• Remember the light on the hill?
    At the 1949 ALP Convention, then Prime Minister Ben Chifley
    delivered the ‘Light on the Hill’ speech. The speech is seen as
    a declaration of ‘traditional’ ALP values. As a movement bringing
    something better to the people, better standards of living, greater
    happiness to the mass of the people.
  • The Chain of Responsibility
    There are certain responsibilities when you are driving a vehicle.
    You are required to comply with rules such as not being affected by
    drugs or alcohol, not checking your social media accounts while driving,
    maintaining control over your vehicle, parking only where allowed and so on.
  • Just answer the Question!
    I know that, like me, you fume when politicians steadfastly refuse
    to answer a question directly, preferring to prevaricate by evading
    an answer altogether, giving an answer to a question they would
    prefer to answer, or wandering off into a boring recital of the dot
    points with which their minders have briefed them.
  • The economy is sinking, but where is the lifebuoy?
    Those of you who hear experts describe in frightening terms the
    dire state of our economy, and then hear the faux reassurances that
    issue from the mouths of our Treasurer and Prime Minister, must wonder
    if they live in some parallel universe, where, reminiscent of Humpty
    Dumpty, words can mean anything they want them to mean.
  • The root cause
    Frequently, when presented with a problem, we attempt to treat the symptom rather
    than the real issue. For example, if every morning when you get in your car you
    notice that one of the tyres looks a bit flat, you could treat the symptom by calling
    in at the nearest petrol station and putting more air in the tyre. However, as air
    doesn’t shrink or disappear for no reason, there is obviously a deeper issue involved.
  • Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison?
    Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison? Make no mistake
    – Dutton’s thirst for power remains unquenched. His conviction that
    he is ‘the better man’ to be prime minister continues unabated. This
    piece argues that in pursuit of this lofty goal, he has now consciously
    embarked on a process best described as ‘Duttonisation’.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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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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