• 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

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Bankers 3 Democracy 0 with Abbott running the sideline

In a piece in June, ‘The unhappy marriage of democracy and capitalism’, I discussed the then situation in Greece and the way democracy was being ignored by the wielders of economic power, particularly the bankers and the power brokers of the financial system. Since then the bankers have won, t...

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The challenge of renewables

Later this year a conference will be held in Paris that will determine the global response to climate change. While the international jockeying has commenced, it seems there is a ‘tipping point’ that, if exceeded, will ensure that the world will never be the same again. Australia’s contributio...

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Funding health: part 2

This week I focus on the future of commonwealth government health funding and begin with consideration of the role of the Medicare levy in commonwealth government spending. While health expenditure may increase so does revenue from the Medicare levy so long as wages and the workforce continue...

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Funding health: part 1

Earlier in the year, there was much talk by the government about the ‘unsustainable’ growth of health funding. In July, the premier of NSW, Mike Baird, joined the party suggesting that the GST should be raised to 15% to help cover rising health costs. But how bad is the situation? In 2012‒13...

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Doin’ the GST-a-rosy rag

Got a PM, PM we can’t trust Said a higher GST is a must Doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag Told the voters you must pay If you want to see a surgeon on another day He was doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag Been around, and new is old Catch your cold and blow your gold and spend Doin’ the GST-a-rosy-rag ...

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Winter winds, wind farms and hot air

About this time of the year the all-year-round residents of Canberra enjoy a reprieve from the hot air produced on Capital Hill. Pity is that this usually combines with winds that come from the Antarctic via the Snowy Mountains to make Canberra shiver through another winter of sub-zero morning...

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How did we get a multi-party Westminster system? Part 2

[The opening of Australia’s first parliament by Tom Roberts] Last week I gave a brief outline of how the Westminster parliamentary system evolved in England. Then came Australia which largely adopted the British parliamentary system and recognised the British monarch as head of state. I ...

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How did we get a multi-party Westminster system? Part 1

[Charles I in parliament: ‘Attempted arrest of the five members’ by Charles West Cope] Earlier this year we had a couple of pieces that raised issues about the parliamentary and party system in Australia (‘President Abbott’ and ‘Instant Experts’) and in June we had the 800th anniversary of Ma...

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Where will we be in 50 years?

In the next few months, most Australians will be considering their financial affairs and the preparation of their annual tax return. It is usually a time for some questioning around how you did manage to spend all that money in the past year and what changes you can make to become thriftier in...

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A failure of the Left

This is a piece about politics but not the politics we normally discuss on TPS. It is a tale of two radical youth: one from the late1960s (me) and one from the 2010s (Jake Bilardi). You probably know the story of Jake Bilardi, the young Australian who early in March became a suicide bomber...

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Where does Abbott really stand on national security?

The idea of ‘national security’ arises from the ‘social contract’ referred to by political philosophers. The concept is that the people gave the power to enforce rules and punishments to their leaders, whether monarchs or elected governments, in return for ‘protection’. Otherwise, in going abo...

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The politics of marriage

While Australia had a uniform Marriage Act from 1961 until 2004, there was nothing specific (except for common law) that prohibited marriage of two people of the same gender. The requirement that marriage was between a man and woman was only inserted into the act by the Howard Government. The ...

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The $19,990 special

The amount of ink spilled in the analysis of the 2015 Australian budget would probably fill Sydney Harbour. The number of electrons expended in the same way would probably light up a small town for a week. There is no need to add to the consumption of electrons here. Instead, let’s look at the sales...

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The unhappy marriage of democracy and capitalism

Most Western countries, including Greece and Australia, have a system of democratic-capitalism. It marries a democratic political system with a capitalist economic system and they are perceived as being well-matched because both are founded on philosophies about individual freedom. It is, howe...

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NAPLAN — a guide or a competition

Most educational institutions in Australia have a ‘tag line’ — a statement that is supposed to be a pithy description of what the entire school community believes in. It isn’t surprising that a lot of the ‘tag lines’ have something to do with recognising the individual talents of each student and ...

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Government budget trickery

I would like to state upfront that I already had the word ‘trickery’ in this title before Bill Shorten used it in his Budget Reply speech. I could say he stole it from me but I suspect he thought of it himself. It is such an appropriate word for this budget. One thing Bill Shorten didn’t m...

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Hope for the homeless

Throughout the world there are people who ’sleep rough’ every night. For a few, that is the way they choose to spend their lives; for the majority, however, the habit is not one of choice or desire — the choice is made for them due to circumstances relating to employment or their personal live...

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Are budgets worth the paper they’re written on?

In this little exercise I have gone through commonwealth government budgets from 1999‒2000 to 2013‒14 to study changes in the figures. The figures for each budget can vary quite significantly. For quite a few years now we have had the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) which up...

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The saga of Billy Gordon

On January 31 this year, Billy Gordon joined a very select group — indigenous members of parliament in Australia. He won the seat of Cook in far north Queensland from the LNP and joined the Queensland parliament as part of the minority ALP government. Late in March, the State parliament sat for ...

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Beware, there is a plan

There is much talk about the ‘chaos’ of the Abbott government but take a close look at what has been done, what it is talking about, and the reports it is gathering together. We need to look beyond the political catch-cries of the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ and ‘Labor’s mess’ and examine what is d...

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