• Voter ID and dead cats
    If you are over 18 you will be legally required to vote in a Federal Election between
    now and next May. If the Coalition Government gets its way, next time you vote
    in a Federal Election you will have to produce proof of identity before you are handed
    the ballot papers. The Coalition have been talking about this for quite some time.
  • Invasion Day
    No, we’re not getting in early for that date at the end of January.
    Although there is considerable substance to the claim from first nations
    people that Australia had a civilisation long before Arthur Philip turned up
    with a number of ships and people that were a social problem the
    English decided to export rather than manage.
  • Where has all the kindness gone?
    Here is another brief offering. It does not need to be
    lengthy because its message is straightforward.
    It asks the question: “Where has all the kindness gone?”
    and its corollary: ”Why not be kind to one another?”.
  • Do the crime – do the time
    The reason Dominic Perrottet became Premier of New South Wales
    is Gladys Berejiklian chose to join the select group of Liberal Party
    New South Wales Premiers that resigned before undergoing the scrutiny
    of a New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption public hearing.
  • Should the cowboys rule?
    For someone that claims to have Australia’s best interests at heart, Prime
    Minister Scott Morrison makes some strange choices. He originally claimed
    he wasn’t going to the Glasgow GOP26 Meeting of World Leaders because
    it would mean he would be required to undergo another two weeks of isolation.
  • 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...

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

NAPLAN — a guide or a competition

Most educational institutions in Australia have a ‘tag line’ — a statement that is supposed to be a pithy description of what the entire school community believes in. It isn’t surprising that a lot of the ‘tag lines’ have something to do with recognising the individual talents of each student and ...

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Government budget trickery

I would like to state upfront that I already had the word ‘trickery’ in this title before Bill Shorten used it in his Budget Reply speech. I could say he stole it from me but I suspect he thought of it himself. It is such an appropriate word for this budget. One thing Bill Shorten didn’t m...

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Hope for the homeless

Throughout the world there are people who ’sleep rough’ every night. For a few, that is the way they choose to spend their lives; for the majority, however, the habit is not one of choice or desire — the choice is made for them due to circumstances relating to employment or their personal live...

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Are budgets worth the paper they’re written on?

In this little exercise I have gone through commonwealth government budgets from 1999‒2000 to 2013‒14 to study changes in the figures. The figures for each budget can vary quite significantly. For quite a few years now we have had the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) which up...

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The saga of Billy Gordon

On January 31 this year, Billy Gordon joined a very select group — indigenous members of parliament in Australia. He won the seat of Cook in far north Queensland from the LNP and joined the Queensland parliament as part of the minority ALP government. Late in March, the State parliament sat for ...

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Beware, there is a plan

There is much talk about the ‘chaos’ of the Abbott government but take a close look at what has been done, what it is talking about, and the reports it is gathering together. We need to look beyond the political catch-cries of the ‘debt and deficit disaster’ and ‘Labor’s mess’ and examine what is d...

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Instant Experts

To be in public life you need to have a sense of self-belief. How else would you cope with those that feel they can criticise your actions, private life, as well as decisions you have made in the past? ‘Stars’ such as elite sports professionals, actors, performers and so on can demonstrate that th...

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How the economic rationalists tried to steal our hearts and minds

At the start of the year in my piece ‘Proud to be a bigot’ I mentioned that, before Abbott, Australian governments tended to look after those who were ‘down on their luck’. It was a phrase with which I grew up. People who were unemployed were not ‘dole bludgers’ ...

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The ‘trickle-down’ effect

Next time a conservative politician or acquaintance tells you that tax cuts for the better off will help the state or nation’s economy, you might want to have ‘the discussion’. Tax cuts for the better off is part of a theory of economics known as ‘trickle-down’ that se...

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Intergenerational Reports: what are they on about?

There have now been four Intergenerational Reports (IGR) from 2002  to 2015, issued by three treasurers: Costello (2),  Swan  and Hockey.  They were meant to come out at five-yearly intervals but Swan (and Rudd, although officially they are the Treasurer’s report) brought f...

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Does social media influence politics?

The new fashion in Australian politics seems to be leadership change. In the past ten years, we’ve seen Rudd overthrown by Gillard (only to succeed in a subsequent challenge a couple of years later), three federal opposition leaders in the Rudd/Gillard government era, the overthrow of a Victorian p...

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Surprise, surprise …

Not very long ago, during the annual meltdown into the pleasantly torpid stasis that is the great Aussie January holiday time, Peter van Onselen zapped out this Tweet: From van Onselen, that was quite, well, shocking. More especially because just two days before he had tweeted: Peter van Onse...

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President Abbott: or why prime ministers should not be immune from removal by their party

After the failure of the ‘spill’ motion on 9 February, Abbott said: We think that when you elect a government, when you elect a prime minister, you deserve to keep that government and that prime minister until you have had a chance to change your mind. Ignoring that the polls were in...

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But we’ve done tax reform – haven’t we? (Part 2)

Last week we briefly looked at some of the problems with the current tax system. It seems that a number of those who should have a high level of understanding of the fundamental flaws in the current taxation system agree that the system needs reform. Price Waterhouse Coopers suggest: . . . there ...

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But we’ve done tax reform – haven’t we?

Here’s a tip for 2015. If the Abbott Government can remove the current opinion polls and stories of excess and incompetence from the front pages, it has been signalling that it intends to tackle ‘tax reform’ during the life of the current government. It wouldn’t be the first...

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Abbott continues to tell porkies

I was surprised during last December (and again in the past week after the unsuccessful spill motion) when Abbott and his ministers reverted to the line that the LNP government had inherited a huge budget deficit from Labor. Early in December they were claiming that Labor had been deceitful by goi...

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If you doubt the scientists, what about the actuaries?

There’s an old adage that if you want to know who will win an election follow the bookmakers’ odds or where the punters are putting their money rather than the polls (particularly when the polls are close). Something similar could be said of climate change. For Mr Abbott and others like...

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We’re all in this together

As human beings we each have a responsibility to care for humanity. Expressing concern for others brings inner strength and deep satisfaction. As social animals, human beings need friendship, but friendship doesn’t come from wealth and power, but from showing compassion and concern for other...

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Enjoy a new era at The Political Sword

On Saturday, 13 September 2008 Ad astra wrote: ‘This is the first posting of The Political Sword blog. Its focus is Australian politics. It is intended to give expression to those who have opinions about contemporary political events. In particular it will provide a forum for exposing decepti...

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Proud to be a bigot: a view from the barbie

Everyone knows about George Brandis’s now famous comment: People do have a right to be bigots, you know. In a free country, people do have rights to say things that other people find offensive or insulting or bigoted. I have decided to take him at his word and tell Tony Abbott to eff off ...

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