• 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.
  • We can do it better
    It was probably co-incidental that the Australian Conservative
    Political Action Conference (CPAC) was held in Sydney around the
    time the NRL and AFL finals were occurring. CPAC originally
    advertised the conference would be at Luna Park — until
    Luna Park claimed they had never had a booking.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The disintegration of the Abbott machine

Early every morning, the Abbott machine swings into action. Fresh batteries are placed in Abbott man, he is briefed with the day’s messages, slogans for the day are identified, and he is sent on his way, a Duracell Bunny thumping his tub, to friendly TV stations for a puff piece encounter with...

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Our Media: Prosecutor, Judge, Jury and Executioner

Are you, like me, incensed by the performance over the last week of our mainstream media, particularly News Limited, as it pursued our Prime Minister over matters 17 years ago when she was a solicitor at Slater & Gordon? What has become of our media? Supposedly the guardian of our democracy, th...

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The News Limited vendetta against PM Gillard intensifies

After a good week for PM Gillard and her Government in which she achieved agreement with the Coalition to go along with the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, News Limited has ratcheted up its attack on her. Why? Is it because it feels that the asylum issue has been neutralized s...

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The Political Sword: A Hub for the Fifth Estate

Today The Political Sword has a new look and has been re-branded. The branding is dedicated to our Lyn, who is the one who has transformed The Political Sword into a hub for the Fifth Estate through her Today’s Links and her Twitterverse and Twitterati. We know that a large number of people vi...

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Journalists awake! You know Tony Abbott is conning you

Do you sense that ‘The Great Awakening’ has begun? For countless months we have read innumerable stories of doom and gloom about Labor’s prospects, endless stories of threats to Julia Gillard’s leadership, a ‘Ruddstoration’ just around the corner, deadlines for th...

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The scourge of the rent-seekers

When we were young there was no such word as ‘rent-seeker’. In fact the word was not coined until 1974. Wikipedia informs us that the term derives from the far older practice of appropriating a portion of production by gaining ownership or control of land. In economics, rent-seeking is a...

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Media in the middle

Older readers will recall the days when news was purveyed only via newspapers and the radio. Although that was a long while ago, and memories of those days are dimmed by the efflux of time, my recollection of that era was one where reporters ferreted out the facts from wherever they were hidden, ver...

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Abbott and the Goebbels Factor

As an example of emotion overwhelming reason, there is no more compelling one in Federal politics than the indifferent standing our PM enjoys in the eyes of the electorate, judged by the one metric that is regularly thrust in our faces as a legitimate measure – opinion polls. Leaving aside the...

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The pathology of leadership speculation

I use the word ‘pathology’ advisedly, meaning as it does ‘the study and diagnosis of disease’. For a ‘disease’ it is, a disease that afflicts politicians and commentators alike. While curiosity about leadership is understandable and ‘normal’, the conte...

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Lost: Tony’s Toxic Tax – Finder: Please Return to Owner

July 1, Tony’s Toxic Tax Day, came and went. Collective breaths were held – but Australia carried on as usual. The sun rose in the East. The sky did not fall in. Whyalla survived. Abbott rabbitted on – after all it was TTT Day. What else could he do? That day, in Abbott’s po...

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Is the job of the Opposition to oppose? NO.

How many times have you heard those who think they know, say this: ‘The job of the Opposition is to oppose’? It might be the worker at the pub who says this as he raises his schooner of VB to his thirsty lips. It might be the young professional as she sips her Margaret River Chardonnay ...

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Applying facts and logic in the asylum seeker issue

The issue of asylum seekers arriving on our shores in boats has been highly politicized, so much so that the political players have locked themselves into positions from which they cannot or will not retreat. The Pacific Solution We all know the history. It began in 2001 with John Howard’s &l...

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Tony Abbott – the man who walks away

Tony Abbott is playing us all for suckers. He believes, and the contemporary polls of voting intention support his belief, that come 2013 he will waltz into The Lodge with no more than we see from him day after day. He believes that he will do that by opposing everything the Gillard Government is tr...

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As the Fourth Estate falters, how should the Fifth Estate respond?

In the same way that climate scientists have been warning us of the changes we can expect from global warming, media climate analysts have been warning us of the changes we can expect from the digitalization of the media. But no one predicted the precipitous changes we have seen this week. Nobody pr...

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Australia is 'The Sweet Spot’ to be

In recent days we have luxuriated in great economic news: strong growth, low inflation, falling interest rates, low unemployment, good jobs data, renewed triple A rating by Moody’s, low net national debt, massive investment in the pipeline, and an upbeat RBA and Federal Government. Each piece ...

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Complexity – the Great Australian Aversion

Close your eyes and reflect for a moment on news items you have seen or heard on commercial TV or radio in recent times. What characterizes them? They are almost invariably short, sensational, overly dramatized, sometimes squalid, and often portray conflict between people or groups or races. In rece...

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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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