• Sitting astride the barbed wire fence
    The human mind is a wonderful thing. We all have different interests,
    ideas and methods of doing what is needed to stay alive. We also have
    different beliefs. Some will tell you that the contrails left in the sky following
    the passage of aircraft are a 24/7/365-day aerosol assault over our heads made
    of a toxic brew of poisonous heavy metals, chemicals, and other dangerous ingredients.
  • #30 year challenge
    There is a social media meme at the moment where two photos are posted
    side by side, one from 2009 the other from 2019. ‘Bonus points’ are apparently
    gained by ‘featuring’ a similar pose in both photos. As everything is apparently
    better with a hashtag, this latest fad is tagged as the #10yearchallenge.
  • Global problems cast a gloomy shadow
    What better time to take a look at our world, our planet, than at the beginning
    of another year? Long past are the days when we could retreat into a comfortable
    cocoon with no windows to the wider world. Unless we turn off our radios, television,
    our computers and the Internet, and never look at print media, we cannot avoid
    exposure to the world’s events, redolent as they are with worrisome overtones.
  • Job Number 1
    They say it’s nice to start with a win. So as we get down to business for another
    year let’s celebrate a small win (‘I told you so’ is so 2018!). In May 2015, The
    Political Sword discussed the release of Anglicare’s annual rental affordability
    snapshot, which highlighted that 8 of the 65,614 properties available for rent across
    Australia met the affordability requirements for a single person on Youth Allowance.
  • Why is there still so much anger?
    As we enter the Festive Season, we reflect on the year past and
    the one ahead. It’s a time when Christians celebrate Christmas and
    other special days, Jewish folk enjoy Hanukkah, Mexicans celebrate
    the Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, and Swedes celebrate St Lucia
    Day. The New Year is ushered in as an opportunity for new hope.
  • Let's Dance
    In a recent email, Virginia Trioli wrote in relation to Christmas Parties: Go hard
    or go home. Say something. Talk — really talk — about your life, your triumphs,
    your failures; your year of struggle or your reflections on another milestone
    reached; your pride, your joy, the moments of grace remembered or sought:
    or don’t talk, don’t just chatter, and how about we just stand in companionable silence...

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The rise and fall of a shibboleth

Firstly I must acknowledge that the title of this article was inspired by the words of the 1994 song ‘Shibboleth’ by Melbourne band, The Killjoys. In this case, the shibboleth I am referring to is ‘economic rationalism’, an expression that distinguishes the Right from the L...

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Red red wine

It’s not news to anyone that Barry O’Farrell resigned as New South Wales Premier after giving ICAC (the New South Wales anti-corruption body) misleading information over a bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange he received as a gift from Nick Di Girolamo, a person associated with a Sydney Water...

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Lords and Ladies, a morality tale …

The spruiker Lords and Ladies, I invite you on a journey into a world that is imaginable to only a few. A frightening world where nothing is what it seems. Your guide will be our jester Tiny-er-er O’penmouth. He will make you laugh. He will make you cry. You will find ecstasy in his grovellin...

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Truth with partisan on the side, but hold the bias, please: Part 2

The impartially partisan political journalist Part 1 of ‘Truth with partisan on the side’ ended with the suggestion that we might be in a muddle in political journalism in Australia, a muddle about ‘partisan, but not biased, journalism versus impartial or objective or “neutr...

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Truth with partisan on the side, but hold the bias, please: Part 1

Quite in love with Jonathan Green I love Jonathan Green. Indeed, I’ve been quite in love with Jonathan Green for yonks. And that, in media-land, is called ‘disclosure’ (or ‘the big reveal’? Whatever.) Disclosure is important because this piece is partisan. Whether pro...

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Bringing Gross National Happiness into play

In my series of articles about where the Left should be heading in our new world, I suggested that adopting Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a measure of economic progress should be one element of a new approach for the Left. In this piece I will examine why that is important, what it means, and h...

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Number 982

Michael Gawenda was the editor of The Age newspaper in Melbourne from 1997 until 2004. He is currently a Fellow of University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism, after serving as the inaugural Director of the Centre in 2009. After finishing school, he studied economics and politic...

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In a galaxy far, far away … Australia

At Davos in Switzerland in January this year the 44th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) took place. About 2,600 representatives of government, business, civil society and academia took part, from over a hundred countries. Australian businesses that attended included Leighton Holdings...

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Is Australia becoming a guided democracy?

On 8 February 2014, there was a by-election for the federal seat of Griffith due to the resignation from politics of the former member Kevin Rudd. Terri Butler, representing the ALP, won the seat. This comment was posted on the Fairfax Media’s on-line coverage of the event: I think I'd prefe...

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Whither the Left: Part 3

Gross National Happiness, people power and Labor In Part 2 of these articles I discussed the Left’s approach to the new world in which we now live and suggested that adopting a measure such as Gross National Happiness (GNH) could help create a new approach to economics. I intend discussing th...

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Whither the Left: Part 2

A new world for the Left The break-up of the Soviet Union, the Velvet and Orange Revolutions and the Arab Spring show that mass movements can still achieve social and political change, with or without violence. But the capacity of the State is a key factor in such circumstances — whether it h...

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Whither the Left: Part 1

A History Lesson: the revolutionary period My politics was moulded in the late 1960s, a great time in my view for the Left. The ’60s (into the ’70s) was dominated by revolutionary and liberation movements around the world — an era when Africa was completing its decolonisation. For...

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The Xmas attack on climate change

Human-caused global warming is the single biggest threat facing humanity today. Solving it requires a rapid worldwide transition to renewable energy economies, leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. Preserving a habitable climate depends on decisions made in this decade. At less th...

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Green parasols

'You have come down here to see an election - eh? Spirited contest, my dear sir, very much so indeed. We have opened all the public-houses in the place. It has left our opponent nothing but the beer-shops — masterly policy, my dear sir, eh?' The little man smiled complacently, and took a lar...

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The thought thief

Two events occurred in January that have alarming parallels. The Book Thief was released in cinemas across the country and Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced yet another review of the school curriculum. The movie is based on the book by Australian author Markus Zusak. A synopsis of the ...

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Do you not remember the Twentieth Century?

Dear Mr Abbott, You promised to take us back to the halcyon days of your Liberal Prime Ministerial predecessor John Howard and, like him, hoped to put sport rather than politics back on the front pages. I fear, however, your time machine has overshot the mark and we are heading rapidly towards the ...

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Who killed Cock Robin?

I read that opening stanza of the old rhyme as a metaphor of the continued and repeatedly frustrated human progress toward social advancement. It is the most disappointing certainty that as soon as the human collective gets its act together and starts to achieve really useful advances in all things ...

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So that was … 2013

Welcome to 2014! And we welcome you to your next ‘open thread’, which will run until the 2nd February, when our conversation starters, and Casablanca’s Cache, will return. It seems to be traditional at this time of the year to reflect on what has been, and to look forward to what...

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‘Happy Summertime’ from the TPS Team!

From this week The Political Sword goes into recess for the summer period until the 2nd February 2014. Well, its authors, and Casablanca’s Cache, will have a break, but all of you who love to comment and share links and thoughts and fun on TPS don’t have to do the same. Comments on thi...

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The myth of political sameness

Cock your ear at your local watering hole, listen to the boys as they clasp a frosted schooner of VB, and you’re bound to hear: ‘They’re all the same these pollies. Ya just can’t trust em’. Of course they are right to some extent. The deception and deviousness we see da...

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