• You're paying too much
    And that has nothing to do with fuel marketing cycles that seem to afflict
    larger cities around the country, the cost of importing fuel because the
    multi-national refining companies have determined it is not economic to
    produce fuel in Australia or any one of the hundreds of other theories of
    why it now costs more than ever to fill up the car. It is all to do with politics.
  • They've got a mandate
    You’ve probably heard politicians and commentators suggest that
    various acts should be undertaken because ‘they’ve got a mandate’.
    One of the recent examples is new Environment Minister Angus Taylor
    claiming there is now a ‘mandate’ for a lack of any meaningful
    action on managing climate change in Australia.
  • The battle for the killer slogan
    I could commence this piece by debating why slogans influence voters,
    no matter how tiresome, no matter how monotonous. But why bother?
    We know they work. Why bother to question their use, or scorn those
    who use them? It is surely more practical to examine how to use them
    creatively. This piece is just the beginning of the search for the killer slogan.
  • The Coalition can’t manage money
    The Coalition can’t manage money. No, that’s not a misprint.
    The conventional wisdom, peddled by the Coalition, aided and
    abetted by opinion polls that always rate the Coalition ahead of Labor
    in managing the economy, is that ‘Labor can’t manage money’.
  • Extremism and Queensland
    Political extremism generally doesn’t condone rape, murder or shootings
    to achieve stated aims, however it does promote that there is no tolerance
    for differing opinions or compromise. A common statement from the conservative
    forces leading up to the last election was that the Australian Greens were extremists
    and more dangerous to Australia than either One Nation or United Australia Parties.
  • The Tag Line
    The recent election was an exercise in marketing and not much else
    Morrison promoted himself and ‘good economic management’ rather
    than the Coalition while flitting around the country handing out dollars
    to ‘deserving’ infrastructure projects, usually in marginal seats.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The Canberra Press Gallery stumbles – yet again

After filling so many column inches with stories about PM Gillard’s multiple ‘stumbles’, how embarrassing must it be for so many of the press pack to have themselves made such a monumental stumble this week. Still smarting from having stumbled almost two years ago, being caught fla...

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We are being conned by the polls – the Tarot Cards of politics

Imagine this – a world without opinion polls. Then ask yourself whether in such a world the leadership contest played out this week would have occurred at all. Consider on what it was based – a decline in the polls for the Government, in Julia Gillard’s popularity, and in her popul...

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The Gillard - Rudd comparative scorecard

Among the countless words that have been written and uttered since the contest between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd for leadership became overt, where have you read a comprehensive comparison of the two? All we have had is brief written accounts, short interviews, multiple sound bites of how the lea...

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Tony Abbott, we are sick of your lies

It is absurdly ironic that you, the one who has admitted on national TV that sometimes you do not tell the truth, should spend so much of your time and energy demonizing Julia Gillard as an inveterate liar, not to be trusted, even picking up on your favourite shock jock’s tag: ‘Ju-liar&r...

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Abbott’s amazing amnesia on insulation inquiry

Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, developed an amazing amnesia about the repeated Opposition calls for a Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP). Just 53 days after the call on June 16, 2010 by Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, for a Roya...

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Absurdities abound as Abbott wages a crass war

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is becoming more absurd every time he attacks the Home Insulation Program (HIP). The latest examples were his exaggerated claims about the HIP on November 24, 2011 in the House of Representatives and his January 31, 2012 address to the National Press Club. In introduc...

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How opinion polls poison politics

Imagine this – a political world free of opinion polls seeking voting intentions and leadership preferences. What would journalists write about? Would they, as they once did, revert to writing about genuine political issues, giving their readers the facts and their well-reasoned analysis of th...

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Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats and contemporary politics

Most people will have heard of Edward de Bono’s concept of parallel thinking, but fewer will know about his Six Thinking Hats Method of discourse. This piece is to explain this method and to suggest how it might be engaged to improve the quality of political debate among politicians, or if tha...

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What then makes a good political speech? An analysis

Over the change-of-year break, we have had the opportunity to appraise several political speeches. Some of you have ventured an opinion about the characteristics of a ‘good’ speech. Some have given straightforward advice about how to create such speeches; for others, creating good speech...

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What makes a good political speech? Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

This is the last in the series of change-of-year speeches. Some may consider it solely religious, but the scribes and Pharisees would have seen it as highly political. Compare it with the others in the series. Would you, as many do, rate it as the best speech of all time? Here is the source. It is ...

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What makes a good political speech? Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech

Although it was only 278 words and took only two minutes to deliver, US President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is regarded as one of the finest in American political history. It was given on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Ge...

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What makes a good political speech? Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech

Martin Luther King’s famous speech, delivered on 28 August 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. to a vast throng, is classed as one of the top ten speeches of all time; some would place it near the top. Here it is. The source is here. I am happy to join with you today in what will g...

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What makes a good political speech? PM Keating’s Redfern speech

This is a further speech for your appraisal in our change-of-year series of political speeches. Like the Kevin Rudd speech, it is about indigenous issues. Although there is still controversy about its authorship – between Paul Keating’s speech writer Don Watson and Keating himself &ndash...

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What makes a good political speech? PM Kevin Rudd’s Apology

This is the next in our change-of-year series of political speeches. Only the most bigoted amongst us were not moved by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples. It was widely regarded as an inspiring speech to parliament, one that brought the tears to count...

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New Year Greetings from The Political Sword

Greetings on New Year’s Day 2012 from The Political Sword. We wish all visitors a Happy New Year and a Productive and Satisfying 2012. 2012 will be an important year in Federal Politics, a year when our views need to be expressed. The Fifth Estate is playing an increasingly significant role i...

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What makes a good political speech? 'Light on the Hill' speeches

There seems to be tacit agreement among Labor people, and even among some journalists, that Ben Chifley’s ‘Light on the Hill’ address was a standard-setter for inspirational political speeches. Delivered in the aftermath of the Great Depression to an ALP Conference in 1949, it set ...

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What makes a good political speech?

There has been much recent comment about the quality of political speeches, and indeed this has been so over the life of the Gillard Government and in fact during the period of the Rudd Government too. Commentators, most of which have likely never written a political speech, feel qualified to commen...

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The Layman's Guide to Finding the Devil in the Strangest Places - Devil's Dictionary Part III

So as to prove that I am capable of finishing something which I have started ages ago, and which, for the nimble-minded among us, you might remember I have promised before and not delivered, herewith is the final installment of my abridged version of letters N-Z of 'The Devil's Dictionary'. Might I...

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Julia Gillard's Vision for the Asian Century

The search for the Gillard ‘narrative’ goes on. It seems that journalists, almost as a matter of course, need to include in their pieces some reference to the ‘narrative’, or the lack of it, or feel they must ask yet again: ‘What does she stand for?’ After all the...

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A Soldier of Ill-Fortune

The art of bomb disposal has come a long way since the days of “Dad’s Army”. Indeed, it’s all high-tech now, which is unfortunate for Tony Abbott, as he has admitted he is “no tech-head”. So, Tones went to the Australian Army base at Tarim Kowt in Afghanistan to see how the e...

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