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John Passant

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October 2021



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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)



Archive for 'Poverty'

The most read article in 2015: Pensioners in poverty – Australia is the second worst in the OECD for paying its pensioners

I posted this in December 2015. It was the number one article for the year. I say in part:

‘More than one third of Australian pensioners live in relative poverty. The OECD average is 12 percent of pensioners. Of OECD countries only South Korea is worse.’

To read the whole article, including the OECD graph which captures this, and to find the link to the OECD report, click here.

Pensioners in poverty – Australia is the second worst in the OECD for paying its pensioners


Pensioners in poverty – Australia is the second worst in the OECD for paying its pensioners

More than one third of Australian pensioners live in poverty. The OECD average is 12 percent of pensioners. Of OECD countries only South Korea is worse. Let that sink in. Slovakia, Greece, Poland, Estonia, Slovenia and Turkey, for example, all treat their pensioners much better than the Australian government does. Instead of Australian Productivity Commission suggestions that pensioners reverse mortgage their homes or downsize, maybe we should tax the rich and abolish their superannuation and other tax concessions to pay for an increase in pensions in Australia to take all pensioners out of poverty.

We workers are the lifters: the capitalist class are the real leaners

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey famously declared that Australia needed to be a nation of ‘lifters, not leaners’. Just who are the real leaners?

For Marxists the ruling class exploits the working class. This means it extracts surplus value (what becomes profit, interest, rent, dividends etc) from workers. That surplus value is the unpaid work workers do for the boss in the normal working day over and above what they are paid to survive, come back the next day and raise the next generation of workers with a little left over for socially determined activities like after work drinks on Friday night.

This means it is the bosses as a class who are the real leaners.

Proud to be an economic girlie man

The other day Australia’s Finance Minister, Matthias ‘the terminator’ Cormann, called Opposition leader Bill Shorten an economic girlie man. Unlike the book of Matthew (and the neoliberals) I don’t believe the poor will always be with us. They are a creation of capitalism. We have enough in Australia (and indeed globally) to feed, house and educate everyone. Only by overthrowing the system that produces want among plenty can we eradicate poverty. That doesn’t make me girlie, manly, boyish or feminine. It makes me a socialist.

Poverty in Australia: the ‘wake-up call’

One in seven Australians lives in poverty, and the situation is getting worse writes Dean Maloney in Red Flag. That’s the startling conclusion of a comprehensive report released on 12 October by the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS).

Joe Hockey gets it cars about

Let’s be fair. Hockey is partly right. With his government increasing unemployment – it jumped from 6% to 6.4% last month – and denying those under 30 the dole for 6 months, young unemployed people won’t be able to buy food let alone drive anywhere.

End poverty to improve education

In short, if we were serious about education, then our education discussion wouldn’t be focused on demonizing teachers and coming up with radical schemes to undermine traditional public schools. It would instead be focused on mounting a new war on poverty and thus directly addressing the biggest education problem of all.

Babies: poverty is the real story the media ignore

In Australia, according to ACOSS, more than 2.2 million Australians, or 12.8% of the Australian population, live below the poverty line. That figure includes 575000 children. To put that into relative terms, 17.3% of all Australian children live in poverty.

Compared to page after interminable page about the future king George, where is the one paragraph in one mainstream newspaper anywhere in the world mentioning the mass poverty of children across the globe or in their own countries, let alone making the argument that they are poor because George is rich?

Why capitalism is a failure

Revolution won’t come about by us wishing and waiting writes Nick Everett in Socialist Alternative in Australia. We need to fight for change. Socialism – a society that organises production to meet human need, not corporate greed – is not only possible, but urgently necessary.

I could live on $6321 a week

The shift of wealth to the rich over the last few decades and increasing poverty has been in part because we workers haven’t fought back. The time has come to tell the very very well paid Jenny Macklin and the ruling class she represents that the poverty she and the rest of the Gillard Labor government create through their deliberate policies has to end now. That can only come about through a massive societal and industrial campaign to prioritise the poor and working class over the rich and business.