• There is no Planet B
    This was written in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch terror
    attack where 50 innocent people (at the time of writing) were gunned down
    by a lone gunman. It was going to be a rant against a number of
    Australian politicians who use racism and terrorism to further their own objectives.
  • We're not mugs Scomo!
    Do you become as infuriated as I do at the sheer insolence of
    PM Morrison and his spokespersons when they feed us arrant
    nonsense about their policies, when they serve us up implausible
    readings of political events and the economy, when they treat us
    like mugs who will swallow any story they toss out?
  • Institutional respect
    In the past week or so, it was announced that last December a jury of his
    peers had found George Pell guilty of a number of heinous crimes against
    children. While Pell is (at the time of writing) planning to appeal the conviction,
    at this stage the facts are that after a trial where the jury could not agree,
    a subsequent trial jury unanimously found him guilty.
  • Intransigence
    The title for this piece came from an enlightening interview in the
    ABC’s One Plus One series. David Marr was the subject
    and Julia Baird the interviewer. She cleverly yet tactfully explored the
    inner workings of Marr’s mind and his struggle as a gay man in a
    society that looked askance at gays.
  • This is Scott
    Scott tells us he is rather important and considering he is Prime Minister of Australia,
    he is probably correct to a large extent. Scott wants everyone to like him and when the
    election happens sometime in the next few months, Scott wants us all to dutifully go to the
    Polling Place and support the local Coalition candidate, because he leads the Coalition Government
    and has the best interests of Australia at heart. In Scott’s world view ‘Everything is awesome.’
  • The face of arrogance
    Although he’s been PM only since August of last year, it feels
    as if he’s been in the top job for much longer. His accidental
    election in the wake of the ill-planned Dutton grab for prime
    ministership has not inhibited him one jot.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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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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