• Three Years Later
    In 2016, we published 36 Faceless men, comparing the ‘need’
    for Australian political parties to have an absolute majority when
    forming a government versus the preferred outcome in other countries
    where a coalition of political parties have to work together to form a government.
  • Will they ever learn?
    After watching the first Question Time
    of the most recent sitting of the House
    of Representatives, the only plausible
    answer to that question is a resounding NO.
  • Beware the ides of March
    While Shakespeare may have ‘popularised’ the term, the ‘ides of March’
    goes back to Roman times when March was the beginning of the year
    (giving the excuse for celebration and prayers that the new year would be
    prosperous) until 55 days were added in 46BC. Two years later ‘dictator for life’
    Julius Caesar was stabbed to death — linking March with turmoil for ever after.
  • Nailed it
    Unlike the residents of the USA; a lot of whom probably wouldn’t
    have been able to point to New Zealand on a map three months ago;
    we shouldn’t have been surprised at the consideration for others demonstrated
    by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the past few weeks.
  • The tragic toll of hatred
    Stan Grant is an outstanding journalist. His capacity to undertake brilliantly forensic
    analyses and thereby discern meaning within the tumult of contemporary political
    behaviour sets him apart from most of his colleagues. So good are his political
    credentials that our PM invited him to enter politics, an offer Grant declined.
  • Bovine excrement
    Prime Minister Morrison seems to be certain that the next federal election
    will be in May. Cynics would suggest as Parliament is only sitting for two weeks
    in April, the plan is to hone their political sales pitch, pork barrel marginal electorates
    and parachute past or failed LNP politicians and their supporters into positions where
    they could potentially influence government programs and decisions into the future.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Debt crisis — what debt crisis?

Let’s face it; the Australian public has been bashed around the ears for years by the LNP about the level of government debt. Some economists would contend that Australia doesn’t have any debt — and certainly not a debt problem. Unfortunately, this piece has to contain some histo...

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The government doesn’t understand

For those who have followed my comments on TPS, you will probably know by now that my working life was spent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs — and I still prefer that nomenclature even though the government changed it to indigenous affairs some time ago. This piece is about a...

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You reap what you sow

During the June prior to Senate changeovers, as June 2014 is, it is traditional for retiring senators to give a valedictory speech. Senator Ron Boswell (LNP Queensland) gave his speech on 17 June after 31 years in the Senate. Although never a cabinet minister, Boswell is renowned for fighting off a...

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Do you know a con-artist when you see one?

After many pieces about many issues, I’m ready to have my say about Abbott himself. So sit back with a beer, or a glass of your best red, and come along for a short ride. I won’t bother going over his broken promises and lies. There are many other people already doing that. The only...

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The accidental prime minister

Our current prime minister assumed office on 18 September 2013. He was elected as leader of the opposition on 1 December 2009, taking over from Malcolm Turnbull who lost the leadership spill by one vote. Joe Hockey, the current Australian treasurer, also stood for election as party leader and oppos...

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The Piketty divide: Part 2

The Right (and I include big business in that) is scathing of Piketty’s conclusions, and of his re-introduction of the role of government into economics. Please forgive a few longer quotes to illustrate the venom of the Right: Louis Woodhill, a software entrepreneur, claims Piketty has his n...

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The Piketty divide: Part 1

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the twenty-first century has taken America by storm. It rose to the top of Amazon’s best-selling list. It brings a scholarly perspective to the issue of rising inequality and of wealth being concentrated in the hands of the few. It has been compared to Marx&r...

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Who’s right?

Back in April, Senator Brandis wrote an article (reported on the ABC) in which he claimed that although he believed humans were causing global warming he was ‘really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would have excluded from the debate the point of view of people who were cli...

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The speech I would like to hear

Last year on TPS I posted a blog ‘What happened to leadership and conviction?’ and bemoaned the fact that modern politicians are so poll-driven, rather than seeking to drive the polls by driving the policy debate. This year in a number of posts, ‘Whither the Left’, ‘Br...

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Bikies, Bullying and Bigotry

It takes a certain amount of self-belief and trust in yourself to get to the top of any profession. Some knowledge also helps. However some people who rise to the top of various professions seem to be able to retain a sense of humbleness and a keen interest in their fellow humans — others don...

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Letter to Bill Shorten - part 2

Here is the second part of a letter to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, written by an ardent Labor supporter, Ad Astra. The Hon Bill Shorten, MP Leader of the Federal Opposition Dear Mr ShortenHealth and disability Labor has a proud record in health care, one acknowledged by the electo...

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Letter to Bill Shorten: Part 1

There must be many ardent Labor supporters who would wish to transmit their thoughts to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about how Labor ought to proceed over the coming months. Ad Astra is one such supporter. Here is a letter he sent to Mr Shorten. The Hon Bill Shorten, MP Leader of the Federal Opp...

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The wonderful world of economic rationalists

The world of the economic rationalists took hold in politics in the 1980s. Their approach, which was discussed in ‘The rise and fall of a shibboleth’, has moulded the world for the past 30 years. Government decisions regarding national economies have been guided by it. International bodi...

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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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