• The hazard of heedless politicians
    No ‘heedless’ is not a misprint; nor should it have been ‘headless’,
    although some might prefer that descriptor with poultry overtones!
    ‘Heedless’ signifies an alarming propensity so many politicians exhibit
    – the capacity to ignore evidence that does not align with their
    entrenched beliefs, their unshakable ideological position.
  • The yoke of inequality burdens us all
    It was in 2012 that The Price of Inequality by Nobel Prize winner
    Joseh Stiglitz was published in America and the United Kingdom.
    In 2013 it was distributed worldwide by Penguin Books. This
    seminal work, tellingly subtitled: 'How Today's Divided Society
    Endangers Our Future', was widely acknowledged.
  • The politics of religious freedom
    The dictum is not to talk about religion and politics in polite company.
    If you share that belief, read no further. Religious freedom is an
    interesting concept. A quick search came up with no current law
    in Australia that makes a belief in any faith tradition illegal...
  • Cancer sucks
    It seems that most Australians have been affected in some way by cancer.
    The chances are you know a cancer survivor, remember someone who didn’t
    survive, have sympathy with someone undergoing treatment or have a
    friend or relative that knows someone who has been affected in some way.
  • Democracy via three-word slogans
    Another title might have been Democracy according to Justice Kenneth Madison Hayne,
    who in his address to The Melbourne Law School on 26 July 2019, contrasted the
    features of a Royal Commission: independence, neutrality, publicity and provision of
    a reasoned report, all characteristics of the judicial processes, to the very different
    features of everyday political discourse.
  • The ruthless heart of the Liberal Party
    Dedicated observers of the political scene in Australia owe much
    to Niki Savva who made her mark as a significant author when
    she penned two critical exposés in which she fearlessly uncovered
    the labyrinthine machinery of the Liberal Party for all to see.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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 ...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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’...

Read More

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...

Read More

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. ...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Inequality will be a hot button election issue

‘Inequality’ is a term used by economists. Joseph Stiglitz has been writing for years about its damaging effect. His book: The Price of Inequality is a classic. More recently, Thomas Piketty entered the arena with his Capital in the Twenty-First Century and hypothesised about the genesis of ine...

Read More

The calamitous Abbott lies in wait

You may wonder why anyone would waste time writing about this man, erased from the top job by his own party, and discredited in multiple ways by commentator after commentator. For me, the reason is twofold. First, he is still confronting us day after day in the media, and just as importantly his...

Read More

Continuity and change

Malcolm Turnbull’s re-election campaign started well. He tried out ‘continuity and change’ as a slogan when announcing the potential election date of July 2. While it might have been accidental, pinching the ‘meaningless’ election slogan from a US political satire could be seen as an indicator...

Read More