement to nobble Mike Baird as well!

Actually, although Campbell Newman’s rather arrogant demeanour put many people off, in my view his government was well on track to get Qld back on track economically. Laurence Springboard has done a great job in only three years to completely turn around the previously appalling hospital waiting lists. The performance of Qld schools has improved significantly over the past three years. And the return of all Gold Coast LNP sitting members shows how popular the anti-bikie laws have been down there (where bikie crime and internecine disputes had increased crime rates, often involving innocent bystanders). Sure, there have been controversies, but all in all, things were improving.

It is amazing how the people have completely forgotten how toxic the Beattie/Bligh governments had become. Maybe because Abbott, and even Campbell Newman himself, have become even more toxic!

I think the Palaszczuk government will struggle to improve Qld’s economy in the face of falling commodity prices – coal and, to a lesser extent, minerals, are the backbone of the Qld economy. It will probably just start borrowing money again – the fall-back of all Labor governments – thus increasing the revenue required just to pay the interest bill!

For the sake of the federal debt’s interest bill, I hope Abbott sees the writing on the wall and stands down in favour of a more popular (less toxic) PM! Sadly, after Abbott’s laughable statement that his government’s few successes were due to the fact that he was a “very good captain”, it is unlikely that he will have any clue that he needs to hand over the PM role to someone else! And he didn’t even look embarrassed as he said it! I mean, how utterly deluded can anyone get???

Actual asset sales finally killed off the Bligh government, and Labor’s very effective campaign against the LNP’s plan to start leasing assets, just like the Victorian Labor government is now doing, has delivered victory to Labor. A very strong and focused campaign by Labor and the unions has given Labor power back again. Let’s see how competent this government proves to be. The 2018 Qld election will be interesting!

Comment from Ross
Time February 1, 2015 at 9:32 am

I will not be voting for any of them Kay. I made the mistake of voting for Clive Palmer last election.

They are all owned by Central Bankers that have Greece in the mess it is today .Ellen Brown here will explain how Greece was given a bail out via credit default swaps. These are highly leveraged bets and Greece’s debt soon blossomed out of control. outhttp://www.globalresearch.ca/how-greece-could-take-down-wall-street/29411

Our whole economic system because of these bets called derivatives expanded by money printing has the whole Western system on the brink of collapse. Nothing like these conditions has ever before existed in our history. Both the EU and Japan have been told to print money to prop up the US $.Their big hope was a new global currency via the IMF but Russia and China have challenged this plan with their BRICS Development Bank. This is the main reason for aggression against Russia and China.

At the last G20 meeting the Coalition voted for “Bail in” which means when our banks go buts they can convert your deposits into their worthless shares. Derivatives like Credit Default Swaps must be honoured first and share holders come next while depositors come last and are defined as unsecured lenders to the banks.

Our bank’s exposure to derivatives do not appear on their balance sheets. The Commonwealth Bank stopped reporting their exposure in 2012.Why ? The value of their derivative exposure is at least 6 times their assets. Their assets are our over valued mortgages. Banks can make far more money gambling in derivatives than loaning money to small businesses. They have to blow the property bubble bigger so their assets grow ,thus they can borrow more from the Central Banks to buy more derivatives.

JP Morgan, Citi Bank and the HSBC have major shareholdings (up to 40%.) in all our banks and these banks have huge exposure to derivatives.

Are you beginning to see Kay the almighty mess we are in ?

Comment from Chris Warren
Time February 1, 2015 at 11:46 am

Typical Kay

Trying to blame Newman receiving his just deserts on Tony Abbott.

The Liberals were thrown out based on their lies and policies. The ALP was earlier thrown out for exactly the same reason.

The ALP had enough sense to notice it – and respond. I hope that the Liberals and Kay do not.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

I think the LNP in Queensland shot itself in the foot. By not replacing Premier Campbell Newman, it made a much bigger hole. Then along came Tony Abbott in the last 2 weeks of the election campaign and shot the LNP in the other foot.

Someone outside of the Coalition is clearly calling the shots, and telling them to aim their guns at their own people. No doubt this is in order to give the next federal Labor government a clear run with Labor Premiers onside. Bye bye, federal Coalition.

At the beginning of the campaign, I thought the LNP would retain government but lose Ashgrove to Kate Jones (bye bye, Campbell Newman). By the middle of last week, I thought Labor would form government with minor parties and independents from the cross bench.

The only slight shock was the small number of people who will sit on the cross benches. I bet Greens are licking their wounds today, having improved their vote but only empowering Labor candidates.

Instead of doing the right thing and abolishing VLAD legislation, Labor will take a whole year to conduct an expensive Royal Commission before amending the laws.

I still think Labor will sell the state’s assets, as it was their idea originally. Once in power, they have 3 years to do whatever they like, with only a couple of good people on the cross benches to stop both of the major parties from screwing us, since many of their agendas are the same.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 1, 2015 at 1:24 pm

Tony Abbott is not deluded. He is simply one of the pawns of a higher power, and I don’t think it is the Monarchy. He is not a bit embarrassed because he is simply doing as he is told. As I said prior to the 2013 federal election, a “one term wonder” for the Coalition is being deliberately orchestrated.

It’s a pity that Kay supports undemocratic laws. I wonder if she has actually read the VLAD Bill before praising Queensland LNP fascists for driving the problem with criminal bikies interstate, while leaving the rest of us stuck with an attack on democracy which it seems will not be quickly fixed by Labor.

I’m not sure what is meant by a Labor 5th Columnist. No matter what Kay did not agree with, she would simply throw caution to the wind and label it a Conspiracy Theory… anything to protect her precious Coalition from appropriate scrutiny.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 1, 2015 at 1:25 pm

Ross, what do you suggest is the best option for financial investment?

Comment from Kay
Time February 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm

Ross

Yes, the whole global financial system is pretty scary. But there are also many vested interests who don’t want it all to collapse. But there will always be boom and bust times. Most of us just try to keep positive and try to survive the bust times – like the GFC. Probably better to live in Australia than a lot of other countries. At least we won’t freeze to death – at least not here in Qld.

Comment from Mikes2014
Time February 1, 2015 at 11:03 pm

Kay you may be interested in this letter I sent to Malcolm Turnbull yesterday. Personally, I think he is our best hope if he will only grasp a true reform agenda instead of this stupid, dumb IPA/Tea Party inspired nonsense that Abbott and much of his mediocre cabinet espouse.

“Dear Malcolm,

I’m sure you are getting a lot of advice from a lot of people, but can I put my two bob’s worth with a plea that when you become PM that you return your government to a economically rational reform agenda and throw out this stupid IPA inspired ideology.

Tony Abbott has pursued an ideological agenda which has demonstrated ideas far to the right of the Australian mainstream, and seems to wish to change this society which has been regarded internationally as the most progressive, economically advanced, socially inclusive, racially tolerant, business friendly in the world, brought about by successive moderate, modern, economically rational public policy by most state and federal governments. Having said that though, there is now an urgent need for this to continue if we are to continue to progress, and modernise, but not through an ideological prism which Abbott pursues.

Let me list a set of actions which demonstrate a real and effective commitment to rational reform, while at the same time restores budgetary balance over time:

1. Commit to creating a budget surplus over the economic cycle, but recognise the ideologically driven last budget which attacked the poor and underprivileged was not only very unfair but stupid economically, and but did little to repair the budget. Here is a list of actions which could and should be taken to restore the budget balance more fairly and rationally:

a. Having abolished the carbon tax, now withdraw all the subsidies which accompanied it in terms of compensation. Then work with the U.S., China and the EU to introduce a carbon trading system. Then abolish the ridiculous Direct Action program. Estimated effect on budget bottom line +$5 billion

b. Introduce a restructured mining tax along the lines laid out in the Henry review, but do it with the cooperation of the industry in much the same way Keating and Hawke introduced the oil and gas tax. Estimated effect on budget bottom line +$4.0 billion

c. Reintroduce indexation of fuel tax which John Howard so foolishly abolished in 2001. This is a good time to do this too with the international price for oil so low. Estimated effect on the budget bottom line +$7 billion

d. Abolish all diesel subsidies for mining and Agribusiness. Estimated effect on budget bottom line +$9billion.

e. Reform Superannuation entitlements to the rich. Effect on budget bottom line +$15.0 billion

Commit to a less ideological political stance and follow one that is more mainstream and economically rational, and attack real reforms like:

– rationalising government duplication at the federal level, and between federal, state and local governments;

– getting rid of government rules which entrench monopolies and engender inefficiencies eg allow pharmacies to open anywhere including in major chain stores,

– dismantling monopolies in the media which is currently a closed shop entrenched via government regulation;

– accelerate the roll out of the NBN to help dismantle those monopolies;

– merge government back and front-office services across a variety of retail government outlets at both state and federal levels and migrate as many as possible online particularly as the NBN is rolled out and extend many of them to video conferencing;

– reversing monopolies in airports in such areas as parking and transport;

– get serious about reforming federal/state relations by forcing the states to harmonise regulation across most area of common activities by threatening the cutting off of federal funds if the don’t comply;

– force the states to vote to increase the GST and to cover all goods including food to fund urgently needed infrastructure and the health system (including extending Medicare to dental, disabilities and mental health, and to fund hospitals);

– remove remaining restrictions on the national water market, and restore the reforms previously under way in the Murray-Darling basin which Abbott so recklessly abandoned;

– abolish paid for television and radio advertising of less than 15 minute ads during federal and state elections and instead replace it with 15 minute and 30 minute slots for major parties paid for by the government in proportion to the last election’s vote in much the same way as Britain does today;

– substantially increase the deposit parties need to pay to get on the senate electoral ticket and require them to collect at least 250000 signatures before they are allowed to field candidates;

– set up a working party to legalise marijuana and heroin, heavily regulate it (like tobacco) and have it treated as a medical issue in much the same way as alcohol and tobacco is, including collecting substantial taxes from them at the same rate as tobacco;

– address the housing supply shortage by removing local governments’ abilities to stymie property development with no specific framework,

– remove all restriction on infrastructure to include rail projects which Abbott so foolishly imposed as a sop to the fossil fuel lobby and

– urgently implement the national curriculum and the eHealth agendas.

There are no shortage of reform opportunities for the government to pursue which will both save substantial money and promote efficiencies across the board. Instead, the Abbott government seems intent on pursue an ideological agenda which dumbs down the population by starving the Arts boards, the ABC, the CSIRO, and universities of funds. It would be nice if your government committed to an intellectually excellent Australia instead of trying to dismantle many of the institutions which support it.

The strange part about it is that most of the reforms listed above, properly sold, would be supported by the majority of the population, but at the same time would lead to much more efficient outcomes, and a healthy budget surplus. It would be good for you politically, and great for a fairer, more efficient Australia, which after Tony Abbott’s disastrous time in office, is a positioning your government desperately needs to recapture if you are not going to be wiped out at the next election. Bill Shorten is not the answer for Australia, but even I would be inclined to vote for him if Abbott survives as would I suggest the vast majority of Australians. The guy is a national embarrassment. No a middle of the road, economically literate, reformist Turnbull government is by far the best option for us.

I urge you to act, and when you do, demonstrate early a reformist agenda, but one not inspired by the Tea Party, but by past reformists moderate governments like Hawke, Keating and Howard.

Sincerely”

Kay, there are alternatives to our current mess. Pity both parties seem incapable of recognising them and have the courage to implement them as policies

Comment from Kay
Time February 2, 2015 at 7:37 am

Mikes2014

Thanks for a copy of your letter to Malcolm Turnbull.

I too have written to Turnbull, urging him to once again take up the leadership. His stint as Opposition Leader was certainly less than stellar, and his support of Rudd’s ETS brought him undone, but I believe he would be a very good PM. He is moderate, little ‘l’ liberal, conservative re the economy but liberal on social issues – as I am. Quite different from Abbott whose combative style suited his role as Opposition Leader, but who has become a national embarrassment as PM.

I have also sent several emails to the Liberal Party urging them to ‘tap Abbott on the shoulder’ and get him to stand down, or declare the position open. Fat chance of that, I guess. Peta Credlin is married to Brian Loughnane, federal director of the Liberal Party. I have also written to Abbott, decrying many of his ridiculous decisions.

If Abbott remains in place, the 2016 election will be a repeat of Saturday’s Qld election, Abbott is even more toxic than Campbell Newman. Just listening to Nick Xenophon on TV – he is saying the same as me, and he is pretty politically cluey.

Anyway, I have no real problems with your letter. The only issue I would like to raise, being a self-funded retiree myself, is that superannuation should be supported by the government to a certain level. All superannuation experts agree that you need a MINIMUM of $600K for a comfortable retirement, given the life expectancies these days. So my suggestion is that people should be allowed to have $800K to $1M in super before any taxes or penalties apply, but lump sum withdrawals need to be controlled to stop people blowing all their super on the holiday of a lifetime, arriving back home to go on the pension. After all, the more people fund their own retirement, the less need for government coffers to support them. I suggest that only the truly rich would have super fund totals above my suggested limits (CPI indexed).

Comment from Kay
Time February 2, 2015 at 7:44 am

Lorikeet

“Someone outside of the Coalition is clearly calling the shots,….” Oh dear, here we go again! It is just called ‘stupidity’ – plus Abbott’s entrenched personal biases!

I’m really surprised you don’t know what a ‘5th columnist’ is.

Comment from Kay
Time February 2, 2015 at 8:03 am

Lorikeet

Why would I worry about criminal bikie gangs and their members? Anything that interrupts the supply of methamphetamine, and stops criminal bikie gang shoot-outs is fine with me. Obviously Gold Coast, and to a certain extent Sunshine Coast, voters are happy with the reduction in crime in those areas, given that their LNP candidates, including Jarrod Bleijie, the author of those VLAD laws, were voted back in. And the High Court has found they are constitutional – and now they will probably be introduced by all other States.

I live in an area heavily favoured by recreational bikers, and there has been no reduction in the numbers roaring around the road bends here. They are by far the most polite motorists on the road, and much nicer than those often-arrogant cyclists that also hog the roads here! Both bikers and cyclists flock to Dayboro on the weekends.

Comment from singletonengineer
Time February 2, 2015 at 9:05 am

@Mikes2014:

Interesting wish list. I will pick only one, in order to maintain focus.

How does rail decrease fossil fuel usage? I have yet to see reliable figures that this is true, only that diesel and electricity used on trains reduces congestion on (some) roads.

Dig below the surface and electricity, in the Australian context, means fossil fuel plus a fixed amount of hydro, say 5%, plus about 3 or 4% of the national electricity energy budget from PV and wind, which are not going to generate any more than they are now simply because there is an electric train running somewhere.

In effect, all increases in rail traffic represent increases in fossil fuel usage and will continue to do so for the forseeable future.

So, fossil fuel corporations don’t give a tuppenny stuff whether train usage increases.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 2, 2015 at 10:21 am

More economic rationalism is one of the last things Australia needs. It is practised by both of the major parties to bring our nation to its knees.

I don’t think it is a good idea to hit the poor with an increase in the GST, or to empower other nations using an Emissions Trading Scheme.

I am not a Coalition supporter, but I think Tony Abbott is somewhat better than Malcolm Turnbull would be. This just goes to show how bad they both are.

There are some good ideas in this letter, but I think the government would do better to tear it up. I think Hawke, Keating and Howard were all anti-Australian Prime Ministers and certainly not a good example for anyone else to follow.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm

I can only conclude that Kay has not read the VLAD Bill in which the word “bikie” is not mentioned at all. Either that or she doesn’t mind if one Australian gets 10 years in jail for murder, while another gets 35 years. Two of the worst aspects of this legislation are the concept of “Guilt By Association” and the clobbering of “Equality Under the Law”.

The fact that these undemocratic laws have survived a High Court Challenge is further proof of corruption in both federal and Queensland parliaments (and a negative collaborative process in action).

At the National Press Club today, Tony Abbott has changed tack from wanting to pay out enormous amounts in Paid Parental Leave to increasing Child Care payments. He still wants to force women with young children out to work “to increase GDP” when there are hundreds of thousands of unemployed Australians in the 18-25 and 45-65 age groups just champing at the bit to gain access to work.

Tony Abbott could fix his so-called Budget Emergency by giving THEM the jobs. I’m sure they would be more than happy to lift both the Australian and their own household economies, put taxation moneys into the kitty instead of taking it out, put money back into the economy with their increased spending capacity, creating even more jobs for their fellow Australians.

It seems Tony Abbott has forgotten that only a week ago, he was pushing for a reduction in the minimum wage and various other abuses of workers.

I agree that Nick Xenophon is a very cluey man, but his overall political perspective is not even close to being the same as Kay’s.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 2, 2015 at 2:20 pm

I have had a bit of a look at the definition of a Fifth Columnist. I would agree that Tony Abbott “takes” his decisions from Fifth Columnists. Otherwise he would still know how to “make” decisions, without changing his mind only 2 weeks later when the purposes of Fifth Columnism have been served (bye bye, Campbell Newman, and good riddance!)

I think a Corporate Neo-Communist would be a type of Fifth Columnist. Since most of Australia’s politicians (Labor and Coalition) are working for the CNCs, I would say our parliaments are heavily choked by Fifth Columnists. The few available democrats are mostly sitting on the cross benches and are largely subjected to undemocratic blockage from the media.

The CNCs only want to employ people in the 25-45 age group, which is why the government has a single minded focus on making women with little children work, with an eventual agenda to ensure they end up freezing eggs until they are too old to parent.

Comment from Kay
Time February 3, 2015 at 11:29 am

I think I regret giving Lorikeet another concept – a fifth columnist!

With Abbott doing such unbelievably stupid things, which damage his own government and make Bill Shorten look quite stellar by comparison, one could be forgiven for wondering if Abbott is secretly an ALP member, working hard to return Labor to power! If I thought he were clever enough to be a fifth columnist, and I loved conspiracy theories, I might believe that. But I think he is just plain garden-variety STUPID!

Comment from Lorikeet
Time February 3, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Stupidity doesn’t come into it at all. Tony Abbott, like all Prime Ministers from Coalition and Labor, is only the front man.

Tony Abbott does not need to become an ALP member, as both of the major parties are pillars of Fifth Columnism.

I feel like writing Tony Abbott a personal message of thanks for helping to get rid of Premier Campbell Newman, and also helping to prove my case regarding the duopolous agendas of the major parties.

Good one, Tony!