• A return to good manners
    The ABC’s Virginia Trioli writes a ‘weekend read’ which is emailed out most Saturday
    mornings. A few weeks ago, there was the story about 'a bakery of the kind of layered,
    puffed, frosted, creamy delights that you'd usually only see on the table of your just-baptised
    cousin.' that has been trading for eleven years, earning a wonderful reputation for its
    products. Nat, the owner, had even being invited to be a guest on Masterchef.
  • Whatever it takes
    Some years ago, a plumber was telling me when they came back from the local
    pie shop with lunch to that day’s worksite, they heard someone inside. The
    plumber and his trades assistant were the only people scheduled to be on
    site that day, so they split up, covered both entrances to the building and discovered
    someone removing the copper pipe the plumber had spent the morning installing.
  • The real opposition
    Just as the government is trying to find its feet at times, the opposition Coalition is also in
    the same boat. The recent claims of ‘Airbus Albo’ made by the opposition along with their
    friends on ‘Sky after dark’ really haven’t jelled as an attack line when the government’s response,
    apparently backed up by the leaders of foreign nations, is they are attempting to undo the
    decade of neglect to this country’s foreign relationships by the Coalition when they were in power.
  • Avoiding the lunatic fringe
    The Australian political system is far from perfect. We have made an
    art form out of humiliation and ill treatment of refugees that choose to
    come to Australia. We have sat on our hands for over a decade and
    chosen to have an argument about emissions reduction while observing
    that we seem to be having more ‘one off’ climatic events than ever.
  • Privatise the Profits
    Despite concerns, there were no electricity shortages — load shedding — on
    Australia’s east coast during May or June. The outcome was managed by Australia’s
    Australian Electricity Market Operator (AEMO), the body responsible for maintaining
    the apparent delicate balance between supply and demand in a network that doesn’t
    have enough off-line storage to keep any surplus electricity produced until needed.
  • Another way of doing politics
    Are you are weary of contemporary politics as I am? Weary of the continual
    ‘left’ versus ‘right’ tussle? Weary of its sameness, day after boring day? Why
    is there always such a stark difference of opinion between those who seek to
    further enrich, to further advantage those who already have an abundance
    of this world’s bounty, and those who desire a more even distribution?

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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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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