• A tale of two ideologies
    Once upon a time, the newly elected progressive Australian Government was told by
    their advisers that financial calamity was to sweep the world, bringing financial ruin,
    uncertainty and pestilence (the last one might just be made up) to humanity. The newly
    elected government, being of the mind that they employ specialists who have likely
    forgotten more about their subjects than the politicians had ever known, asked what to do.
  • Nature abhors a vacuum
    In the past year or so, most of us would have become quite familiar with the group of people
    that seem to front up almost daily to discuss the current state of the COVID19 pandemic in
    each Australian jurisdiction. Usually there are a couple of politicians ably backed up by the
    experts in public health management, a high-ranking commissioned Police Officer, with a
    person live translating the discussion into Auslan for the benefit of those with hearing difficulties.
  • What is revving up the bully boys?
    Have you noticed the cluster of loud-mouthed men
    that has appeared recently on our Melbourne streets,
    fists raised, shouting messages of defiance
    directed at our those in authority?
  • We should be better than this
    In The Guardian’s detailed history of the ‘Tampa affair’ which
    occurred twenty years ago, you will notice a number of similarities
    with the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Sadly, you will
    also notice that the response by current Prime Minister Morrison is
    worse than then Prime Minister Howard’s response twenty years ago.
  • Toad of Toad Hall
    This short piece is not intended to be a serious treatise; instead it’s a
    light-hearted appraisal of federal politics. We have had our fill of commentaries
    on the ins and outs of the Canberra scene written by self-confident ‘experts’
    who believe they understand the machinations of the political class.
  • The environmental vandals
    Over the past couple of weeks we’ve looked at some of the less
    savoury aspects of the current Coalition Government, led (for the
    moment) by Scott Morrison. This week, how about we look at the
    environmental record of this government, which reaches back
    to the days when Tony Abbott was the Prime Minister.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Feed a man a fish

Those who missed the ABC’s Lateline last Wednesday night lost the opportunity to learn about a private (they would prefer the term ‘independent’) school in Sydney that actually seems to want to make a difference.  Barker College, a co-educational school in the Anglican tradition, based at Hor...

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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...

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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 ...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 ...

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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...

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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...

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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’...

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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...

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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. ...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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