• You have to adapt
    Next time your mobile phone takes a photo of the now ubiquitous QR
    check in image, think of this. In 1888, the Kodak camera was first sold
    in the USA with the motto “You press the button, we do the rest”. People
    did ‘press the button’ and return the cheap camera box to Kodak for processing...
  • Looking after your mates
    At the same time as the state governments around Australia are
    trying to re-establish the ‘greater good’ by promoting COVID-19 testing
    when feeling even slightly unwell and vaccination (because the inconvenience
    of a test or injection is far outweighed by the lessening of risk of others catching
    the virus), the Morrison Government has redoubled its efforts to look after its mates.
  • Living under a dishonest leader
    There are few words here for you to read. They are not
    necessary to tell the lamentable tale of Morrison’s dishonesty;
    the embedded YouTube video does the talking. Malcolm Turnbull
    belled the cat in spectacular style during his remote
    National Press Club address on 29 September.
  • Looking for a loophole
    It’s a pity Barnaby Joyce’s stirring defence of Christian Porter on his demotion
    to the back bench wasn’t an out of season April Fool’s joke. Recently The
    Guardian reported. On Monday, Joyce told reporters in Canberra Porter was
    “incredibly intelligent” and had been an “incredibly capable” minister, suggesting
    he could return after seeking re-election in his Western Australian seat of Pearce.
  • Fomenting fear and loathing
    What appalling scenes we’ve witnessed recently in Melbourne:
    its streets engulfed by protestors marching to who knows where, or why. Do they?
    The Westgate Freeway, the major arterial to the Western suburbs, was blocked and
    traffic disrupted by marchers plodding to the other side.
    Then where? Who knows what their purpose was?
  • 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.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Your vote is valuable

Over the past couple of months, Turnbull, Shorten, Di Natalie and others have been attempting to convince you that they are worthy of your first preference vote. The usual claim is that your vote is valuable. Guess what — it is. Every first preference vote cast at the election on 2 July is worth $2....

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Turnbull’s Medicare backflip — or is it?

Turnbull recently announced that his government, if re-elected, will not change any element of Medicare. It came in response to Labor’s campaigning that Medicare was under threat, that it would be privatised under a Liberal government. The general media response was to take Turnbull at his word and ...

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Your call is important

To paraphrase, hell hath no fury like a politician scorned. Dennis Jensen, MP for the seat of Tangney, was not preselected by the Liberal Party to recontest the seat in Parliament. He is running as an independent. Jensen recently claimed Liberal MPs use database software to profile constituents and ...

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The tale of two Daleks

Good Daleks are hard to find. They’re expensive. But for the Treasury and the Department of Finance, no cost is too high. So they spared no expense in their search for reliable Daleks that could repeat their messages tirelessly. They had hoped to find some with a rudimentary knowledge of economics a...

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Time for a new economic model

Late in the 1970s Keynesian economics was largely abandoned when it failed to explain the stagflation that had occurred during that decade. Recently, in my piece ‘What economic plan?’, I quoted an Australian analyst with the CBA who suggested that recent national data released by the ABS was showing...

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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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