• You're paying too much
    And that has nothing to do with fuel marketing cycles that seem to afflict
    larger cities around the country, the cost of importing fuel because the
    multi-national refining companies have determined it is not economic to
    produce fuel in Australia or any one of the hundreds of other theories of
    why it now costs more than ever to fill up the car. It is all to do with politics.
  • They've got a mandate
    You’ve probably heard politicians and commentators suggest that
    various acts should be undertaken because ‘they’ve got a mandate’.
    One of the recent examples is new Environment Minister Angus Taylor
    claiming there is now a ‘mandate’ for a lack of any meaningful
    action on managing climate change in Australia.
  • The battle for the killer slogan
    I could commence this piece by debating why slogans influence voters,
    no matter how tiresome, no matter how monotonous. But why bother?
    We know they work. Why bother to question their use, or scorn those
    who use them? It is surely more practical to examine how to use them
    creatively. This piece is just the beginning of the search for the killer slogan.
  • The Coalition can’t manage money
    The Coalition can’t manage money. No, that’s not a misprint.
    The conventional wisdom, peddled by the Coalition, aided and
    abetted by opinion polls that always rate the Coalition ahead of Labor
    in managing the economy, is that ‘Labor can’t manage money’.
  • Extremism and Queensland
    Political extremism generally doesn’t condone rape, murder or shootings
    to achieve stated aims, however it does promote that there is no tolerance
    for differing opinions or compromise. A common statement from the conservative
    forces leading up to the last election was that the Australian Greens were extremists
    and more dangerous to Australia than either One Nation or United Australia Parties.
  • The Tag Line
    The recent election was an exercise in marketing and not much else
    Morrison promoted himself and ‘good economic management’ rather
    than the Coalition while flitting around the country handing out dollars
    to ‘deserving’ infrastructure projects, usually in marginal seats.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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The shifting risk of superannuation

Since the 1980s, Australia has changed the way we prepare for our retirement. Rather than depending on an aged pension from the government and some personal savings, greater emphasis has been given to superannuation and building retirement incomes in that way. All three remain in play for reti...

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What can we expect in the coming election?

[Saint Malcolm?] Apart from the obvious statements, we can also tell there is an election in the air as, after six months of inactivity, the Turnbull government has engaged in a flurry of policy announcements — or in some cases what should be termed policy ‘thought bubbles’. That is not to ment...

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