• 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.

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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Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliché and the lazy Australian media

VexNews writes today of something that has occurred to more than one person: the Slipper ‘scandal’ looks like a stitch-up. The Murdoch press and the Liberal Party have form. The VexNews article distilled the suspicions of a lot here, and I'm sure a lot out in the community. Even a nomin...

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Why does Julia Gillard have so much trouble getting her message across?

How many times have you heard this question asked, or its more pointed version: ‘Julia Gillard just can’t seem to get her message across’? Or as Barrie Cassidy said recently: ‘Even when she has a good message to get out, she can’t seem do so’. What a mystery it is...

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The three stooges play budget games

Scene: A villa on the Gold Coast. Mathias Cormann: This is nice Joe, how did you find this place – on the beach, rolling surf, blue skies, leggy blondes on the sand… Joe Hockey: Thank Tony. He’s a good mate of Clive Palmer – it’s his pad. He thought we needed some pea...

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Fear, uncertainty and doubt grip the Coalition

Rusted-on Coalition supporters will find the title of this piece laughable. Those who regard the next Federal election as a shoe-in for Tony Abbott should read no further. What follows may be unnerving. With just about every pundit, and even two-bit commentators predicting a win for Tony Abbott and...

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Why Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election

The prophets of doom will dismiss this piece as ridiculous. The likes of Dennis Shanahan, Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, and of course the shock jocks, Alan Jones and Co., have long since written off Julia Gillard and her Government and have confidently predicted an annihilation of the proportions seen...

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No Tony, it’s the Abbott brand that’s toxic

toxic adj: 1. containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation 2. extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful. Tony Abbott, the second definition fits you to a tee. You are fond of describing things as ‘toxic’: the ‘toxic’ ca...

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Abbott’s atrophy

Supporters of Tony Abbott will not enjoy this piece. They will likely read only part of it, and rejecting its proposition, will go elsewhere where writers say nice thinks about the man who wants to be the next leader of this nation, the man who insists he will be the ‘next elected Prime Minist...

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More falsehoods of the $8bn BER ‘waste’ claims

The first part of this post concluded by indicating the follow-up would reveal more of the fables around the Federal Opposition claim of $8 billion ‘waste’ in the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program. The definition I am using for ‘fable’ is numbered 8 in the 1993...

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Nonsense of $8bn BER ‘waste’ claims exposed

Claims by Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne of $8 billion “waste” in the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program are nonsense. Independent cost estimates by quantity surveyors of 130 Government schools throughout Australia e...

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