• 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.

Beware of rabid zealots

Let’s remind ourselves of the meaning of ‘zealot’. Historically, it denoted a member of a fanatical sect in Judea during the first century AD that militantly opposed the Roman domination of Palestine. Today it describes a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of religious, political,...

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Sorry IPA

Australia is still having the discussion on the benefits of waste reduction and until recently it was considered economically rational to send semi-trailers full of household and business waste from New South Wales to Queensland to avoid disposal fees. In other parts of the world (even Trump’s deepe...

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Has Australia become a nation of crooks?

I’ve been an Australian for a long while now. I always thought that Aussies were a decent bunch, wedded to the notion of a fair go for everyone, always willing to give their mates a hand up when they were down. I’ve seen example after example of this mateship among ordinary folk. We’ve all seen ...

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Sacred Cows

It’s time to kill some political and social sacred cows. (With apologies to members of the Hindu faith and vegetarians for the imagery.) Politicians cannot change their mind Of course they can and they shouldn’t be pilloried for it. Shorten recently suggested that he would be legislating to renege...

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The folly of trying to comprehend Trump

Journalists around the world seem hell-bent on trying to explain the behaviour of Donald Trump. They analyse his every move, seeking to find meaning, intent on finding some underlying logic, earnestly looking for an explanatory motive for his actions and attitudes. While this obsession is understand...

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Is the world swerving extreme right?

Are you as alarmed as I am when you see on our TV screens, or hear on the radio, or read in our disappearing newspapers about the deteriorating state of democracy in Europe, Asia, the United States of America, Africa, the Middle East, even in our own country? Do you see, as I do, the rise of extr...

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Cash cows and emasculation

Fanaticism is a concerning thing. It is a concern when some people cannot understand that there is sometimes a perfectly acceptable alternative to a view they hold dearly and to the exclusion of all others. For many years the Australian ‘Supercars’ racing circuit prospered on the rivalry between tho...

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Privatise and perish

Once upon a time in a land not so far away, the governments that supplied services actually controlled the services they supplied. The main form of transportation at the time, the railways, were known as the Government Railways because they were actually run by the government of the day. Governments...

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The admirable politician

Look back over items published on The Political Sword over the years and you will see countless pieces that describe the appalling state of politics here and overseas and the disgraceful behaviour of many politicians in our own and other countries. It’s depressing to read of their dishonesty, their ...

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The perils of popularism

This week we originally were going to be discussing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party and their apparent habit of losing Senators. After all, to lose one Senator is careless, two is a concern and so on. Apart from the Betoota Advocate doing the satire better, they also bring in the relevant point of...

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The merchants of venality

Venality: the quality of being open to bribery or overly motivated by money. Wherever we look, venality flourishes. Attune yourself to it and you’ll see evidence of it every day on TV and radio, and in the print and electronic media. You can’t escape its tentacles. It’s all pervading. Where s...

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Truth or Dare

I was talking with a couple of smokers the other day after a meeting and in the general conversation about life, the universe and everything, innocently I asked the ‘how much is a packet of cigarettes these days’ question. I was really happy that I don’t smoke when I was told that a packet of 30 cig...

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Banks and the Coalition: birds of a feather

Culture, governance and remuneration have been identified by industry gurus as prime factors contributing to the deplorable state of banking and the financial industry in Australia. Nobody is disputing this. This piece postulates that precisely the same factors have reduced the government of this co...

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Man the life rafts

It is probably an urban myth that the dance band on the Titanic were playing Nearer my God to Thee as they went to a watery death with the ship. The Titanic was ‘unsinkable’ and somehow it was deemed the ship didn’t need enough life saving devices on board to accommodate all the passengers and crew ...

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Bully boys

Did you notice the behaviour of Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull during Budget week? Were you comfortable with the words and actions of our treasurer and prime minister? How did you expect them to conduct themselves? It is reasonable to expect such important office holders to be assured, confi...

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Family secrets and economic growth

Most families have secrets that have been kept behind closed doors for generations. It could be that your grandparents lived happily together for 50 years or more, brought up their children extremely well (careful – it’s your parents you are judging here!) and contributed to society to the day they ...

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Morally unfit...

It was James Comey, ex FBI director, who labeled Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, as “…morally unfit to be president”. He said much more. He did not question Trump’s mental capacity; it was his morality. “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional ...

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Resetting the ethical compass

In 1982, a small number of people died in the US state of Illinois as a result of ingesting poison that had been illegally added to a common painkiller named Tylenol, which is marketed by Johnson & Johnson. As you would expect, an investigation followed and the determination was that a person or...

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Truth tampering – a sinister political reality

Australians were justifiably shocked, appalled and embarrassed by the ball tampering our test cricketers attempted last month in South Africa. Somehow, better was expected of them. After all, they were playing the gentlemen’s game – cricket – where any cheating was simply ‘not cricket’. Why then ...

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A winning culture

A lot of elite sportspeople are paid very well for what they do, dependent on the depth of the pockets of the club and governing body of the chosen sport. The training and restrictions on elements of their daily lives due to commercial considerations do, to an extent, justify the salaries and undoub...

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