• 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?
  • 60% of something
    The Monthly’s politics newsletter recently asked ‘For how long do we
    pretend ”better than the Coalition” equals “good enough”? It’s a damn
    good question. Prior to the election, now Prime Minister Albanese
    launched a plan that would reduce Australia’s 2030 carbon
    emissions by 43% when compared to 2005 levels.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

What have the unions ever done for us?

Monty Python’s Life of Brian was recently shown on free to air TV. For those that haven’t seen it, the story revolves around Brian, who lives in Palestine during the Roman occupation and somehow is involved with a group of people that want to overthrow the Roman occupation. The movie en...

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Where have all the public services gone?

Where have all the services gone? Gone to corporates every one. When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn? A year or two back, where I live, the local water provider received approval to increase the price of water. It had been involved in major infrastructure spending to enhance th...

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We are all victims of short term expediency

In Australia, politicians are elected for either three or four year terms. The conventional wisdom is that the first year of their term is working out what they want to change — usually masquerading as ‘fixing up the mess’ left to them by their predecessors. The second year (and t...

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Is the free market free?

On 2 September when the Senate passed the repeal of the mining tax, the legislation included a considerable slowing of the process to increase superannuation for workers. Senator Lazarus for PUP, and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, both emphasised that this gave individuals more money in their ow...

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Jesus was a refugee

I regularly drive past a Christian church in a suburb of Brisbane that has a reputation for being a ‘nice’ area. When I drive past as a service is concluding, the attendees are going to their newish model cars to return to their homes that, if they live in the same area, are worth more ...

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Words, words, words

Lenore Taylor reported in August that Tony Abbott had told a ministerial meeting that the party had not broken any election promises, not one. My first reaction was that this was the sign of a narcissistic personality, someone who cannot bear to be wrong. On second thought, I pondered that perhaps ...

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Middle Australia: a new narrative for Labor?

Tucked away in one of the last Fairfax-Nielsen public opinion polls in mid-July is the intriguing fact that although the ALP was leading on a two party preferred basis, and Bill Shorten was preferred as Prime Minister to Tony Abbott, Abbott was ‘way ahead of Mr Shorten on the issue of “...

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There is no ‘I’ in Team

Welcome to ‘Team Australia’. The usual connotation of the word ‘team’ is a group of people that pull together for the common good. Business these days seems to encourage people to form teams, whether the purpose is the development or implementation of a new product, or to a...

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A year in Abbottland

Twelve months into the Abbott government, its misdeeds could fill an entire book. But here I’ll attempt to summarize them, as it’s important we remember them all to maintain the rage. If you think this article is too long, blame Tony Abbott. For 28 months, they promised to reveal all...

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Whose freedom?

Many years ago, I think during the Reagan years, the US was on one of its regular attacks on China’s human rights record and the lack of freedom for its citizens, and I recall someone from the Chinese side replying to the effect that Chinese citizens could walk their city streets at night wit...

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What is the Hockey budget all about?

Does anyone out there know? Does Hockey know? Does Cormann? Does Abbott know? Do his Cabinet and his backbench know? The commentators and the voters have their ideas, but do they really know what is behind the Hockey Budget? Readers will not find a definitive answer here; I don’t know more th...

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Debt crisis — what debt crisis?

Let’s face it; the Australian public has been bashed around the ears for years by the LNP about the level of government debt. Some economists would contend that Australia doesn’t have any debt — and certainly not a debt problem. Unfortunately, this piece has to contain some histo...

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The government doesn’t understand

For those who have followed my comments on TPS, you will probably know by now that my working life was spent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs — and I still prefer that nomenclature even though the government changed it to indigenous affairs some time ago. This piece is about a...

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You reap what you sow

During the June prior to Senate changeovers, as June 2014 is, it is traditional for retiring senators to give a valedictory speech. Senator Ron Boswell (LNP Queensland) gave his speech on 17 June after 31 years in the Senate. Although never a cabinet minister, Boswell is renowned for fighting off a...

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Do you know a con-artist when you see one?

After many pieces about many issues, I’m ready to have my say about Abbott himself. So sit back with a beer, or a glass of your best red, and come along for a short ride. I won’t bother going over his broken promises and lies. There are many other people already doing that. The only...

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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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