• Sitting astride the barbed wire fence
    The human mind is a wonderful thing. We all have different interests,
    ideas and methods of doing what is needed to stay alive. We also have
    different beliefs. Some will tell you that the contrails left in the sky following
    the passage of aircraft are a 24/7/365-day aerosol assault over our heads made
    of a toxic brew of poisonous heavy metals, chemicals, and other dangerous ingredients.
  • #30 year challenge
    There is a social media meme at the moment where two photos are posted
    side by side, one from 2009 the other from 2019. ‘Bonus points’ are apparently
    gained by ‘featuring’ a similar pose in both photos. As everything is apparently
    better with a hashtag, this latest fad is tagged as the #10yearchallenge.
  • Global problems cast a gloomy shadow
    What better time to take a look at our world, our planet, than at the beginning
    of another year? Long past are the days when we could retreat into a comfortable
    cocoon with no windows to the wider world. Unless we turn off our radios, television,
    our computers and the Internet, and never look at print media, we cannot avoid
    exposure to the world’s events, redolent as they are with worrisome overtones.
  • Job Number 1
    They say it’s nice to start with a win. So as we get down to business for another
    year let’s celebrate a small win (‘I told you so’ is so 2018!). In May 2015, The
    Political Sword discussed the release of Anglicare’s annual rental affordability
    snapshot, which highlighted that 8 of the 65,614 properties available for rent across
    Australia met the affordability requirements for a single person on Youth Allowance.
  • Why is there still so much anger?
    As we enter the Festive Season, we reflect on the year past and
    the one ahead. It’s a time when Christians celebrate Christmas and
    other special days, Jewish folk enjoy Hanukkah, Mexicans celebrate
    the Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, and Swedes celebrate St Lucia
    Day. The New Year is ushered in as an opportunity for new hope.
  • Let's Dance
    In a recent email, Virginia Trioli wrote in relation to Christmas Parties: Go hard
    or go home. Say something. Talk — really talk — about your life, your triumphs,
    your failures; your year of struggle or your reflections on another milestone
    reached; your pride, your joy, the moments of grace remembered or sought:
    or don’t talk, don’t just chatter, and how about we just stand in companionable silence...

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

May your god go with you

It seems that the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is the keeper of the morals and ethics of a number of conservative politicians in this country. So does the ACL really represent the views of Christian Australia, or is it an attempt to enforce the views of a small group of people upon the major...

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The Peter Principle again – has the GOVERNMENT reached its level of incompetence?

It is not often that we see The Peter Principle played out before our very eyes. We saw it recently with ex-PM Tony Abbott and his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin as they were promoted from opposition where they were deemed to be competent, to government where they were manifestly incompetent. This...

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An ode to Mal Brough

Malcolm Thomas Brough was born in December 1961. He is the current member of parliament for the seat of Fisher, based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Between 1996 and 2007, he was the member for Longman, based on Brisbane’s outer northern suburbs. Brough recently announced his retirement from pa...

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On which leg does the Liberal Party stand?

The Liberal Party often describes itself as ‘a broad church’, particularly when its parliamentarians are expressing different views. It is to be expected that political parties will contain within them people with different views on some issues but it seems the Liberal Party has a basic philosop...

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Malcolm’s Bitter Harvest

It would be trite to begin with the platitude: You reap what you sow. To Malcolm Turnbull though, that cliché must have an ominous ring about it as he reflects on his past. To what extent has he brought upon himself the political troubles that afflict him now? His career was illustrious befo...

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The Peta Principle – how Abbott rose to the level of his incompetence

‘What’s wrong with Tony Abbott?” It’s a question that’s been asked ever since he rose to prominence as party leader, if not before. But then the question had a whimsical ring about it. What was wrong with a leader who was so nasty, so misogynist, so belligerent, so hell bent upon the destruction...

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Let’s talk about tax

Taxes are the things that provide services to the community. They provide transport, social security, defence, education, parks, rubbish removal and so on. While state and local government provide most of the services we Australians consume on a daily basis, the federal government is the lev...

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Safe Schools, Unsafe Politicians

Now we see it, the Christian-Right Liberal reactionaries digging their cruel claws into PM Turnbull over the ‘Safe Schools’ program, one specifically designed to help kids understand that different individuals have different feelings about their sexuality, and that all of us ought to understand,...

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Turnbull and authenticity

Question: What do Donald Trump (Republican Presidential hopeful) and Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the British Labour Party) have in common? Well it can’t be their politics. Trump comes from the right hand side of the spectrum — he wants to keep the ‘illegals’ out, defeat Islamic State, favours ...

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The year of the union

For the Chinese, 2016 is the ‘Year of the Monkey’ but I think in Australia it may well be the year of the union — although not in a positive way. As it is an election year, and in the light of the Trade Union Royal Commission (TURC) report in December, we can expect the Coalition government to h...

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More about Puff the Magic Malcolm

In the first of this short series, I described how after the disaster of Tony Abbott, the promise that Malcolm Turnbull brought to prime ministership was already fracturing as he fails, day after day, to live up to his own values, and reneges on his strongly held views. Abbott flagrantly and una...

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Puff the Magic Malcolm

The precipitous ejection of Australia’s worst-ever prime minister last year brought such a sense of relief to the electorate that the arrival of Malcolm Turnbull in his place gave him the status of a knight in shining armour rescuing the damsel in distress. Even some who support Labor were not j...

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Americans aren’t the only ones with blinkers

Have a look at this link: it is a record of the number of reported gun incidents and deaths in the USA in the last 72 hours. When this article was being prepared there had been in excess of 200 incidents. Frankly it’s a little scary. Many Australians are familiar with the work of the US Tea...

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A smile is not enough

[The Turnbull residence at Point Piper, Sydney] After Turnbull toppled Abbott in September the polls turned in favour of the Coalition; Turnbull’s ‘satisfaction’ rating was high; and he had a commanding lead over Shorten as preferred prime minister. The big question for Turnbull, the Coalition...

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Still more on framing the political debate - the key to winning

I began this short series on political framing with the image above, and illustrated the concept with some overseas examples. In the second part I used examples from the contemporary federal political scene, pointed out the dangers of accepting political opponents’ framing, and examined ways of ...

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More on framing the political debate - the key to winning

In the first of this short series on framing: Framing the political debate – the key to winning, I described the concept of political framing as developed by cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff, which he described in his book The Political Mind. I illustrated it with examples drawn fr...

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Framing the political debate - the key to winning

Why did Tony Abbott thrive as Leader of the Opposition, but turn out to be such a dud as Prime Minister? What was it about his period in opposition that was so different from his period as the nation’s leader? There are many possible answers to these questions. This piece asserts tha...

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A musical interlude for the holidays

[Woody Guthrie] In my piece ‘Are you sure you’re not a radical?’ I wrote: ‘Over the centuries folk music has been important in supporting the oppressed and Ireland and many countries in South America have a long tradition of revolutionary music.’ So I have chosen in this ‘summer recess’ to p...

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… and suddenly it’s 2016

Welcome to 2016 from The Political Sword and we behind the keyboards hope that the forthcoming year is everything you wish for. In what seems to be a tradition, we start 2016 with a different prime minister, promises of better government and the reality of more spin, marketing and political...

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Farewell 2015 — you could have been worse

It is common at this time of the year to reflect on what was, what could have been and how it all manages to fit into the ‘scheme of things’. This article is the 50th piece posted to The Political Sword in 2015 — and, if we didn’t have enough to do, late in January we changed the look and feel...

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