• Why is there still so much anger?
    As we enter the Festive Season, we reflect on the year past and
    the one ahead. It’s a time when Christians celebrate Christmas and
    other special days, Jewish folk enjoy Hanukkah, Mexicans celebrate
    the Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, and Swedes celebrate St Lucia
    Day. The New Year is ushered in as an opportunity for new hope.
  • Let's Dance
    In a recent email, Virginia Trioli wrote in relation to Christmas Parties: Go hard
    or go home. Say something. Talk — really talk — about your life, your triumphs,
    your failures; your year of struggle or your reflections on another milestone
    reached; your pride, your joy, the moments of grace remembered or sought:
    or don’t talk, don’t just chatter, and how about we just stand in companionable silence...
  • Oh the irony
    One of the production team behind The Political Sword regularly attends
    a trivia night at a local pub. Recently the host (who runs a company that
    hosts multiple trivia nights every night of the week — so he’s pretty good
    at finding obscure facts) made the claim that 49 percent of Australians
    are either immigrants or one/both their parents are immigrants.
  • Five shades of faded blue
    How well the ancient Biblical words apply to the Coalition:
    ”How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle...thou wast
    slain in thine high places, and the weapons of war perished!”.
    The true-blue Liberal flag, once graced with rich shades of competence,
    efficiency, endeavour, diligence and success, now flies tattered, limp and washed out.
  • The Culture Wars
    The Liberal Party cultural wars are having a detrimental effect on the rest of
    us. Here are two examples. Without rehashing old news, Australia had a
    functioning carbon pricing and emissions trading scheme around 5 years ago.
    It was canned by the Abbott government after mounting the mother of all scare
    campaigns about $100 lamb roasts and the town of Whyalla being wiped off the map.
  • The energy road to nowhere
    Are you as exasperated and disgusted as I am with the political
    antics exposed during the renewed debate about energy policy?
    Are you appalled by our parliamentarian’s persistent inability to
    collaborate in making decisions about how to tackle climate change?
    These are rhetorical questions. I know the answers.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Newspoll: The Killing Machine

In the following thirty-six hours the next Newspoll will be published. If it is as poor a result for Labor as was last week's Nielsen Poll, the leadership frenzy will reach an even more feverish pitch. Frantic media packs will jostle to assail every politician entering and leaving parliament, thrust...

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The culture of disrespect

In the week just gone there was an extraordinary coincidence of events that starkly reminded us of just how much disrespect contaminates our society, most of it directed towards women. It is a scourge that dates back for centuries, one though that the forward-looking fondly believed was losing groun...

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What is the role of political blogsites?

Political blogsites proliferate almost by the week. Many reside in the Fifth Estate. While a few declare their political orientation overtly, most do not. It is possible though to ascertain this by reading the pieces they post. While some purport to be ‘balanced’, ready to criticize any ...

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Political hatred: Is there a remedy?

The short answer to the question is ‘Yes’. The longer answer is ‘Yes’, but with a string of caveats. While the piece just gone: Political hatred: its genesis and its toll, attempted to define the origins of political hatred and describe the terrible damage it is causing, the ...

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Political hatred: its genesis and its toll

We’ve known for ages that there are pockets of political hatred in the electorate that fester away and erupt from time to time, pouring their purulent discharge over the political discourse, offending many with its stench. But how many of you can remember such an exhibition of hatred as we hav...

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Who's been playing in MY estate? Yet more ferment in the fourth and fifth

When is a writer not a journalist but a blogger, and when is a writer/blogger a journalist? Who decides? Does it matter? Traditional or mainstream or 'old' media, and its power affiliates, are pushing back at the moment against the proliferation of small 'new media' online ventures fighting to be h...

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Feathers Fly at the Federal Chook House

Gather around kiddies and I’ll tell you a story.  Once upon a time there was a large farm where many farmyard animals lived. It was a very special ‘Animal Farm’. The farmer loved all his animals, but most of all his big flock of chooks. The farmer loved chooks so much he coll...

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Living within our means, Hockey style

You have to give it to the Coalition propaganda machine – it never fails to come up with a brand new slogan with which it can belabor the Government. We are now being told by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey that we must ‘live within our means’. How many times have we heard that? Otherwi...

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Grasping at prime ministership the Abbott way

Let’s be clear from the outset. The lead up to the September 14 election will not be a respectful contest of ideas, a civil battle of policies and plans. It will be a bare-knuckle street fight between personalities, with no holds barred. The Abbott way countenances no other approach. To seize ...

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David Marr joins ‘the most successful Opposition leader’ chorus

The first words in the online description of David Marr’s Quarterly Essay: Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott read: “Tony Abbott is the most successful Opposition leader of the last forty years, but he has never been popular. Now Australians want to know: what kind of man is he,...

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Policy making through the rear-view mirror

“We drive into the future using only our rear-view mirror” was one of the many notable aphorisms of Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher, futurist, and communications theorist of the sixties. If ever there was an image that captures Tony Abbott’s approach to public policy, this ...

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Abbott and the Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell connection

Voters need seriously to contemplate what it would be like to have an Abbott Government. They need to dig deeper than the slick slogans, the oft repeated mantras, the weasel words, the deviousness, and the blatant lies that escape Abbott’s lips day after day. They need to ask what makes this m...

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What was Leigh Sales’ intent with PM Gillard?

As Leigh Sales interviewed Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 7.30 last week, was she hoping it might remind viewers of her interview of Tony Abbott six months earlier, one that attracted widespread applause for its probing, her persistence, and her command of the interview? Looking back, she may be di...

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Polls perpetually poison politics

Imagine that last Thursday an alien arrived from Mars. He picked up the papers and read that the leader of this nation is under threat of losing her position. He wondered why. He is surprised that she is female. He speaks to a normal-looking local. For the sake of this piece, let’s imagine th...

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How to vote: first examine your values

How do voters decide on where to cast their vote? For some it is automatic, even unthinking. They have voted this way before, maybe always. They are the rusted-on voters. For many though, it's a question of “What’s in it for me?” “What will I gain if I vote this way and what...

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Cool courage trumps cringing cowardice

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
 Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men
 Couldn't put Humpty together again. For many of the opinionistas, PM Gillard is Humpty Dumpty. They insist that she has had a great fall, indeed one fall after another, and no amount of effo...

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The curse of the opinionistas

Reflect on how often you have heard a Fourth Estate political commentator argue: “Because of this set of facts, I am of the opinion that so and so is true”? Seldom. How often have you heard one of them say: “My opinion is based on the following propositions…”? Practica...

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Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, stop killing confidence

How many times have you heard commentators lamenting how low consumer and business confidence have become? Time and again. How many times have you seen journalists attempting to analyse why? Very few. How many times have you seen them sheet home any of the lack of confidence among consumers and busi...

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Don’t mention the polls

This is an open letter to all Federal Labor parliamentarians. Of all people, you must know that polls of voting intention this far from the scheduled election date of September 14 are not predictive of the election outcome. Even the pollsters themselves tell us that. They agree that trends over time...

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When will Tony Abbott fill the gaping void in his latest slogan: Hope. Reward. Opportunity?

The image of would-be Prime Minister Abbott as a hollow man, a lightweight on policy, and an economic dilettante would not have been diminished, let alone erased by his address in Canberra to the National Press Club of Australia: HOPE. REWARD. OPPORTUNITY. at the end of January. Here’s why. &...

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