• A home amongst the gumtrees
    A local real estate agent rings me every couple of months asking if I am
    willing to sell my house. So far he's tried the 'look how much you could
    get' strategy, 'the market is moving, you don’t want to miss out’ strategy
    and telling me he could help me buy another house if I did sell; to which my
    response was something like 'and you get two commissions - how does that help me’.
  • Now is not the right time . . .
    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was buried last week with all
    the pomp and ceremony the occasion deserved. Regardless
    of your views on the monarchy, for a person to perform the one
    role for 70 years without a break is an awe-inspiring effort.
  • Pick up the phone
    The Conversation, a news website operated and funded by a number
    of universities, has published a significant number of articles on Prime
    Minister Albanese’s Jobs and Skills Summit. Most of them, as has most
    of the reporting of the ‘summiteers’ work, have been broadly positive.
  • Promises, promises
    The problem with the proposed tax cuts, the Jobs Summit, the emissions reduction
    target or any other policy that Prime Minister Albanese took to the election is
    that it was a promise that was made in the run up to the election. Certainly, the
    world has changed since 2019 and if really expensive tax cuts that benefit the better
    off were ever a good idea, there is even less evidence to suggest they are now.
  • The downside of lower unemployment
    In the middle of the ‘should Morrison go’ or should he stay
    brouhaha a couple of weeks ago, there was some interesting
    news to think about — Australia’s unemployment rate is likely
    to be under 5% for some years to come.
  • They seem to have a plan
    At the beginning of August, Prime Minister Albanese’s ‘preferred prime minister’
    measure according to Newspoll was 61%. While pretty well every new political
    leader enjoys some fair winds and sunshine at the beginning of their term of office,
    Albanese is doing better than most. He seems to be confounding the experts that
    suggested the ‘honeymoon’ with the Australian public was over a month earlier.

The Political Sword

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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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Do you not remember the Twentieth Century?

Dear Mr Abbott, You promised to take us back to the halcyon days of your Liberal Prime Ministerial predecessor John Howard and, like him, hoped to put sport rather than politics back on the front pages. I fear, however, your time machine has overshot the mark and we are heading rapidly towards the ...

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Who killed Cock Robin?

I read that opening stanza of the old rhyme as a metaphor of the continued and repeatedly frustrated human progress toward social advancement. It is the most disappointing certainty that as soon as the human collective gets its act together and starts to achieve really useful advances in all things ...

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So that was … 2013

Welcome to 2014! And we welcome you to your next ‘open thread’, which will run until the 2nd February, when our conversation starters, and Casablanca’s Cache, will return. It seems to be traditional at this time of the year to reflect on what has been, and to look forward to what...

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‘Happy Summertime’ from the TPS Team!

From this week The Political Sword goes into recess for the summer period until the 2nd February 2014. Well, its authors, and Casablanca’s Cache, will have a break, but all of you who love to comment and share links and thoughts and fun on TPS don’t have to do the same. Comments on thi...

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The myth of political sameness

Cock your ear at your local watering hole, listen to the boys as they clasp a frosted schooner of VB, and you’re bound to hear: ‘They’re all the same these pollies. Ya just can’t trust em’. Of course they are right to some extent. The deception and deviousness we see da...

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Generational change and the ALP

In the Abbott Cone of Silence since the 2013 election, the media has actually been looking around for other things to report on. There are two issues that caught my interest recently. The first was the reporting of a survey conducted by Monash University and funded by the Scanlon Foundation. The s...

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The Meaning of Treason

In the closing days of the Second World War, the name ‘Lord Haw Haw’ was synonymous with the cry: ‘traitor!’ In those days a traitor was seen as a clear-cut thing. In The Meaning of Treason (Penguin, 1965), Rebecca West identifies him as a traitor: ... by broadcasting betwe...

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Review of ‘Pushing Our Luck: ideas for Australian progress’

If you want an alternative to the Abbott future for Australia, this book is for you. It has the ideas and policy approaches with which to bombard politicians and opinion-makers. The publisher, the Centre for Policy Development (CPD), was established in 2007, a progressive think-tank that grew out of...

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Lights out

The last time an Australian Labor leader came up with a phrase that was both memorable and of positive benefit to the Party was Ben Chifley's ‘Light on the Hill’. So good was it, in fact, that the media have deliberately tried to turn it into a joke phrase. Oddly, the phrase is part of ...

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Do I have a mandate for you!

Prior to the election, Tony Abbott claimed that the election would be a referendum on the carbon price and Julie Bishop repeated this the day after the election (8 September). Since the election both Abbott and Environment Minister Greg Hunt have claimed people voted to repeal the ‘carbon tax&...

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Where on earth is Lampedusa?

Australians are unfortunately used to headlines that another ‘boatload of asylum seekers’ has called for help near Christmas Island. All too frequently the Australian Navy is called upon to rescue people from boats that were not seaworthy enough to make the journey from a port in Indone...

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What happened to leadership and conviction?

Why are politicians reacting to polls instead of driving them? In a previous piece on TPS, I contended that politicians had granted political influence to Rupert Murdoch by believing they will ‘live and die’ by the polls and reacting to the fortnightly Murdoch (Newspoll) polls rather th...

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Time for a third force in Ozpol

Australia needs a third, viable, major political party. This is obvious, to me. At their core, the policies of the two major parties are diametrically opposed. The Labor party is the progressive party that builds the country’s infrastructure and provides welfare programs. The Liberal party is...

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