• It’s not dumb luck, is it more sinister
    Australia has been fortunate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The infections and deaths due to COVID-19 have been far less
    than others by percentage of population, the economy is apparently
    returning to some form of normal and life is not greatly impacted
    for most Australians on a day-to-day basis.
  • The charade of representative government
    Why do I use the term ‘charade’? Because I believe representative
    government is “an absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant
    or respectable appearance” about the concept of government of
    the people, for the people, by the people.
  • Bring out the dogwhistle
    An unfortunate fact of life in Australian politics since the early 1800s has been
    the racist dogwhistle. Consider the evidence of mass executions of first nations
    peoples that lived in Australia for thousands of years before Dirk Hartog (the
    first European to leave an artefact on the Australian continent in 1616) to the
    ‘White Australia Policy’ and Coalition Prime Minister John Howard’s 2001 election speech
  • The price of arrogance
    It’s all very well for us to say how much we deplore the arrogance of
    our Prime Minister, but as Aussies who live under his ‘rule’ we can’t
    avoid the awkward fact that those who live elsewhere may see us as
    tarred with the same brush! How easy would it be for them to believe
    arrogance is an Australian characteristic? His behaviour taints us all.
  • Déjà vu
    To minimise the pain of reminding you of the shocking destruction
    that is occurring day after day in Gaza City, I have kept this piece
    short. I have found writing it distressing, yet the story needs to be
    told. It is part of our grotesque contemporary reality.
  • Cigarettes, whiskey and electric cars
    Those of a certain age might remember the regular headlines in the 1970s
    and 1980s after the federal budget that screamed ‘Smokes and Beer tax up again’
    There was a double benefit to the government of the day in raising the consumption
    taxes on tobacco and alcohol products. Not only did they increase taxation revenue,

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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Continuity and change

Malcolm Turnbull’s re-election campaign started well. He tried out ‘continuity and change’ as a slogan when announcing the potential election date of July 2. While it might have been accidental, pinching the ‘meaningless’ election slogan from a US political satire could be seen as an indicator...

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The small government myth

Politicians are a strange breed. They will spend millions at election time attempting to convince you that their side is better than the other because they will better manage the country. They will also tell you that they have irreconcilable differences with their opponents and in essence, it’s ...

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Where are the crooks?

Ask Tony Abbott where the crooks are and he would repeat what he said ...

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May your god go with you

It seems that the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is the keeper of the morals and ethics of a number of conservative politicians in this country. So does the ACL really represent the views of Christian Australia, or is it an attempt to enforce the views of a small group of people upon the major...

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The Peter Principle again – has the GOVERNMENT reached its level of incompetence?

It is not often that we see The Peter Principle played out before our very eyes. We saw it recently with ex-PM Tony Abbott and his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin as they were promoted from opposition where they were deemed to be competent, to government where they were manifestly incompetent. This...

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An ode to Mal Brough

Malcolm Thomas Brough was born in December 1961. He is the current member of parliament for the seat of Fisher, based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Between 1996 and 2007, he was the member for Longman, based on Brisbane’s outer northern suburbs. Brough recently announced his retirement from pa...

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On which leg does the Liberal Party stand?

The Liberal Party often describes itself as ‘a broad church’, particularly when its parliamentarians are expressing different views. It is to be expected that political parties will contain within them people with different views on some issues but it seems the Liberal Party has a basic philosop...

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Malcolm’s Bitter Harvest

It would be trite to begin with the platitude: You reap what you sow. To Malcolm Turnbull though, that cliché must have an ominous ring about it as he reflects on his past. To what extent has he brought upon himself the political troubles that afflict him now? His career was illustrious befo...

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The Peta Principle – how Abbott rose to the level of his incompetence

‘What’s wrong with Tony Abbott?” It’s a question that’s been asked ever since he rose to prominence as party leader, if not before. But then the question had a whimsical ring about it. What was wrong with a leader who was so nasty, so misogynist, so belligerent, so hell bent upon the destruction...

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Let’s talk about tax

Taxes are the things that provide services to the community. They provide transport, social security, defence, education, parks, rubbish removal and so on. While state and local government provide most of the services we Australians consume on a daily basis, the federal government is the lev...

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Safe Schools, Unsafe Politicians

Now we see it, the Christian-Right Liberal reactionaries digging their cruel claws into PM Turnbull over the ‘Safe Schools’ program, one specifically designed to help kids understand that different individuals have different feelings about their sexuality, and that all of us ought to understand,...

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Turnbull and authenticity

Question: What do Donald Trump (Republican Presidential hopeful) and Jeremy Corbyn (Leader of the British Labour Party) have in common? Well it can’t be their politics. Trump comes from the right hand side of the spectrum — he wants to keep the ‘illegals’ out, defeat Islamic State, favours ...

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The year of the union

For the Chinese, 2016 is the ‘Year of the Monkey’ but I think in Australia it may well be the year of the union — although not in a positive way. As it is an election year, and in the light of the Trade Union Royal Commission (TURC) report in December, we can expect the Coalition government to h...

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More about Puff the Magic Malcolm

In the first of this short series, I described how after the disaster of Tony Abbott, the promise that Malcolm Turnbull brought to prime ministership was already fracturing as he fails, day after day, to live up to his own values, and reneges on his strongly held views. Abbott flagrantly and una...

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