• Fomenting fear and loathing
    What appalling scenes we’ve witnessed recently in Melbourne:
    its streets engulfed by protestors marching to who knows where, or why. Do they?
    The Westgate Freeway, the major arterial to the Western suburbs, was blocked and
    traffic disrupted by marchers plodding to the other side.
    Then where? Who knows what their purpose was?
  • A tale of two ideologies
    Once upon a time, the newly elected progressive Australian Government was told by
    their advisers that financial calamity was to sweep the world, bringing financial ruin,
    uncertainty and pestilence (the last one might just be made up) to humanity. The newly
    elected government, being of the mind that they employ specialists who have likely
    forgotten more about their subjects than the politicians had ever known, asked what to do.
  • Nature abhors a vacuum
    In the past year or so, most of us would have become quite familiar with the group of people
    that seem to front up almost daily to discuss the current state of the COVID19 pandemic in
    each Australian jurisdiction. Usually there are a couple of politicians ably backed up by the
    experts in public health management, a high-ranking commissioned Police Officer, with a
    person live translating the discussion into Auslan for the benefit of those with hearing difficulties.
  • What is revving up the bully boys?
    Have you noticed the cluster of loud-mouthed men
    that has appeared recently on our Melbourne streets,
    fists raised, shouting messages of defiance
    directed at our those in authority?
  • We should be better than this
    In The Guardian’s detailed history of the ‘Tampa affair’ which
    occurred twenty years ago, you will notice a number of similarities
    with the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Sadly, you will
    also notice that the response by current Prime Minister Morrison is
    worse than then Prime Minister Howard’s response twenty years ago.
  • Toad of Toad Hall
    This short piece is not intended to be a serious treatise; instead it’s a
    light-hearted appraisal of federal politics. We have had our fill of commentaries
    on the ins and outs of the Canberra scene written by self-confident ‘experts’
    who believe they understand the machinations of the political class.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Has Tony Abbott got a Plan B?

Plan A has been around since Tony Abbott became Leader of the Opposition – to seize government by any means. Trying to seize government in itself is unsurprising. Trying to achieve that by any means brings into play what Abbott’s ‘means’ comprise. I have said from the beginni...

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Gillard won't lie down and die - Abbott's dilemma

Prediction in politics is fraught but tempting. Will Tuesday 29 May 2012 go down in Australian political history as the day the decline of Tony Abbott, Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, accelerated? This was the day he announced to the Coalition party room: "Gillard won't lie down and ...

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What is making Labor stalwarts gloomy?

It no longer surprises us that Graham Richardson (Richo) emits gloom about Labor whenever he appears in the media. He knows on which side his bread is buttered. While he may believe what he says, he says it with such conviction and enthusiasm that the casual observer could be excused for thinking he...

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How to turn the polls around in six months

Bear with me. Join me in a little game. Let’s imagine that you have won the biggest lottery prize ever – the ownership of the Murdoch media empire in Australia. You now control it and its editorial policy. You can decide on the stories you will run, the headlines, the text, and how you w...

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The polluting power of poisonous politics

We are witnessing the most disgraceful campaign of poisonous politics this country has ever experienced. It is perniciously eroding the confidence of the people in its elected Federal Government. The campaign is aided and abetted by much of the mainstream media, which faithfully echoes the disingenu...

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Julia Gillard can defeat Tony Abbott in 2013. But how does she neutralize Rupert Murdoch?

The ‘secret’ is out. We have known for ages that Rupert Murdoch has wanted PM Gillard out. Robert Manne wrote about Murdoch’s aspiration in The Monthly in Bad News: Robert Manne on Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping on the Nation and many, many in the Fifth Estate have test...

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No Room in the Lifeboats

  In the last, few tumultuous weeks we have seen emerge an irresistible metaphor for all that is wrong in Australian politics. In perfect harmony with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the original RMS Titanic, events in modern Australia have taken on an uncanny resemblance to the d...

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Why do journalists have so much difficulty being objective?

Let’s acknowledge that ‘being objective’ is a challenge not just for journalists. All of us have the same struggle. All of us bring to what we say and write our own beliefs, ideology, biases, prejudices, preferences, hopes and desires – our own personal agenda. This piece use...

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Dumb and dumber: never get between a cliché and the lazy Australian media

VexNews writes today of something that has occurred to more than one person: the Slipper ‘scandal’ looks like a stitch-up. The Murdoch press and the Liberal Party have form. The VexNews article distilled the suspicions of a lot here, and I'm sure a lot out in the community. Even a nomin...

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Why does Julia Gillard have so much trouble getting her message across?

How many times have you heard this question asked, or its more pointed version: ‘Julia Gillard just can’t seem to get her message across’? Or as Barrie Cassidy said recently: ‘Even when she has a good message to get out, she can’t seem do so’. What a mystery it is...

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The three stooges play budget games

Scene: A villa on the Gold Coast. Mathias Cormann: This is nice Joe, how did you find this place – on the beach, rolling surf, blue skies, leggy blondes on the sand… Joe Hockey: Thank Tony. He’s a good mate of Clive Palmer – it’s his pad. He thought we needed some pea...

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Fear, uncertainty and doubt grip the Coalition

Rusted-on Coalition supporters will find the title of this piece laughable. Those who regard the next Federal election as a shoe-in for Tony Abbott should read no further. What follows may be unnerving. With just about every pundit, and even two-bit commentators predicting a win for Tony Abbott and...

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Why Julia Gillard will win the 2013 election

The prophets of doom will dismiss this piece as ridiculous. The likes of Dennis Shanahan, Piers Akerman, Andrew Bolt, and of course the shock jocks, Alan Jones and Co., have long since written off Julia Gillard and her Government and have confidently predicted an annihilation of the proportions seen...

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No Tony, it’s the Abbott brand that’s toxic

toxic adj: 1. containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation 2. extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful. Tony Abbott, the second definition fits you to a tee. You are fond of describing things as ‘toxic’: the ‘toxic’ ca...

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Abbott’s atrophy

Supporters of Tony Abbott will not enjoy this piece. They will likely read only part of it, and rejecting its proposition, will go elsewhere where writers say nice thinks about the man who wants to be the next leader of this nation, the man who insists he will be the ‘next elected Prime Minist...

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More falsehoods of the $8bn BER ‘waste’ claims

The first part of this post concluded by indicating the follow-up would reveal more of the fables around the Federal Opposition claim of $8 billion ‘waste’ in the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program. The definition I am using for ‘fable’ is numbered 8 in the 1993...

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Nonsense of $8bn BER ‘waste’ claims exposed

Claims by Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne of $8 billion “waste” in the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program are nonsense. Independent cost estimates by quantity surveyors of 130 Government schools throughout Australia e...

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Swan’s song stings the affluent and powerful

Isn’t it a pity that no sooner had Wayne Swan introduced a debate on the growing disparity between the affluent and the rest of the community, it degenerated into mindless slogan-slinging. ‘Class warfare’, ‘the politics of envy’ were the predictable responses from those...

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Pollies, the press pack, and poison politics

How many of you have been dismayed at the increasingly unhealthy relationship that has developed between some politicians and some journalists that has led to leaks, false reports, internal party tension, party upheaval, and a level of disruption that can only be harmful to any political party, and,...

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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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