• There is no Planet B
    This was written in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch terror
    attack where 50 innocent people (at the time of writing) were gunned down
    by a lone gunman. It was going to be a rant against a number of
    Australian politicians who use racism and terrorism to further their own objectives.
  • We're not mugs Scomo!
    Do you become as infuriated as I do at the sheer insolence of
    PM Morrison and his spokespersons when they feed us arrant
    nonsense about their policies, when they serve us up implausible
    readings of political events and the economy, when they treat us
    like mugs who will swallow any story they toss out?
  • Institutional respect
    In the past week or so, it was announced that last December a jury of his
    peers had found George Pell guilty of a number of heinous crimes against
    children. While Pell is (at the time of writing) planning to appeal the conviction,
    at this stage the facts are that after a trial where the jury could not agree,
    a subsequent trial jury unanimously found him guilty.
  • Intransigence
    The title for this piece came from an enlightening interview in the
    ABC’s One Plus One series. David Marr was the subject
    and Julia Baird the interviewer. She cleverly yet tactfully explored the
    inner workings of Marr’s mind and his struggle as a gay man in a
    society that looked askance at gays.
  • This is Scott
    Scott tells us he is rather important and considering he is Prime Minister of Australia,
    he is probably correct to a large extent. Scott wants everyone to like him and when the
    election happens sometime in the next few months, Scott wants us all to dutifully go to the
    Polling Place and support the local Coalition candidate, because he leads the Coalition Government
    and has the best interests of Australia at heart. In Scott’s world view ‘Everything is awesome.’
  • The face of arrogance
    Although he’s been PM only since August of last year, it feels
    as if he’s been in the top job for much longer. His accidental
    election in the wake of the ill-planned Dutton grab for prime
    ministership has not inhibited him one jot.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Turnbull’s Medicare backflip — or is it?

Turnbull recently announced that his government, if re-elected, will not change any element of Medicare. It came in response to Labor’s campaigning that Medicare was under threat, that it would be privatised under a Liberal government. The general media response was to take Turnbull at his word and ...

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Your call is important

To paraphrase, hell hath no fury like a politician scorned. Dennis Jensen, MP for the seat of Tangney, was not preselected by the Liberal Party to recontest the seat in Parliament. He is running as an independent. Jensen recently claimed Liberal MPs use database software to profile constituents and ...

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The tale of two Daleks

Good Daleks are hard to find. They’re expensive. But for the Treasury and the Department of Finance, no cost is too high. So they spared no expense in their search for reliable Daleks that could repeat their messages tirelessly. They had hoped to find some with a rudimentary knowledge of economics a...

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Time for a new economic model

Late in the 1970s Keynesian economics was largely abandoned when it failed to explain the stagflation that had occurred during that decade. Recently, in my piece ‘What economic plan?’, I quoted an Australian analyst with the CBA who suggested that recent national data released by the ABS was showing...

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Feed a man a fish

Those who missed the ABC’s Lateline last Wednesday night lost the opportunity to learn about a private (they would prefer the term ‘independent’) school in Sydney that actually seems to want to make a difference.  Barker College, a co-educational school in the Anglican tradition, based at Hor...

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Turnbull is selling us a pup

You all know what that idiomatic expression means – being tricked into buying something that is worthless. It arose from the old swindle of selling a bag that purportedly contained a piglet, but instead there was a puppy inside. PM Turnbull wants you to believe that his bag contains a piglet, bu...

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The economics of debating

Economists will tell you that they practise a science in a similar way to chemists, biologists and physicists. If certain inputs are made to solve an economic problem, there will be a certain result. Other scientists also use the same process, a chemist will tell you if you add certain quantities ...

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It’s all their fault

Have you ever noticed that politicians in general have a great ability to blame others? As an example, here Labor is blaming Prime Minister Turnbull (as he was the former communications minister) for a $15 billion cost blowout in the construction of the NBN. Here’s Turnbull in 2013 accusing Labor of...

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How the Liberals are destroying Australia

The image above shows rich and poor alongside each other in Mexico. Is this Australia’s future under the Liberals? Australia has a long history of egalitarianism. Between the gold rushes and the 1890s Australia was considered a ‘working man’s paradise’. The depression of the 1890s changed that s...

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What happened to us?

Tony Abbott liked to scare us with tales of violent terrorists coming to attack us and, therefore, requiring more and more security to protect us. Even if we thought he was crazy or going too far, at least he was addressing us. Think about Turnbull’s approach and ask where are the policies, even the...

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Hordes of illiterates

If you had to pick a minister to deliver a nasty message, you would not go past Peter Dutton, master of cruel comments, replete with his trademark po-face and matching body language. Last week, on Sky News, responding to the suggestion by the Greens that we should up our refugee intake to 50,000, hi...

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Top hats versus hard hats

Now that the official election campaign has entered its second week, it’s time to assess how each of the major political parties is framing its narratives. You will recall that earlier this year there were three pieces on The Political Sword on framing: Framing the political debate – the key to ...

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The campaign bus

So who’s enjoying the current federal election campaign?  The television stations certainly are as they are boosting their revenue by the second through showing the election advertising for the various political parties and lobby groups. The newspapers are also getting their share of additi...

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The mythical $80,000

Some reading this would be able to remember the days when the urban dream was the quarter acre block in a ‘nice’ suburb, with a Holden, Falcon or, if you were a real radical, a Valiant parked in the driveway. If you’re younger, you’ve probably seen the concept on any one of a number of Australian hi...

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Trickle down thinking breeds inequality

In a piece published on 13 April, I predicted that inequality would be a hot button issue in the upcoming election. Now that we have had both Scott Morrison’s budget speech and Bill Shorten’s speech in reply, we can see how this issue will play out in the election. Although the word ‘inequality’...

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My innovation is bigger than your innovation

Malcolm Turnbull launched his ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda’ on 7 December last, three days after Labor had launched its ‘start ups’ policy, ‘Getting Australia Started’. The launch dates for the policies mean little as obviously before such a launch there has been considerable b...

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36 Faceless men

Let’s face it, the Australian political system is a winner take all arrangement. Either the ALP or the Coalition will win any given state or federal election and then proceed to implement some version of the policy that was voted on by the members of the political party at various conventions. ...

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Lords and Ladies: the world changes

The spruiker My Lords and my Ladies, I beseech your indulgence, here before your magnificent court, as I present for your amusement and moral edification the fourth iteration of the tale of Tiny Napoleon O’penmouth and his rival Mal C’od-turn-a-bull. And a new rival emerges but you must await...

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Policy from behind the scenes

[Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull and Martin Parkinson] Any good public servant will tell you that policy is determined by government ministers. In Senate Estimates, and other committees, you will often hear public servants say they cannot comment on policy issues, that such questions should b...

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Castles in the Air

One of the points of difference between the Turnbull government and the Shorten opposition is negative gearing. We would all still be here next week if the current regime and the proposals were discussed in full, so how about we attempt to do the ‘helicopter’ version. Just keep in mind that th...

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