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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)



Scott Morrison – from Mother’s Day to deporting mums

Marx famously thought there was a difference between appearance and reality. It was what drove him to look into the real workings of capitalism, a system of exploitation of workers.

Our current election campaign is showing that appearance and reality distinction up.  Now, don’t worry, I am not going to talk about deep philosophical matters or delving. I am going to talk about the appearance of our Prime Minister and the reality of our PM.

The Liberal Party launch on Mother’s Day was all about Morrison and his family, in particular the three generations of women in his life – his mother, his wife and his daughters. It was vomit inducing, at least for me.

I suspect that some voters came away thinking what a wholesome family man Scott Morrison is. It is certainly an image the PM wants to project, especially as a counterbalance to the reality that he governs for capital, not workers. As his Finance Minister said, falling wages are part of their economic plan.

In part, they are a consequence of a trade union movement unprepared and unwilling to strike.  Labor’s election might slow the downward trend in real wages a little, but not much if there is no class struggle.

But I digress.  There was Morrison at the Liberal Party election launch, introduced by his mother, lauded by his wife and cuddled by his daughters. It was Mother’s Day so he, of course, gave his mother and his wife flowers.

There were no flowers for Tamil refugee mum Priya. She has been held in a detention centre for 15 months, along with her husband Nades and two young, Australian born girls. Instead, on Tuesday the High Court refused to hear their appeal to prevent them being deported to Sri Lanka.

Their real home, the place Priya and Nades were building a new life with their young Australian born daughters, is Biloela, north of Brisbane. The town has rallied to them.

Sri Lanka is not a safe place. DFAT’s Smart Traveller site recommends that people reconsider their travel plans to the Island. To quote selectively from the site:

‘Terrorists are likely to carry out further attacks in Sri Lanka… A State of Emergency remains in place and night-time curfews can be imposed with short notice… There is the potential for civil unrest and violence against people and property.’

Priya and Nades and their children are Tamils. The Tamil Refugee Committee is this week remembering the tenth anniversary of the genocide the brutal Sri Lankan State committed against Tamils and the ongoing occupation of Tamil areas of Sri Lanka.

Instead of a Mother’s Day welcome and flowers, Priya could be sent back to the hellhole that is Sri Lanka.

This is part of the deliberate government policy to demonise asylum seekers and refugees for political benefit. It appeals to the crimson thread of racism that runs through Australian society. Demonising the other wins a few votes for the Coalition, so Labor tails them.

Running concentration camps on Manus Island and Nauru and the onshore detention centres reveal the reality of Scott Morrison and his coalition of cruelty.

Give Priya and Nades a delayed Mother’s Day present. Give them and their children permanent residency on the way to citizenship.

It is unlikely the caretaker Immigration Minister will do that. He might be tempted to deport them immediately. While that would throw meat to his Party’s rabid base, it might lose votes. My guess is he will hold off and the pressure will be on the incoming Immigration Minister to grant residency or citizenship. Will Labor do that?

Who knows? They parade their women friendly credentials (with a bit more numerical justification than the Coalition) but they also walk arm in arm with the Government when it comes to refugees and asylum seekers.

It will be up to us to mobilise to bring Nades, Priya and the girls home to Biloela.

John Passant is a member of the Canberra Press Gallery. Mainstream and other media wishing to republish his material should contact him to discuss the rates for doing so.


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