• The shiny new toy
    Now that the election is over it is time for a bit of reflection.
    Logistics behind the operation of this site mean this article is
    not a who won what and why; rather we’ll be looking at why a
    number of the smaller parties seem to have punched above
    their weight, and some possible reasons for their ‘popularity’.
  • The cupboard was bare!
    It wasn’t easy getting into the nerve centre of the LNP – the
    secret place where talking points, election strategies and day
    to day tactics are brainstormed by the Coalition’s eggheads in
    the dead of night – but eventually, more by good luck than
    good management, I found myself in the inner sanctum.
  • He hit me first!
    We all have memories of a child bawling its eyes out after being
    clobbered by another kid. We also have memories of the offender’s
    customary excuse: ‘He hit me first!’. We tend to label such behaviour as
    ‘kids stuff’. But how many of you expected grown-up politicians to ape them?
  • Fear, deception and gravitas
    Enjoying the election coverage? Essentially it is the day to day analysis
    of the political leaders of this country racking up the kilometres to appear
    in ‘strategic’ locations, with nodding sycophants behind them answering the
    same or similar questions as they did yesterday to the same tired and bored journalists.
  • No, they won't learn
    I was motivated to write my last piece: 'Will they ever learn?' after viewing the first
    Question Time of the recent sitting of the House of Representatives. Some our most
    senior politicians, immediately after showing that they were capable of courtesy and
    decent discourse, went on to display offensively aggressive behaviour towards each
    other, all in the full glare of the cameras, knowing that the world would see them as they were.
  • Three Years Later
    In 2016, we published 36 Faceless men, comparing the ‘need’
    for Australian political parties to have an absolute majority when
    forming a government versus the preferred outcome in other countries
    where a coalition of political parties have to work together to form a government.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The perils of popularism

This week we originally were going to be discussing Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party and their apparent habit of losing Senators. After all, to lose one Senator is careless, two is a concern and so on. Apart from the Betoota Advocate doing the satire better, they also bring in the relevant point of...

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The merchants of venality

Venality: the quality of being open to bribery or overly motivated by money. Wherever we look, venality flourishes. Attune yourself to it and you’ll see evidence of it every day on TV and radio, and in the print and electronic media. You can’t escape its tentacles. It’s all pervading. Where s...

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Truth or Dare

I was talking with a couple of smokers the other day after a meeting and in the general conversation about life, the universe and everything, innocently I asked the ‘how much is a packet of cigarettes these days’ question. I was really happy that I don’t smoke when I was told that a packet of 30 cig...

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Banks and the Coalition: birds of a feather

Culture, governance and remuneration have been identified by industry gurus as prime factors contributing to the deplorable state of banking and the financial industry in Australia. Nobody is disputing this. This piece postulates that precisely the same factors have reduced the government of this co...

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Man the life rafts

It is probably an urban myth that the dance band on the Titanic were playing Nearer my God to Thee as they went to a watery death with the ship. The Titanic was ‘unsinkable’ and somehow it was deemed the ship didn’t need enough life saving devices on board to accommodate all the passengers and crew ...

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Bully boys

Did you notice the behaviour of Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull during Budget week? Were you comfortable with the words and actions of our treasurer and prime minister? How did you expect them to conduct themselves? It is reasonable to expect such important office holders to be assured, confi...

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Family secrets and economic growth

Most families have secrets that have been kept behind closed doors for generations. It could be that your grandparents lived happily together for 50 years or more, brought up their children extremely well (careful – it’s your parents you are judging here!) and contributed to society to the day they ...

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Morally unfit...

It was James Comey, ex FBI director, who labeled Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, as “…morally unfit to be president”. He said much more. He did not question Trump’s mental capacity; it was his morality. “This president is unethical, and untethered to truth and institutional ...

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Resetting the ethical compass

In 1982, a small number of people died in the US state of Illinois as a result of ingesting poison that had been illegally added to a common painkiller named Tylenol, which is marketed by Johnson & Johnson. As you would expect, an investigation followed and the determination was that a person or...

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Truth tampering – a sinister political reality

Australians were justifiably shocked, appalled and embarrassed by the ball tampering our test cricketers attempted last month in South Africa. Somehow, better was expected of them. After all, they were playing the gentlemen’s game – cricket – where any cheating was simply ‘not cricket’. Why then ...

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A winning culture

A lot of elite sportspeople are paid very well for what they do, dependent on the depth of the pockets of the club and governing body of the chosen sport. The training and restrictions on elements of their daily lives due to commercial considerations do, to an extent, justify the salaries and undoub...

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Conservative ideology: the cuckoo in the economic nest

Have you ever wondered why our major political parties have such different views about how our economy works, indeed how the global economy works? Have you asked why progressives think so differently from conservatives? Have you pondered why their approaches to our economy are so radically dissimila...

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The racist immigration Minister

Sometime in 2014, journalist Rob Burgess interviewed former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and discussed refugee policy. During the discussion, apparently Fraser made a prediction. Burgess recently wrote an opinion piece for The New Daily discussing Minister Dutton’s recent claims about South African...

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What can be done about President Trump?

As you ponder the machinations of the White House administration, do you sometimes imagine that you must be in some creaky old theatre in a disused warehouse watching a weird drama by an avant-garde playwright hell bent on surprising, shocking, and revolting his audience with bizarre narrative, unpr...

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A simpler time

Recently the New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, visited Sydney for meetings with the Australian Government. Ardern is the leader of the NZ Labour Party who managed a ‘come from behind’ victory in their 2017 national election. While Ardern was here she commented that she would ‘struggle if s...

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The genesis of social disintegration

As an ordinary citizen, do you sometimes survey the social landscape and recoil in bitter disappointment as you witness the social order crumbling around you? Do you despair as you survey the rubble of social disintegration that now defiles our world? Have you thought about the origins of this so...

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Karma

Karma is that feeling when you drive past someone beside the road obviously getting a ticket soon after they weaved around you and others on a busy highway. Others would call the feeling poetic justice or note that the situation was rather ironic. Either way, it is a feeling of someone getting their...

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Turnbull’s metamorphosis

Once upon a time there was a boy christened Malcolm Bligh Turnbull. Bligh is a name the family uses in honour of Governor Bligh, of ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ infamy, the fourth governor of NSW. Greatly admired by the family, this moniker evokes the aura of a distinguished person. Born in 1954, Malc...

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Speak even if your voice shakes

In the past couple of years, we as a society have removed the stigma around some previously ‘taboo’ subjects. Assuming the Turnbull conservative government ever stops infighting, they might actually get around to legislating the support mechanisms recommended by the Royal Commission into Institution...

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Can political honesty be resurrected?

To the seasoned political observer, placing the words ‘political’ and ‘honesty’ together is an oxymoron.  Everywhere we look, we see the opposite - political dishonesty. Every day the President of the United States of America lies – often. He denies he’s lying. He repeats his lies. His l...

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