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John Passant

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October 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)



Banning entry into Australia is not the way to fight domestic violence or anti-abortion bigotry

Peter Dutton, the Minister for Immigration and Border Control, has issued a Notice of Intention to Consider Refusal to rapper Chris Brown. In 2009 Brown was convicted of assaulting his then partner, the singer Rihanna. He also threatened to kill her. The notice gives Brown 28 days to make the case as to why he should be given a visa to enter the country. The notice was issued the day before tickets for his concerts were to go on sale.

Dutton has also revoked the visa of US anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman. Newman was due to come to Australia on Wednesday to sprout his bigotry at Right to Life meetings around the country. According to James Glenday on the ABC website:

‘Mr Newman is the co-author of the book Their Blood Cries Out, which was published in 2000. In the book he questions why doctors who perform abortions are not executed and asks why women or men who request the procedure are not charged with murder.’

[Update: Newman flew to Australia despite the visa revocation and was arrested at Melbourne airport. The High Court is hearing an injunction to prevent his deportation and allow him entry into Australia. This ban by the government and now the arrest and possible deportation will make Newman a martyr in many people’s eyes, and not just among religious conservatives.]

While Mr Dutton is giving the impression of being busy, he is doing nothing about the two asylum seeker women under Australia’s control raped on Nauru. One is now pregnant. So Dutton in his inaction on this specific issue is actually supporting a system of violence against women and anti-abortion bigotry. This inaction is because the brutalisation of asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru is government (and Opposition) policy. It is systemic.

This should give the lie to the idea that by banning Brown and Newman the Turnbull government and Shorten Opposition are serious about addressing violence against women and are against bigotry. As the experience of asylum seekers in Australia’s concentration camps shows, this government and Opposition drive violence and bigotry.

Was there an alternative to banning Brown and Newman from entering Australia? Yes.

Brown has said he has learned his lesson and wants to help young men not use violence against women. This is how Bhakthi Puvanenthiran in the Sydney Morning Herald put it:

Brown said on Wednesday he believed his tour would be a “wake-up call” and he wanted to teach young people about the danger of domestic violence.

“I would be more than grateful to come to Australia to raise awareness about domestic violence. I’m not the pink elephant in the room anymore,” he tweeted.

“My life mistakes should be a wake up call for everyone. Showing the world that mistakes don’t define you. Trying to prevent spousal abuse.

“The youth don’t listen to parents nor do they listen to PSAs. The power that we have as entertainers can change lives,” he said.​’

Of course this could well be self-serving. However a strong grass roots anti-domestic violence campaign at his concerts and using him in mass meetings could have reinforced the anti-domestic violence message. The fact this option wasn’t considered but instead we see much of the left and the anti-domestic violence groups praising Dutton for issuing his notice of intention to consider refusal is an indictment of the movement against domestic violence and the left. The State banning Chris Brown doesn’t empower women. It empowers the State, the very symbol, concentrated expression and supervisor of women’s oppression.

In Brown’s case there is another element to this. As GetUp! has discovered after the event, the message that banning Chris Brown sends is that is it black men who commit violence against women. This fits neatly into the racist sub-context of the use some make of Australia’s domestic violence figures, namely that Aboriginal women suffer domestic violence at 34 times the rate of non-indigenous women. While this is true, it fails to understand let alone address the 227 years of genocide, dispossession, abuse and impoverishment Aboriginal people have suffered and continue to suffer.

It also fails to ask why remote communities do not have adequate basic services and no DV services. Indeed the Western Australian government is attempting to close down 120 remote communities to enable mining companies freer access to their land. And it fails to ask if there is over-policing in aboriginal communities?

So an anti-domestic violence strategy might have considered linking up with the campaigns to defend those communities and asking Aboriginal people how to address the violence in their communities. That would include not just specific well funded basic and DV services but addressing the wider questions of genocide, dispossession and so on through a treaty, recognition of prior sovereignty and paying the rent.

So too with the impending arrival of the militant anti-abortion campaigner Troy Newman. The anti-abortion movement is the other side of the anti-woman coin represented by domestic violence in action. A militant grass roots campaign at every one of his talks could have been a rallying call not just for the pro-abortion movement but could draw in the opposition to domestic violence and involve the beginning of linking up with Aboriginal groups in the ongoing fight against their oppression.

Here was a great opportunity to build a united mass movement against the oppression of women and indigenous Australians. Instead the focus was on getting the state to take top down action that does absolutely nothing to address domestic violence, anti-abortion bigotry, racism or women’s oppression. This is the very state which drives and reinforces that racism and oppression. There is nothing to cheer about in banning Brown and Newman.



Comment from Mike
Time October 1, 2015 at 11:14 am

What is ironic is a man is banned from entering Australia for supporting a ban on abortion, when it is still illegal in states like NSW.

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