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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)

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)

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Election 2019 – the first debate

I watched Morrison and Shorten in their first election debate. I might be lesser evil biased but I thought Shorten won.

Why? Because Shorten talked about policy, about policies, and about fixing problems that touch us all in our lives, like low wages, health care, dental care, even climate change.

All Morrison offered was ‘Labor bad, Labor taxes,’ without much more. I think Australian workers (and I suspect capitalists) want some vision from their politicians. Morrison offered none.

It was like watching a debate between last century and last year. The Coalition are stuck in the past – the 1980s perhaps. Labor by comparison look modern because they are ‘only’ stuck in the early 2000s.

The differences on climate change show this clearly. The Morrison government is a prisoner of fossil fuel thinking. Labor at least recognises the need for some action although given the impending crisis its remedies are too litle too late.

Just when we need radical action we will, if Labor is elected, have ‘softly softly don’t upset the horses’ change. The horse and buggy era died over a century ago. The petrol car is possibly going to suffer the same fate on a global scale by the mid 2020s or perhaps as late as 2030. And where is the planning, the investment in transport technology (such as electric charging stations) and renewable energy to bring this change about, and make it an environmental success? Nothing from the government; a little from the Opposition. But we need more, much more.

I am reminded of a famous quote from the future Lord Hailsham, or Quentin Hogg as he then was in 1943:

‘If you don’t give the people social reform, they will give you social revolution.’

Maybe the pace of climate change is too slow, or maybe its frequent events appear too disconnected, to produce such a response. Maybe, although the student strikes show a potentiality to head in that direction. And as George Monbiot argues, capitalist climate change is killing humanity and that can only now be solved by radical action, or as I would argue by a democratic and socialist working class revolution.

But I digress. The battle between last century and last decade continued throughout the debate. Shorten pointed out various needs that he hoped to meet – for higher wages, for better dental care, for more health and education spending, all in the context of incremental changes. The proposals are OK, but why limit them as Labor is doing to childcare workers, or pensioners, of families with young kids?

As I have argued, an unfettered right to strike, and encouraging workers to strike for higher pay and conditions, and defending jobs, would be much better, and more thoroughgoing and modern (and last century) class response. Labor are not going to do that. They are about managing capitalism, not governing for workers.

It appears I am not alone in my view that Shorten won the debate. The audience appears to have thought the same thing, possibly for much the same reason. Policy, even inadequate or limited policy, beats inaction every time.

John Passant is a member of the Canberra Pres Gallery. Mainstream and other media wishing to republish this, please contact John for permission and to discuss the appropriate fee.

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