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Per Capita circle the wagons


A longstanding Twitter feud between Per Capita’s Emma Dawson and the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) has reached that seemingly inevitable stage whereby Per Capita (the powerful and influential faction) are forced to defame and threaten those challenging their legitimacy in the anti-poverty space. Portraying them as “trolls” engaged in “online bullying” deserving of legal recourse.



We’ve seen this scenario play out with “journalists” repeatedly on Twitter which led me to comment…


“Someone said mean things about me” – then becomes the focus of discussion, rather than why some people may have been critical of the corporate lackey posing as a journalist.

Lilah deconstructs this tactic succinctly.

Per Capita’s circling of the wagons and revision of events is more of the same, another group with a large power advantage being challenged (even bested) by people they deem inferior.

Unfortunately for Per Capita it just makes them look foolish and draws attention to their origins, motivations, claim of independence and their aforementioned legitimacy as anti-poverty advocates.

This stoush is bigger than it seems

While Per Capita and the AUWU are the main combatants there are an array of allies on either side.

Obviously there will be exceptions in the table I’ve constructed. Perhaps those people in the near-mythical Labor Left? Or activists unwilling to spare energy on a battle they feel doesn’t concern them? It does.

Let’s call it a roughtimate.



The accuracy of the table does receive some reinforcement by the attacks on the Left from Per Capita and their allies on the Right.

 An example?


This is Emma Dawson criticising the Greens’ GLI by comparing it unfavourably with the Quiggin/Klein/Dunlop proposal.

“…irrational, ignorant and inflammatory…”




Let’s examine Per Capita’s “independent” claim


Think Nick’s got this…


That’s right folks, the Executive Director of “independent” Think Tank Per Capita sought Labor pre-selection in the seat of Melbourne. Up against Greens leader Adam Bandt no less.

Labor’s links with Per Capita are glaringly obvious, but Emma chooses to lie about them like a kid with a chocolate-smeared face denying they polished off Mum’s chocolate stash. Such arrogant denial is symptomatic of her lack of professionalism and respect for people who have a right to question her inconsistencies.

Then there’s the support from Wayne Swan, National President of the Labor party and the lucky recipient of a lucrative sinecure with Stanwell Corporation (Fossil Fuels) as a Director.

“Swanny” is also the author of  this article, “A Society Built From The Bottom Up, Not The Top Down” – wherein he espouses – “Now is the time for a new generation of activists to draw strength from this history and to revitalise the contest of ideas”

I think we can safely assume that’s only as long as their ideas don’t involve challenging Labor’s “new” neoliberalism or their Fossil Fuel donors.

Clearly “Swanny” our Right Wing Laborite comrade agrees with this denigration of Left Wing activists and the stream of comments by Ms Dawson in that vein.

You really should keep these bigoted, classist views to yourself Mr Swan. People might mistake you for a hard-line conservative or worse a neoliberal.

If that’s not enough evidence to convince the gentle reader that Emma Dawson is lying through her teeth regarding Per Capita’s Labor affiliations then consider this the coup de grâce (OK three of them) to your remaining doubts.

Professor Nareen Young is on Per Capita’s board and is adamant about Per Capita’s ties to Labor.


Working for a union/Labor afiiliated organisation certainly does enable access to privilege. They are members of a highly paid professional class in most instances (Much like yourself Nareen) wielding far more clout than their hapless members.


Once again, Nareen’s belief that mere association with Labor makes you one of the “good guys” shines through. Her “class analysis” strikes the same level of political naivety.

Just in case you’d missed the point that Per Capita is indeed a Labor Think Tank.

Emma has lied about Per Capita’s “independence” in a public forum. This clearly compromises the validity of Per Capita’s research and publications given the “full support” of their board for her “outstanding work in her role”.

The board’s puerile attempt to revise the issue, whereby Emma becomes an innocent bullied by ravenous cyber-Morlocks, is just further evidence of Per Capita’s duplicity and dishonesty.

Continues… Emma Dawson and her Labor Think Tank Per Capita (part 2) – by Mick Lawless


Per Capita – web site

AUWU – web site

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