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John Passant

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May 2019



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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)



Candidates resign – racism and Islamophobia remain

Jessica Whelan and her Islamophobia is not an aberration. She reflects the views of many Australians. She reflects the views of many Liberal Party voters. She represents a growing force in the Liberal Party itself.

To recap. Whelan was accused of an anti-Muslim Facebook post. She claimed her post had been hacked. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he had referred the hacking matter to the Federal Police. The police have since confirmed that 18 hours later and they had received no referral.

As Bill Shorten says, the police referral (if it happens) was an attempt to buy time and a cover up. Of course. The problem for Scott Morrison is that other posts show she is a serial anti-Muslim bigot. Has the Prime Minister misled the Australian people, unintentionally? Or has he just been hoodwinked by Whelan, hardly a crack double dealer.

How could Whelan have become a Liberal candidate? Would more thorough checks by the Liberals have stopped her? Excuse my laughter. The Liberal Party’s softly-softly racism (as opposed to Whelan’s open racism) attracts the open racists, or gives support to them, and to other bigots.  It is not far from the slogan ‘stop the boats’ to ‘stop the Muslims’.  It is a short distance from the Coalition to One Nation.  Just ask the Nationals, who are preferencing One Nation.

The Liberals have preferenced Palmer’s United Australia Party second. In my seat of Bean the UAP candidate is Tony Hanley. His posts are racist and sexist, with words like ‘fem-nasties, dykes, big fat fugly chicks, Dolly Birds FEMBOTS’ and, on Saudi Arabia, ‘tea towel heads!’

Just a reminder. He is the Liberals second choice.

There is a fight for the soul of the Liberal Party in Victoria. The geniuses who ran the Victorian branch of the Liberals courted Christian fundamentalists. The fundamentalists now have significant power in the party and have turned on the geniuses who bought them in. Not only are these fundamentalists anti-Muslim, they are homophobic, to the extent of wanting to stop gay Liberal MPs like Tim Wilson.   

There will be a bloodbath in the Liberal Party in Victoria, and perhaps elsewhere, after the election. There is no guarantee ‘the moderates’ will triumph over the reactionaries.

In the run up to this election two of these anti-Muslim, homophobic Liberal right-wingers, Peter Killin and Jeremy Hearn ,have been sacked as Liberal candidates for their homophobia and Islamophobia. Whelan has now joined them.  In fact, of the ten candidates (yes ten!) who have resigned in the 15 days since the election was called, 7 are Liberals.

The problem is not vetting. The problem is the ongoing move to the right of Australian politics, and the underlying racism of Australian capitalism and the Liberal Party.

Labor is not immune. Their candidate in the Greens’ held seat of Melbourne is Luke Creasy.  Seven years ago, when he was 22, he posted a rape joke. Labor has been defending him – he was young and stupid then but not now – because they thought they might have had a chance of winning the seat.  Not any more.

What happened to principles, Labor? Sack him. As it turns out, there are more posts – anti-lesbian and anti-Catholic – that raise questions about their candidate.  Shorten was waiting for a report back but in the hour or so since then Creasy has resigned as the Labor Party candidate. So, make that 11 candidates having resigned or been sacked so far.

‘So far’ is the operative phrase. There will be more. The reality is that social media can expose the real candidate to the whole country.  For a party like the Liberals that wants to dog whistle its racism, open racism is at the moment a no-no. Given the ongoing move to the right of the major parties over the last 3 or so decades, it cannot be too long before the lIberals become openly racist.

Oh, hang on, any remember Peter Dutton and the then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull warning about African gangs in Melbourne in the run up to the Victorian election?

The problem is not social media. It is the nature of the candidates the major parties attract, and the society in which these candidates grow.  As the major parties continue their shift further and further to the right economically, socially and politically, the gap between the open racists, Islamophobes and other bigots and the dog whistlers who are the major parties will become less and less.

This perhaps opens up a space on the left. The Greens sort of fill that gap, although they are not a party of the working class. At the moment the working class is very quiet with, for example, strike levels at historic lows.

For people like me, the voting options are pretty narrow. In other States and electorates socialists are standing. In Victoria 3 different socialist groups have formed Victorian Socialists. They are running in three Victorian electorates. Socialist Alliance is running candidates in electorates in WA, NSW and Qld and in the Senate in WA and NSW.

Of course, voting socialist will not change the world. It will send a message to ‘left ’parties like Labor and the Greens that real left-wing ideas can win support. The long-term aim of Socialists running in elections is to build their organisation(s) and support, not just votes. When workers re-enter the stage of history they hope to be there with them, for them, and of them.

Until then, striking can defend and improve wages, jobs and conditions.

John Passant is a freelance member of the Canberra Press Gallery. Mainstream or other media wishing to reprint this article should contact John to discuss the rates for doing so. To keep the blog alive through donations for example contact John for details.


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