• 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.

Journalists awake! You know Tony Abbott is conning you

Do you sense that ‘The Great Awakening’ has begun? For countless months we have read innumerable stories of doom and gloom about Labor’s prospects, endless stories of threats to Julia Gillard’s leadership, a ‘Ruddstoration’ just around the corner, deadlines for th...

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The scourge of the rent-seekers

When we were young there was no such word as ‘rent-seeker’. In fact the word was not coined until 1974. Wikipedia informs us that the term derives from the far older practice of appropriating a portion of production by gaining ownership or control of land. In economics, rent-seeking is a...

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Media in the middle

Older readers will recall the days when news was purveyed only via newspapers and the radio. Although that was a long while ago, and memories of those days are dimmed by the efflux of time, my recollection of that era was one where reporters ferreted out the facts from wherever they were hidden, ver...

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Abbott and the Goebbels Factor

As an example of emotion overwhelming reason, there is no more compelling one in Federal politics than the indifferent standing our PM enjoys in the eyes of the electorate, judged by the one metric that is regularly thrust in our faces as a legitimate measure – opinion polls. Leaving aside the...

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The pathology of leadership speculation

I use the word ‘pathology’ advisedly, meaning as it does ‘the study and diagnosis of disease’. For a ‘disease’ it is, a disease that afflicts politicians and commentators alike. While curiosity about leadership is understandable and ‘normal’, the conte...

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Lost: Tony’s Toxic Tax – Finder: Please Return to Owner

July 1, Tony’s Toxic Tax Day, came and went. Collective breaths were held – but Australia carried on as usual. The sun rose in the East. The sky did not fall in. Whyalla survived. Abbott rabbitted on – after all it was TTT Day. What else could he do? That day, in Abbott’s po...

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Is the job of the Opposition to oppose? NO.

How many times have you heard those who think they know, say this: ‘The job of the Opposition is to oppose’? It might be the worker at the pub who says this as he raises his schooner of VB to his thirsty lips. It might be the young professional as she sips her Margaret River Chardonnay ...

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Applying facts and logic in the asylum seeker issue

The issue of asylum seekers arriving on our shores in boats has been highly politicized, so much so that the political players have locked themselves into positions from which they cannot or will not retreat. The Pacific Solution We all know the history. It began in 2001 with John Howard’s &l...

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Tony Abbott – the man who walks away

Tony Abbott is playing us all for suckers. He believes, and the contemporary polls of voting intention support his belief, that come 2013 he will waltz into The Lodge with no more than we see from him day after day. He believes that he will do that by opposing everything the Gillard Government is tr...

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As the Fourth Estate falters, how should the Fifth Estate respond?

In the same way that climate scientists have been warning us of the changes we can expect from global warming, media climate analysts have been warning us of the changes we can expect from the digitalization of the media. But no one predicted the precipitous changes we have seen this week. Nobody pr...

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Australia is 'The Sweet Spot’ to be

In recent days we have luxuriated in great economic news: strong growth, low inflation, falling interest rates, low unemployment, good jobs data, renewed triple A rating by Moody’s, low net national debt, massive investment in the pipeline, and an upbeat RBA and Federal Government. Each piece ...

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Complexity – the Great Australian Aversion

Close your eyes and reflect for a moment on news items you have seen or heard on commercial TV or radio in recent times. What characterizes them? They are almost invariably short, sensational, overly dramatized, sometimes squalid, and often portray conflict between people or groups or races. In rece...

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Has Tony Abbott got a Plan B?

Plan A has been around since Tony Abbott became Leader of the Opposition – to seize government by any means. Trying to seize government in itself is unsurprising. Trying to achieve that by any means brings into play what Abbott’s ‘means’ comprise. I have said from the beginni...

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Gillard won't lie down and die - Abbott's dilemma

Prediction in politics is fraught but tempting. Will Tuesday 29 May 2012 go down in Australian political history as the day the decline of Tony Abbott, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, accelerated? This was the day he announced to the Coalition party room: "Gillard won't lie down and ...

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What is making Labor stalwarts gloomy?

It no longer surprises us that Graham Richardson (Richo) emits gloom about Labor whenever he appears in the media. He knows on which side his bread is buttered. While he may believe what he says, he says it with such conviction and enthusiasm that the casual observer could be excused for thinking he...

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How to turn the polls around in six months

Bear with me. Join me in a little game. Let’s imagine that you have won the biggest lottery prize ever – the ownership of the Murdoch media empire in Australia. You now control it and its editorial policy. You can decide on the stories you will run, the headlines, the text, and how you w...

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The polluting power of poisonous politics

We are witnessing the most disgraceful campaign of poisonous politics this country has ever experienced. It is perniciously eroding the confidence of the people in its elected Federal Government. The campaign is aided and abetted by much of the mainstream media, which faithfully echoes the disingenu...

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Julia Gillard can defeat Tony Abbott in 2013. But how does she neutralize Rupert Murdoch?

The ‘secret’ is out. We have known for ages that Rupert Murdoch has wanted PM Gillard out. Robert Manne wrote about Murdoch’s aspiration in The Monthly in Bad News: Robert Manne on Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping on the Nation and many, many in the Fifth Estate have test...

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No Room in the Lifeboats

  In the last, few tumultuous weeks we have seen emerge an irresistible metaphor for all that is wrong in Australian politics. In perfect harmony with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original RMS Titanic, events in modern Australia have taken on an uncanny resemblance to the d...

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Why do journalists have so much difficulty being objective?

Let’s acknowledge that ‘being objective’ is a challenge not just for journalists. All of us have the same struggle. All of us bring to what we say and write our own beliefs, ideology, biases, prejudices, preferences, hopes and desires – our own personal agenda. This piece use...

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