• 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...
  • Looking after your mates
    At the same time as the state governments around Australia are
    trying to re-establish the ‘greater good’ by promoting COVID-19 testing
    when feeling even slightly unwell and vaccination (because the inconvenience
    of a test or injection is far outweighed by the lessening of risk of others catching
    the virus), the Morrison Government has redoubled its efforts to look after its mates.
  • Living under a dishonest leader
    There are few words here for you to read. They are not
    necessary to tell the lamentable tale of Morrison’s dishonesty;
    the embedded YouTube video does the talking. Malcolm Turnbull
    belled the cat in spectacular style during his remote
    National Press Club address on 29 September.
  • Looking for a loophole
    It’s a pity Barnaby Joyce’s stirring defence of Christian Porter on his demotion
    to the back bench wasn’t an out of season April Fool’s joke. Recently The
    Guardian reported. On Monday, Joyce told reporters in Canberra Porter was
    “incredibly intelligent” and had been an “incredibly capable” minister, suggesting
    he could return after seeking re-election in his Western Australian seat of Pearce.
  • Fomenting fear and loathing
    What appalling scenes we’ve witnessed recently in Melbourne:
    its streets engulfed by protestors marching to who knows where, or why. Do they?
    The Westgate Freeway, the major arterial to the Western suburbs, was blocked and
    traffic disrupted by marchers plodding to the other side.
    Then where? Who knows what their purpose was?

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The accidental prime minister

Our current prime minister assumed office on 18 September 2013. He was elected as leader of the opposition on 1 December 2009, taking over from Malcolm Turnbull who lost the leadership spill by one vote. Joe Hockey, the current Australian treasurer, also stood for election as party leader and oppos...

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The Piketty divide: Part 2

The Right (and I include big business in that) is scathing of Piketty’s conclusions, and of his re-introduction of the role of government into economics. Please forgive a few longer quotes to illustrate the venom of the Right: Louis Woodhill, a software entrepreneur, claims Piketty has his n...

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The Piketty divide: Part 1

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the twenty-first century has taken America by storm. It rose to the top of Amazon’s best-selling list. It brings a scholarly perspective to the issue of rising inequality and of wealth being concentrated in the hands of the few. It has been compared to Marx&r...

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Who’s right?

Back in April, Senator Brandis wrote an article (reported on the ABC) in which he claimed that although he believed humans were causing global warming he was ‘really shocked by the sheer authoritarianism of those who would have excluded from the debate the point of view of people who were cli...

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The speech I would like to hear

Last year on TPS I posted a blog ‘What happened to leadership and conviction?’ and bemoaned the fact that modern politicians are so poll-driven, rather than seeking to drive the polls by driving the policy debate. This year in a number of posts, ‘Whither the Left’, ‘Br...

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Bikies, Bullying and Bigotry

It takes a certain amount of self-belief and trust in yourself to get to the top of any profession. Some knowledge also helps. However some people who rise to the top of various professions seem to be able to retain a sense of humbleness and a keen interest in their fellow humans — others don...

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Letter to Bill Shorten - part 2

Here is the second part of a letter to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, written by an ardent Labor supporter, Ad Astra. The Hon Bill Shorten, MP Leader of the Federal Opposition Dear Mr ShortenHealth and disability Labor has a proud record in health care, one acknowledged by the electo...

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Letter to Bill Shorten: Part 1

There must be many ardent Labor supporters who would wish to transmit their thoughts to Opposition Leader Bill Shorten about how Labor ought to proceed over the coming months. Ad Astra is one such supporter. Here is a letter he sent to Mr Shorten. The Hon Bill Shorten, MP Leader of the Federal Opp...

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The wonderful world of economic rationalists

The world of the economic rationalists took hold in politics in the 1980s. Their approach, which was discussed in ‘The rise and fall of a shibboleth’, has moulded the world for the past 30 years. Government decisions regarding national economies have been guided by it. International bodi...

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The rise and fall of a shibboleth

Firstly I must acknowledge that the title of this article was inspired by the words of the 1994 song ‘Shibboleth’ by Melbourne band, The Killjoys. In this case, the shibboleth I am referring to is ‘economic rationalism’, an expression that distinguishes the Right from the L...

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Red red wine

It’s not news to anyone that Barry O’Farrell resigned as New South Wales Premier after giving ICAC (the New South Wales anti-corruption body) misleading information over a bottle of 1959 Penfolds Grange he received as a gift from Nick Di Girolamo, a person associated with a Sydney Water...

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Lords and Ladies, a morality tale …

The spruiker Lords and Ladies, I invite you on a journey into a world that is imaginable to only a few. A frightening world where nothing is what it seems. Your guide will be our jester Tiny-er-er O’penmouth. He will make you laugh. He will make you cry. You will find ecstasy in his grovellin...

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Truth with partisan on the side, but hold the bias, please: Part 2

The impartially partisan political journalist Part 1 of ‘Truth with partisan on the side’ ended with the suggestion that we might be in a muddle in political journalism in Australia, a muddle about ‘partisan, but not biased, journalism versus impartial or objective or “neutr...

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Truth with partisan on the side, but hold the bias, please: Part 1

Quite in love with Jonathan Green I love Jonathan Green. Indeed, I’ve been quite in love with Jonathan Green for yonks. And that, in media-land, is called ‘disclosure’ (or ‘the big reveal’? Whatever.) Disclosure is important because this piece is partisan. Whether pro...

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Bringing Gross National Happiness into play

In my series of articles about where the Left should be heading in our new world, I suggested that adopting Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a measure of economic progress should be one element of a new approach for the Left. In this piece I will examine why that is important, what it means, and h...

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Number 982

Michael Gawenda was the editor of The Age newspaper in Melbourne from 1997 until 2004. He is currently a Fellow of University of Melbourne’s Centre for Advancing Journalism, after serving as the inaugural Director of the Centre in 2009. After finishing school, he studied economics and politic...

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In a galaxy far, far away … Australia

At Davos in Switzerland in January this year the 44th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) took place. About 2,600 representatives of government, business, civil society and academia took part, from over a hundred countries. Australian businesses that attended included Leighton Holdings...

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Is Australia becoming a guided democracy?

On 8 February 2014, there was a by-election for the federal seat of Griffith due to the resignation from politics of the former member Kevin Rudd. Terri Butler, representing the ALP, won the seat. This comment was posted on the Fairfax Media’s on-line coverage of the event: I think I'd prefe...

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Whither the Left: Part 3

Gross National Happiness, people power and Labor In Part 2 of these articles I discussed the Left’s approach to the new world in which we now live and suggested that adopting a measure such as Gross National Happiness (GNH) could help create a new approach to economics. I intend discussing th...

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Whither the Left: Part 2

A new world for the Left The break-up of the Soviet Union, the Velvet and Orange Revolutions and the Arab Spring show that mass movements can still achieve social and political change, with or without violence. But the capacity of the State is a key factor in such circumstances — whether it h...

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