• Get out of the gutter
    You may not have heard of Mike Rinder. A Scientologist for most
    of his life, at the age of 52 he walked out, and as a result lost his
    family, friends, employment and pretty well everything else in his life.
    RInder has written a book on his time in Scientology, runs a
    website that questions Scientology beliefs and practices...
  • Was Amtrak Joe derailed?
    Prior to becoming President, Joe Biden was a US Senator for around
    36 years. He is known as Amtrak Joe as he routinely took the daily 90
    minute each way train trip (on the USA’s national passenger train network
    - Amtrak) from his home in Delaware to Washington DC to represent his state.
  • If employers can measure well-being...
    Last September, you might have seen Qantas CEO Alan Joyce
    received a pay increase of $278,000 per annum. It seems that Joyce
    has met or exceeded the performance goals set by his employers and
    contractually has earned the reward. It does, however, raise a larger question.
  • Coming back to haunt you
    In his recent Budget reply speech, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
    laboured (pun intended) on the increasingly difficult to achieve promise by
    Prime Minister Albanese that power bills will be $275 less in 2025. While the
    government is claiming the modelling done in 2021 supports the accuracy of
    the promise, 2021 modelling doesn’t account for changes in circumstances since then.
  • The good economic units
    Wellbeing and politics have collided in the past couple of weeks.
    Federal Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers has started a conversation about
    measuring the ‘wellbeing’ of the nation as a result of the measures in the
    budget. The Opposition, as you would expect, has poured scorn on the idea.
  • Do you want to smile or frown
    Recently, in what could be described as an epic fail in recruiting
    practices, the Essendon Football Club hired and accepted the
    resignation of the same CEO within a day. The issue was that the
    CEO was also the Chairman of ‘City on the Hill’, a church that seems
    to promote some conservative views on the way people live their lives.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Have a go at these questions about asylum seekers

Is there any more vexed political issue than that of refugees seeking asylum in this country? It remains so despite the recent advent of the Refugee Resettlement Agreement with Papua New Guinea. The refugee issue was politicized by Pauline Hansen, and readily taken up by John Howard with the &lsquo...

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Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott: two gentlemen politicians

It is not often that retiring politicians receive the lavish praise that has been heaped upon the Independents Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, praise so richly deserved. In the turmoil of partisan politics where self-interest so often dominates, it was refreshing to witness the way in which these t...

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The Stalking of Julia Gillard: Kerry-Anne Walsh. A Review

This is an enthralling book. It carries the telling subtitle: How the media and Team Rudd contrived to bring down the Prime Minister. For political tragics, it is a ‘must read’. For others who wonder what on earth goes on in the hallowed halls of Parliament House and the Canberra Press G...

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An accolade for Julia Gillard: a fine prime minister

Wondering what word I should use in the title to best capture my opinion of our first female prime minister, now sadly at the end of her period in federal politics, I have chosen ‘fine’. Of high quality, clear, pure, refined, delicate, subtle, exquisitely fashioned, elevated, capable of ...

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Who will Newspoll kill off next?

During this week past we saw Newspoll: The Killing Machine in lethal action. Ironically, it was her own party members who took the ammunition from Newspoll, aimed it at Julia Gillard’s heart, and killed her politically. Although polls are no more than a snapshot of public opinion, they have ag...

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Newspoll: The Killing Machine

In the following thirty-six hours the next Newspoll will be published. If it is as poor a result for Labor as was last week's Nielsen Poll, the leadership frenzy will reach an even more feverish pitch. Frantic media packs will jostle to assail every politician entering and leaving parliament, thrust...

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The culture of disrespect

In the week just gone there was an extraordinary coincidence of events that starkly reminded us of just how much disrespect contaminates our society, most of it directed towards women. It is a scourge that dates back for centuries, one though that the forward-looking fondly believed was losing groun...

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What is the role of political blogsites?

Political blogsites proliferate almost by the week. Many reside in the Fifth Estate. While a few declare their political orientation overtly, most do not. It is possible though to ascertain this by reading the pieces they post. While some purport to be ‘balanced’, ready to criticize any ...

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Political hatred: Is there a remedy?

The short answer to the question is ‘Yes’. The longer answer is ‘Yes’, but with a string of caveats. While the piece just gone: Political hatred: its genesis and its toll, attempted to define the origins of political hatred and describe the terrible damage it is causing, the ...

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Political hatred: its genesis and its toll

We’ve known for ages that there are pockets of political hatred in the electorate that fester away and erupt from time to time, pouring their purulent discharge over the political discourse, offending many with its stench. But how many of you can remember such an exhibition of hatred as we hav...

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Who's been playing in MY estate? Yet more ferment in the fourth and fifth

When is a writer not a journalist but a blogger, and when is a writer/blogger a journalist? Who decides? Does it matter? Traditional or mainstream or 'old' media, and its power affiliates, are pushing back at the moment against the proliferation of small 'new media' online ventures fighting to be h...

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Feathers Fly at the Federal Chook House

Gather around kiddies and I’ll tell you a story.  Once upon a time there was a large farm where many farmyard animals lived. It was a very special ‘Animal Farm’. The farmer loved all his animals, but most of all his big flock of chooks. The farmer loved chooks so much he coll...

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Living within our means, Hockey style

You have to give it to the Coalition propaganda machine – it never fails to come up with a brand new slogan with which it can belabor the Government. We are now being told by Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey that we must ‘live within our means’. How many times have we heard that? Otherwi...

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Grasping at prime ministership the Abbott way

Let’s be clear from the outset. The lead up to the September 14 election will not be a respectful contest of ideas, a civil battle of policies and plans. It will be a bare-knuckle street fight between personalities, with no holds barred. The Abbott way countenances no other approach. To seize ...

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David Marr joins ‘the most successful Opposition leader’ chorus

The first words in the online description of David Marr’s Quarterly Essay: Political Animal: The Making of Tony Abbott read: “Tony Abbott is the most successful Opposition leader of the last forty years, but he has never been popular. Now Australians want to know: what kind of man is he,...

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Policy making through the rear-view mirror

“We drive into the future using only our rear-view mirror” was one of the many notable aphorisms of Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher, futurist, and communications theorist of the sixties. If ever there was an image that captures Tony Abbott’s approach to public policy, this ...

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Abbott and the Murdoch, Rinehart, Pell connection

Voters need seriously to contemplate what it would be like to have an Abbott Government. They need to dig deeper than the slick slogans, the oft repeated mantras, the weasel words, the deviousness, and the blatant lies that escape Abbott’s lips day after day. They need to ask what makes this m...

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What was Leigh Sales’ intent with PM Gillard?

As Leigh Sales interviewed Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 7.30 last week, was she hoping it might remind viewers of her interview of Tony Abbott six months earlier, one that attracted widespread applause for its probing, her persistence, and her command of the interview? Looking back, she may be di...

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Polls perpetually poison politics

Imagine that last Thursday an alien arrived from Mars. He picked up the papers and read that the leader of this nation is under threat of losing her position. He wondered why. He is surprised that she is female. He speaks to a normal-looking local. For the sake of this piece, let’s imagine th...

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How to vote: first examine your values

How do voters decide on where to cast their vote? For some it is automatic, even unthinking. They have voted this way before, maybe always. They are the rusted-on voters. For many though, it's a question of “What’s in it for me?” “What will I gain if I vote this way and what...

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