• A return to good manners
    The ABC’s Virginia Trioli writes a ‘weekend read’ which is emailed out most Saturday
    mornings. A few weeks ago, there was the story about 'a bakery of the kind of layered,
    puffed, frosted, creamy delights that you'd usually only see on the table of your just-baptised
    cousin.' that has been trading for eleven years, earning a wonderful reputation for its
    products. Nat, the owner, had even being invited to be a guest on Masterchef.
  • Whatever it takes
    Some years ago, a plumber was telling me when they came back from the local
    pie shop with lunch to that day’s worksite, they heard someone inside. The
    plumber and his trades assistant were the only people scheduled to be on
    site that day, so they split up, covered both entrances to the building and discovered
    someone removing the copper pipe the plumber had spent the morning installing.
  • The real opposition
    Just as the government is trying to find its feet at times, the opposition Coalition is also in
    the same boat. The recent claims of ‘Airbus Albo’ made by the opposition along with their
    friends on ‘Sky after dark’ really haven’t jelled as an attack line when the government’s response,
    apparently backed up by the leaders of foreign nations, is they are attempting to undo the
    decade of neglect to this country’s foreign relationships by the Coalition when they were in power.
  • Avoiding the lunatic fringe
    The Australian political system is far from perfect. We have made an
    art form out of humiliation and ill treatment of refugees that choose to
    come to Australia. We have sat on our hands for over a decade and
    chosen to have an argument about emissions reduction while observing
    that we seem to be having more ‘one off’ climatic events than ever.
  • Privatise the Profits
    Despite concerns, there were no electricity shortages — load shedding — on
    Australia’s east coast during May or June. The outcome was managed by Australia’s
    Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO), the body responsible for maintaining
    the apparent delicate balance between supply and demand in a network that doesn’t
    have enough off-line storage to keep any surplus electricity produced until needed.
  • Another way of doing politics
    Are you are weary of contemporary politics as I am? Weary of the continual
    ‘left’ versus ‘right’ tussle? Weary of its sameness, day after boring day? Why
    is there always such a stark difference of opinion between those who seek to
    further enrich, to further advantage those who already have an abundance
    of this world’s bounty, and those who desire a more even distribution?

The Political Sword

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More on framing the political debate - the key to winning

In the first of this short series on framing: Framing the political debate – the key to winning, I described the concept of political framing as developed by cognitive scientist and linguist George Lakoff, which he described in his book The Political Mind. I illustrated it with examples drawn fr...

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Framing the political debate - the key to winning

Why did Tony Abbott thrive as Leader of the Opposition, but turn out to be such a dud as Prime Minister? What was it about his period in opposition that was so different from his period as the nation’s leader? There are many possible answers to these questions. This piece asserts tha...

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A musical interlude for the holidays

[Woody Guthrie] In my piece ‘Are you sure you’re not a radical?’ I wrote: ‘Over the centuries folk music has been important in supporting the oppressed and Ireland and many countries in South America have a long tradition of revolutionary music.’ So I have chosen in this ‘summer recess’ to p...

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… and suddenly it’s 2016

Welcome to 2016 from The Political Sword and we behind the keyboards hope that the forthcoming year is everything you wish for. In what seems to be a tradition, we start 2016 with a different prime minister, promises of better government and the reality of more spin, marketing and political...

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Farewell 2015 — you could have been worse

It is common at this time of the year to reflect on what was, what could have been and how it all manages to fit into the ‘scheme of things’. This article is the 50th piece posted to The Political Sword in 2015 — and, if we didn’t have enough to do, late in January we changed the look and feel...

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Lords and Ladies, a new morality tale for a new time

The spruiker Lords and Ladies, I beseech of your time as I come before you to continue the tale of the kingdom wherein resided Tiny-er-er O’penmouth. I beg of you to bring to mind my last tale when, although no more than a lowly jester, he created himself anew as Tiny Napoleon O’penmouth,...

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Where does all the water go?

With parliament about to go into its summer recess and an El Nino summer in the offing, meaning less rain (particularly in the eastern states) and raising the prospect of water restrictions in major urban areas, I thought it timely to have a look at what happens to water in Australia — how muc...

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Entitlement makes up for lost production

Joe Hockey was fond of talking about the end of the age of entitlement, basically meaning that people should not expect support from government and should buy their services in the market — including health and education services if he had had his way. There are, however, various good reasons...

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The year of morals and ethics

It is likely that 2015 will be remembered around the world as the year when morals and ethics overcame deception and greed. There are a number of examples that could be given with regard to investment funds, rorting allowances and living circumstances as well as just corporate greed. Let’s just ...

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You can't patent ethics

Recently you may have missed the news that Yvonne D’arcy won her case in the Australian High Court. D’arcy had been involved in legal action against Myriad Genetics, a US biotech firm that developed a test to determine if people have a predisposition towards breast cancer. This was ground breaki...

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Are you sure you’re not a radical?

Back in September the government released its radicalisation awareness kit. The example contained in it of radical greenie Karen became the centre of attention in the twitterverse, on social media and in the mainstream media but should our concern end there? All the detail and the booklet ...

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Won’t get fooled again

Last week, we published an article demonstrating that Prime Minister Turnbull really hasn’t changed all that much. While he has fiddled around the edges and has shown some ability in attempting to explain policy better, Australia is still treating refugees who attempt to come here abysmally; there i...

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Same old same old

[Can you pick the difference?] On 14 September, Malcom Turnbull was elected leader of the Liberal party and, as a consequence, became the 29th prime minister of Australia. There was an almost immediate change in the timbre of political discussion. But has anything else changed? For exam...

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Pass the Popcorn

It is now a month into the prime ministership of Malcolm Turnbull. Based on previous history, Turnbull is considered to be a ‘left wing’ Liberal, judging on his pronouncements over the years — being in favour of emissions reduction, same sex marriage, Fibre to the Home (FTTH) internet connection...

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The philosophical myth of neo-liberalism

In my pieces I often refer to neo-liberalism. As explained in my pieces last year, ‘Whose freedom?’ and ‘Whose responsibility?’, the neo-liberal idea of freedom is based on the rational self-interested individual and it also adopts the approach of ‘negative’ freedom (following Isaiah Berlin...

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The silent majority

It’s not a secret that former Prime Minister Abbott is a ‘committed Christian’. Former Prime Minister Rudd also wore his Christianity on his sleeve — frequently shown on the Sunday night news answering questions outside a church in his electorate. Both are entitled to their beliefs, as are the...

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Another failure in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs

What is wrong with this paragraph from a report in July regarding the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander work-for-the-dole scheme? A Territory community’s work for the dole program is about to collapse, with accusations a Sydney-based company stands to keep receiving funding while nothing ...

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Pluto and the conservative mindset

In 1930, Clyde W. Tombaugh found a ninth planet in our solar system and, after a time being known as ‘Planet X’, it gained the name Pluto. Contrary to popular belief, the planet wasn’t named after the Disney character or the nuclear element plutonium; rather the planet was named after the Roman ...

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Bankers 3 Democracy 0 with Abbott running the sideline

In a piece in June, ‘The unhappy marriage of democracy and capitalism’, I discussed the then situation in Greece and the way democracy was being ignored by the wielders of economic power, particularly the bankers and the power brokers of the financial system. Since then the bankers have won, t...

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The challenge of renewables

Later this year a conference will be held in Paris that will determine the global response to climate change. While the international jockeying has commenced, it seems there is a ‘tipping point’ that, if exceeded, will ensure that the world will never be the same again. Australia’s contributio...

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