• Mutually assured destruction
    A few years ago, we were in Canada. One cool and wet day in
    St Jacobs, Ontario (a couple of hours west of Toronto), we walked
    into a building dedicated to The Mennonite Story because it
    looked dry and warm inside. Unsurprisingly, the building went someway
    towards explaining the history and beliefs of the Mennonite Church
  • Is adversarial politics damaging our democracy?
    It was twelve years ago that I wrote ‘Is adversarial politics
    damaging our democracy?’ Some of that piece is reproduced
    below because recent political events demonstrate that its
    messages are as relevant today as they were then.
  • Nationalism really isn't easy
    If you said that someone has money to burn, you mean that
    they have far more money than they need or that they simply
    spend their money on things that you think are unnecessary
    or not socially acceptable.
  • The Trump dilemma
    Don’t get me wrong. Trump is not the dilemma to which I’m referring. His
    behaviour is no longer a quandary. With every word he utters, with every
    tweet, he confirms that his mental state continues to deteriorate to the point
    where commentator after commentator expresses astonishment and alarm at his
    outlandish reactions to the social and political environment in which he finds himself.
  • Information and critical thinking do matter
    When Prime Minister Morrison was advised there was the risk of uncontrolled
    spread of a deadly pandemic on the horizon early this year, he was slightly
    wiser than at Christmas when he left a burning Australia in the ‘capable’
    hands of Deputy Prime Minister and National Party Leader Michael McCormack.
  • Morrison morphs into ‘Strict Father’ mode
    Back in 2013, I wrote a piece with the curious title:
    The myth of political sameness.
    Its purpose was to debunk the commonly held
    view that ‘politicians are all the same’.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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....

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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? Yet they do...

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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 b...

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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 offensi...

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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. Three years ago we ...

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Will they ever learn?

Will they ever learn? After watching the first Question Time of the most recent sitting of the House of Representatives, the only plausible answer to that question is a resounding NO. On April 2, parliament resumed after a brief recess to enable the Budget for the next year to be tabled, a necess...

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Beware the ides of March

While Shakespeare may have ‘popularised’ the term, the ‘ides of March’ goes back to Roman times when March was the beginning of the year (giving the excuse for celebration and prayers that the new year would be prosperous) until 55 days were added in 46BC. Two years later ‘dictator for life’ Julius ...

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Nailed it

Unlike the residents of the USA, a lot of whom probably wouldn’t have been able to point to New Zealand on a map three months ago, we shouldn’t have been surprised at the consideration for others demonstrated by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the past few weeks. Ardern has on a number ...

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The tragic toll of hatred

Stan Grant is an outstanding journalist. His capacity to undertake brilliantly forensic analyses and thereby discern meaning within the tumult of contemporary political behaviour sets him apart from most of his colleagues. So good are his political credentials that our PM invited him to enter politi...

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Bovine excrement

Prime Minister Morrison seems to be certain that the next federal election will be in May. Cynics would suggest as Parliament is only sitting for two weeks in April, the plan is to hone their political sales pitch, pork barrel marginal electorates and parachute past or failed LNP politicians and the...

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There is no Planet B

This was written in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch terror attack where 50 innocent people (at the time of writing) were gunned down by a lone gunman. It was going to be a rant against a number of Australian politicians who use racism and terrorism to further their own objectives. Howeve...

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We're not mugs Scomo!

Do you become as infuriated as I do at the sheer insolence of PM Morrison and his spokespersons when they feed us arrant nonsense about their policies, when they serve us up implausible readings of political events and the economy, when they treat us like mugs who will swallow anything they feed us?...

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Institutional respect

In the past week or so, it was announced that last December a jury of his peers had found George Pell guilty of a number of heinous crimes against children. While Pell is (at the time of writing) planning to appeal the conviction, at this stage the facts are that after a trial where the jury could n...

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Intransigence

The title for this piece came from an enlightening interview in the ABC’s One Plus One series. David Marr was the subject and Julia Baird the interviewer. She cleverly yet tactfully explored the inner workings of Marr’s mind and his struggle as a gay man in a society that looked askance at gays. ...

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This is Scott

Scott tells us he is rather important and considering he is Prime Minister of Australia, he is probably correct to a large extent. Scott wants everyone to like him and when the election happens sometime in the next few months, Scott wants us all to dutifully go to the Polling Place and support the l...

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The face of arrogance

Although he’s been PM only since August of last year, it feels as if he’s been in the top job for much longer. His accidental election in the wake of the ill-planned Dutton grab for prime ministership has not inhibited him one jot. He’s been out there in press conference after press conference, in m...

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A show about nothing

The long running TV series Seinfeld was supposed to be the show about nothing. Was it the inspiration for the ATM (that’s Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison) Coalition governments? To demonstrate the point, when you have a spare 6 minutes have a look at this TedX talk, you won’t be wasting your time. ...

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Sitting astride the barbed wire fence

The human mind is a wonderful thing. We all have different interests, ideas and methods of doing what is needed to stay alive. We also have different beliefs. Some will tell you that the contrails left in the sky following the passage of aircraft are a 24/7/365-day aerosol assault over our heads...

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#30 year challenge

There is a social media meme at the moment where two photos are posted side by side, one from 2009 the other from 2019. ‘Bonus points’ are apparently gained by ‘featuring’ a similar pose in both photos. As everything is apparently better with a hashtag, this latest fad is tagged as the #10yearchalle...

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Global problems cast a gloomy shadow over 2019

What better time to take a look at our world, our planet, than at the beginning of another year? Long past are the days when we could retreat into a comfortable cocoon with no windows to the wider world. Unless we turn off our radios, television, our computers and the Internet, and never look at pri...

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