• Is Donald Trump crumbling?
    As you witness the increasingly bizarre behaviour of Donald Trump,
    the President of the United States, the mightiest nation on earth, do
    you wonder about his mental state? Do you speculate about his stability,
    his judgement, his reasoning? Recent events, piled on each other,
    beg the question; ”Is Donald Trump crumbling”?
  • Morrison's latest prop
    So the Liberal Party has hired a bus as a new toy for PM Scott Morrison. As a special
    gesture, they have also arranged for the bus to be covered in advertising so no
    one can mistake who is on the bus. The initial run for the bus is from the Gold Coast
    to Townsville located on the North Queensland coast, something like 1400 km in four days.
  • The march of the demagogues
    Are you as unnerved as I am by the rise of demagogues around the
    world – leaders who gain popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance
    among the people, whipping up passions and shutting down reasoned debate,
    who overturn established customs of political conduct, or threaten to do so?
  • Dare Ya
    On 21 August, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: I think in
    the immigration portfolio, you are defined by Nauru and Manus ...
    I would love to get everybody off there tomorrow. If I could have brought
    them to Australia in a charter flight overnight I would have.
  • Shackled by ideology
    How many of you despair of our politicians? How many of you fume at the
    incoherence of the positions they take? How many bristle at their intransigence,
    their stubbornness, their adherence to outmoded dogma that is no longer supported
    by the facts? How many of you have a feeling of hopelessness about their conduct?
  • The Demtel Man
    Those who remember free to air television in the 80’s and 90’s will
    remember the advertising for ‘as seen on TV’ products marketed by
    a company called Demtel. A quick Google search will remind you of the
    process if you are fortunate enough to have either not lived through the era.

The Political Sword

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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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Lords and Ladies, a new morality tale for a new time

The spruiker Lords and Ladies, I beseech of your time as I come before you to continue the tale of the kingdom wherein resided Tiny-er-er O’penmouth. I beg of you to bring to mind my last tale when, although no more than a lowly jester, he created himself anew as Tiny Napoleon O’penmouth,...

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Where does all the water go?

With parliament about to go into its summer recess and an El Nino summer in the offing, meaning less rain (particularly in the eastern states) and raising the prospect of water restrictions in major urban areas, I thought it timely to have a look at what happens to water in Australia — how muc...

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Entitlement makes up for lost production

Joe Hockey was fond of talking about the end of the age of entitlement, basically meaning that people should not expect support from government and should buy their services in the market — including health and education services if he had had his way. There are, however, various good reasons...

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The year of morals and ethics

It is likely that 2015 will be remembered around the world as the year when morals and ethics overcame deception and greed. There are a number of examples that could be given with regard to investment funds, rorting allowances and living circumstances as well as just corporate greed. Let’s just ...

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You can't patent ethics

Recently you may have missed the news that Yvonne D’arcy won her case in the Australian High Court. D’arcy had been involved in legal action against Myriad Genetics, a US biotech firm that developed a test to determine if people have a predisposition towards breast cancer. This was ground breaki...

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Are you sure you’re not a radical?

Back in September the government released its radicalisation awareness kit. The example contained in it of radical greenie Karen became the centre of attention in the twitterverse, on social media and in the mainstream media but should our concern end there? All the detail and the booklet ...

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Won’t get fooled again

Last week, we published an article demonstrating that Prime Minister Turnbull really hasn’t changed all that much. While he has fiddled around the edges and has shown some ability in attempting to explain policy better, Australia is still treating refugees who attempt to come here abysmally; there i...

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Same old same old

[Can you pick the difference?] On 14 September, Malcom Turnbull was elected leader of the Liberal party and, as a consequence, became the 29th prime minister of Australia. There was an almost immediate change in the timbre of political discussion. But has anything else changed? For exam...

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Pass the Popcorn

It is now a month into the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull. Based on previous history, Turnbull is considered to be a ‘left wing’ Liberal, judging on his pronouncements over the years — being in favour of emissions reduction, same sex marriage, Fibre to the Home (FTTH) internet connection...

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The philosophical myth of neo-liberalism

In my pieces I often refer to neo-liberalism. As explained in my pieces last year, ‘Whose freedom?’ and ‘Whose responsibility?’, the neo-liberal idea of freedom is based on the rational self-interested individual and it also adopts the approach of ‘negative’ freedom (following Isaiah Berlin...

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The silent majority

It’s not a secret that former Prime Minister Abbott is a ‘committed Christian’. Former Prime Minister Rudd also wore his Christianity on his sleeve — frequently shown on the Sunday night news answering questions outside a church in his electorate. Both are entitled to their beliefs, as are the...

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Another failure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs

What is wrong with this paragraph from a report in July regarding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander work-for-the-dole scheme? A Territory community’s work for the dole program is about to collapse, with accusations a Sydney-based company stands to keep receiving funding while nothing ...

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Pluto and the conservative mindset

In 1930, Clyde W. Tombaugh found a ninth planet in our solar system and, after a time being known as ‘Planet X’, it gained the name Pluto. Contrary to popular belief, the planet wasn’t named after the Disney character or the nuclear element plutonium; rather the planet was named after the Roman ...

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