• 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

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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Whither the Left: Part 1

A History Lesson: the revolutionary period My politics was moulded in the late 1960s, a great time in my view for the Left. The ’60s (into the ’70s) was dominated by revolutionary and liberation movements around the world — an era when Africa was completing its decolonisation. For...

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The Xmas attack on climate change

Human-caused global warming is the single biggest threat facing humanity today. Solving it requires a rapid worldwide transition to renewable energy economies, leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. Preserving a habitable climate depends on decisions made in this decade. At less th...

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Green parasols

'You have come down here to see an election - eh? Spirited contest, my dear sir, very much so indeed. We have opened all the public-houses in the place. It has left our opponent nothing but the beer-shops — masterly policy, my dear sir, eh?' The little man smiled complacently, and took a lar...

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The thought thief

Two events occurred in January that have alarming parallels. The Book Thief was released in cinemas across the country and Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced yet another review of the school curriculum. The movie is based on the book by Australian author Markus Zusak. A synopsis of the ...

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