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John Passant

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October 2016



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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)



Some recent unpublished letters to the editor

Here are some of my recent unpublished mainstream media letters to the editor.

This first one is a letter I sent to The Australian. (Yeah, I know. And no, there is no irony in the fact that the ‘newspaper’ with a fake free speech campaign for one of its cartoonists should refuse to publish this. Free speech is free speech for the rich and powerful and those who disagree within their set and acceptable boundaries.)

James Allan suggests we should mount a campaign to defend someone, unlike the rest of us, given an almost daily outlet by The Australian for their views. (James Allan, “Does anyone have the courage to stand up and say ‘Je suis Bill Leak’?” The Australian page 12 Thursday October 20.) I have an alternative suggestion. A journalist who fled the dictatorship in Iran after the authorities there closed down his paper and arrested many of his colleagues is rotting away in the Australian concentration camp on Nauru. He has committed no crime. So Professor Allan, do you have the courage to stand up and say ‘Je suis Behrouz Boochani’?

The Australian did publish this one on Tuesday after Cut&Paste bagged the journalist Wendy Bacon for her arrest for protesting Westconnex.

Je suis Wendy Bacon (Cut&Paste 24/10)

More rejections, The Canberra Times:

Leo Dobes suggests various ‘corrective taxes’ as a way to earn extra revenue for the ACT government. (‘How to broaden the ACT’s tax base with minimal hissing’ The Canberra Times 17 October 2016).

Sin taxes have long been a favourite of conservatives to raise revenue from the lower classes and to ‘correct’ their behaviour. Instead of the more usual targets of alcohol and tobacco however, Dobes suggests more speeding fines, attacking those who park on verges and imposing road user charges as three ways to both improve revenue and and correct bad behaviour. Even in terms of Dobes’ approach, the options he suggests appear limited. There are other targets for correction by taxing he might have suggested, such as gambling, especially poker machines.

There are other problems with corrective taxes. They are by and large regressive. They hit the poor and low paid disproportionately.

But if we are going to go down this corrective tax route, I have a suggestion for the newly elected ACT government. Why don’t we do a Colorado?

Colorado became the first US state to legalise the personal use of marijuana and tax its sale through licensed cultivators, retailers and users. It imposes a Medical Marijuana Sales Tax, a Retail Marijuana Excise Tax, a Retail Marijuana Sales Tax and a Retail Marijuana Special Sales. Maybe the ACT could do something similar.

There are progressive taxes the ACT could consider. A fee on the big four banks to operate here, based on my rough estimates of the super profits they make from ACT residents of about $200 million a year, is both progressive and could be substantial. It would need to be matched with price controls that regulate interest and other charges the banks impose in the Territory.

We could levy gift and estate duty on estates of more than $2m, with a departure tax on those who leave here to avoid it and increased fees or taxes on non-residents who earn income by carrying on businesses here but who live nearby.

A politician with vision could use increased revenue to begin to abolish homelessness and poverty in the ACT. However there is no Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders in the Legislative Assembly or indeed, as far as I can tell, in any of our mainstream ‘left-wing’ parties nationally.

The Canberra Times:

Two National Party MPs have threatened to withdraw support for the Coalition government if there is a free vote in Parliament on marriage equality. This just makes the case even stronger for mass mobilisations on the streets to force a free vote, and for Labor to join the mobilisations. We could win equal love and bring the government down. That would be a marriage made in heaven.

The Age:

My suggestion to paid firefighters is simple. Strike until you win conditions much much better than those already agreed. Your cause is just and you have the industrial strength to smash the Turnbull government’s attacks on you.

The Canberra Times:

I hope the ALP rejects the Bill for the plebiscite on same sex marriage. When the Bill then fails what is Labor’s plan B? The government says there is no alternative. Might I suggest that Labor and the Greens resolve to reject all government legislation until there is a free vote in Parliament on equal love?

The Sydney Morning Herald:

No doubt after that Parliamentary grilling the Commonwealth Bank will now pass on the full interest rate cuts to home buyers. No doubt.



Comment from Lorikeet
Time October 24, 2016 at 9:29 am

I agree with most of this, but I am not a supporter of legalising various alternative sexualities and groupings.

I think the government is wise to discourage drinking, smoking and gambling, but how to do this without heaping extra costs onto the poor is a difficult question.

I’m not sure whether or not to support the government’s policy on fire fighters. I think if the CFA is forced to wait until paid fire fighters arrive before they can do anything, local farmers risk losing their properties. I think the Victorian government’s agenda is to drive more farmers and graziers from their land by any means possible, so Big Business can take over.

Comment from John
Time October 24, 2016 at 7:33 pm

What is an alternative sexuality? Are you arguing to make heterosexuality illegal?

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