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John Passant

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March 2015



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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)



An alternative to the neoliberal University?


Building on Labor’s commodification of Universities in Australia, the Abbott government wants to deepen that commodification with further funding cuts and fee-deregulation. The Senate has rejected the Pyne Bills attempting to do that this time, but Pyne is already bragging that he will deliver the $150 million ‘savings’ he had earmarked coming from sacking 1700 researchers by cutting his portfolio Budget. Where will his axe fall?

In Amsterdam students and staff have had enough of the global phenomenon of turning Universities into profit centres.  Here’s how describes what is happening in a petition supporting the protesters who have set up an alternative University which they call the New University. The authorities have responded in the only way they know, with violence, to alternative visions that challenges even in a small way the way capitalism and education operate.

On Friday 13 February, an organization of concerned students calling itself The New University ( occupied the Bungehuis, one of the University of Amsterdam’s buildings and one of the Humanities Faculty’s primary locations. The students are protesting the financialization of academic life, and are calling for the radical democratization of university management. According to press releases issued by the students, their decision to occupy a university building was only taken after they had become convinced that all other options for entering into discussion with the university’s management had been exhausted, and many less impactful forms of protest had already been exercised (see

The University of Amsterdam’s Executive Board has responded by taking the students to court, thus criminalizing a sincere and legitimate form of protest and imposing exorbitant fines and legal fees on the students. Since the court’s ruling, the students face imminent forcible eviction as well as growing financial burdens, but they nevertheless continue to occupy the building, where they organize lectures, public debates, and assembly meetings, while developing further plans for protests and acts of civil disobedience for as long as the Board continues to ignore their demands.

As members of the international academic community, we hereby express our support for the students’ right to protest. We sympathize with their demand for greater transparency and accountability for university management, and for the democratization of decision-making processes. We therefore call upon the University of Amsterdam’s Executive Board to work with the students rather than continuing to making disproportionate legal and financial threats, thereby criminalizing a legitimate form of protest. We also urge the Board to involve students and staff members in an open discussion to work towards a reversal of the ongoing financialization and managerialism that is increasingly coming to dominate academic life.

Thought provoking and challenging, the student’s action puts democracy at the heart of what it means to be a University.

To sign the petition click here.


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