• 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

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A day can be a lifetime

G’day Swordians! Do you remember, or can you imagine, the heady days when The Beatles toured Australia in 1964? Unfortunately, the Mersey Mop-heads never returned to our sunburnt shores, but, fortunately, their spirit was kept alive Down Under by massive vinyl-record sales and due homage paid ...

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Clowns to the Left of me, Jokers to the Right, Here I am, Stuck in the Middle with the ALP

Recently I have noticed, as have others, that as The Greens’ voice gets louder, and as the Conservative Party of Tony Abbott takes more positions on issues than the Kama Sutra, as it drags Labor to the Right or outflanks it on the Left if it suits them to do so, so long as it is in opposit...

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We’re ‘aving Nan of it

Joannie Taylor (‘Nan’) from the Catherine Tate Show is visiting Australia to spend some time with her grandson, Jamie, who has got a student visa to study at Rooty Hill University. On campus, Jamie has joined the Young Labor Club, and has invited a few of his new chums over to meet Nan. ...

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Should Labor hitch itself to the slogan waggon?

One aspect of contemporary politics in which the Coalition has outstripped Labor has been in its use of slogans. Coalition slogans have been simple, often just three words, understandable, plausible, memorable and successful in promoting the Coalition’s agenda. Because its agenda has been larg...

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Sideshow Sam

Aficionados of The Simpsons cartoon series will be familiar with the ‘colourful’ character, Sideshow Bob. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of viewing any episodes that include Bob, he is basically a psychopath, who worked for Krusty the Clown in his circus, got sacked...

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It’s time for the ALP to drink a protein word shake and muscle up to the Coalition

      “They couldn't sell a cold beer on a hot day.” How many times have I heard that said about the ALP lately? A point which was reinforced in my mind with reference to the Democrats in the USA when I read a Paul Krugman article, Let's Not Be Civil, recently; bu...

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A Right Royal Wedding

With a Royal Wedding in the offing, the Coalition should be full of the joys of Spring, revelling in bonhomie and offering best wishes to the young couple who are just about to tie the knot. However, for the Coalition, it was the worst of times, and showing signs that it was about to get even worse...

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How do you think about climate change?

Reading two books in parallel recently proved to be an informative exercise. One was Richard Dawkins’ 2009 The Greatest Show on Earth – The Evidence for Evolution, the other Tim Flannery’s 2010 Here on Earth – An Argument for Hope. It was informative because the two books exe...

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Why do Only Fools and Horses Gamble?

As part of his anti-problem-gambling crusade, Andrew ‘Del Boy’ Wilkie manages a Centre for the treatment of gambling addicts, which is trialling his new, ‘BetaGorn Program’. This involves the addict being given a smart card with a $200 daily limit which, when exceeded, fails...

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Not quite joined at the hip but in the same ballpark

I will now attempt to elucidate the points I think Menzies' speech has in common with the PM's thoughts about Labor's polity ensconced within contemporary Australian society, thus to prove how it is not heresy to say that, yes, Menzies and Gillard may have something worthwhile in common with eac...

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Blackadder Bolt

In France, the First World War is at its height and the Australian ‘SG’ Regiment is doing as good a job as any in providing top-class cannon-fodder. General ‘Melchie’ Murdock (on loan from the American Army) and Capt ‘Blackadder’ Bolt are in command of the Aussie...

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Labor Needs to Remember the Forgotten People

Recently there has been debate around the blogs and in the mainstream media about who and what the ALP represents these days, and whether, because in some commentators' opinions they represent no one and nothing any more, that therefore they are going the way of the Dodo and will soon dry up a...

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Joe Hockey should read John Quiggin’s 'Zombie Economics'

If he did, he would be confronted with the inconvenient fact that the arguments he advanced to demean the Rudd Government’s management of the global financial crisis have been debunked comprehensively. If he has read it, he will be familiar with John Quiggin’s exposé about how dis...

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Pushing for the pension

Tony “Andy” Abbott needs to get his hands on more of the folding stuff to pay off his big mortgage. So, having swapped his push-bike for a wheelchair and, in cahoots with his “Little Britain” carer, Warren “Lou” Truss, he turns up at Centrelink to be interviewed b...

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The vilification of our nation’s leaders

No, I’m not referring just to the vile placards that were the backdrop to Tony Abbott’s address to the ‘people’s revolution’ rally in Canberra on March 23. Vilification goes back much further. The purpose of this piece is to argue that while vilification has been around...

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Phoney Footie

G’day SwordiansAs you know, the AFL season is underway and one of the opening games is being played at the Rooty Hill Stadium. Prior to the game, however, a Celebrity Stars charity match (to help pay off Tony Abbott’s big mortgage) is underway. The two teams are the Coalition and MSM XVI...

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The ALP has come to its own fork in the road

And so it has come to pass...that the NSW State Labor Party was beaten about the head metaphorically with baseball bats by the electorate, and they lost the Unwinnable Election. So, now that I am through my period of mourning, and with the 24/7 world, you can only take 24 big ones, and tha...

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Yes and No

Tony Abbott’s ‘STOP THE WASTE’ campaign against the Public Service is unrelenting. From the bureaucrats in Queensland to the fat cats in Canberra, its open season as far as Tones is concerned. However, one of the top public servants in Australia, Nic ‘Macca’ Machiavelli...

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Hartcherism – a new descriptor for political gymnastics

It was unusual to see a generally sensible journalist write such an astonishing article. But there it was, Peter Hartcher writing in the March 19 issue of the Sydney Morning Herald: Labor's end - that's all, folks. You may care to read it before reading this commentary. A recent article by Anna...

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Is the Liberal Party guilty of ‘race baiting’?

On the last day of the most recent session of federal parliament, Julia Gillard accused the Opposition of 'Race Baiting'. Now, the immediate response from the media, predictably, was, 'How could she say that?' Tony Abbott, just as predictably, sidled up the next day to whatever sympathetic media o...

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