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John Passant

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December 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)



Jeff Sparrow in Overland on black bans and blackmail


Here is a link to a great article by Jeff Sparrow in Overland on the blackmail charges against John Setka, the secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in Victoria, and Shaun Reardon, his deputy. Jeff’s article exposes the witch hunt against the CFMEU and the real issue here, which is safety at work.

The charges are an attempt to criminalise union activity. The government and bosses are trying desperate tactics to smash one of the few unions that takes action to defend its members, their safety, their job and their wages.  If they are successful in doing that it gives them more power to drive down wages and cut penalty rates which, as recent Treasury advice shows, are clearly part of the government’s agenda.

In mid 2015 Australian Federal Police in Canberra charged A.C.T. CFMEU organiser John Lomax with blackmail for the crime of winning a pay increase for members.  The charges were dropped in October because union activity is not a crime, yet, in Australia.

This is the same AFP who, according to Justice Richard Refshauge, conducted a raid on the CFMEU’s A.C.T. offices in Canberra on an unlawful search warrant. They were ordered to return all the material seized and destroy any copies.

During the raid, the police also used the bomb squad to impede union officials from checking what the cops were doing. This is also the same AFP who, according to a report in the Canberra Times from people there, at a meeting with builders to explain their ‘rights’,  called the CFMEU criminals.  This police officer is on secondment to the Royal Commission in Trade Unions. Witch hunt anyone?.

Here is part of what Jeff says in his Overland article:

‘The real issues are far more fundamental.

‘If the CFMEU can’t enforce workplace safety, more workers will die.

‘Furthermore, since the inception of combinations in the eighteenth century, trade unions have fought to prevent the criminalisation of their basic function: that is, the facilitation of collective action by employees against employers. Increasingly, tactics that would have been taken for granted a generation ago – picket lines, secondary boycotts, etc. – are being rendered illegal, while unionists who employ such methods are punished as criminals.

‘That’s why this case matters. The bosses have always called trade unionism ‘blackmail’. If we allow them to set the definitions, the ramifications will be enormous.’

To read the whole of Jeff’s excellent article in Overland click here, Black bans and blackmail.


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