• 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.

Who’s winning the RSPT debate?

It’s now a month since the Henry Review was made public along with the Government’s decision to endorse an RSPT, although there were rumours that this was to be the case for weeks beforehand.  Where is the debate now? Who is winning?It seems that although the Government was out of t...

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Is it that hard to sell the RSPT?

In the piece Why is a good Government down in the polls, several reasons for this state of affairs were proposed that included media malevolence, media manipulation, promises sometimes construed as being broken, less-than-perfect management of expectations, inadequate communication of poli...

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The Canberra Press Gallery will decide who governs this country...

And the manner by which they come to power.Initially, this blog was going to be a bit of a rant about the Australian Federal Press Gallery, and press galleries in general, hot on the heels of the scathing article in the May 15 edition of The Weekend Australian, Canberra gallery turns on an ADHD prim...

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Getting some balance into the RSPT debate

There has been much heat emanating from the RSPT debate, but little light to illuminate the details in a way that enables neutral people to be informed in a balanced way. This piece brings together a number of articles and opinions that paint a somewhat different picture from that portrayed by the m...

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Why is a good Government down in the polls?

This is the first of a series that will examine what the Rudd Government has done during its two and a half years in office.  It will be argued that it has been a good government that has achieved much more that might be expected in a first term and has a host of ongoing initiatives in train ...

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Politics is officially bunk

    I regard myself as a pretty hard nut to crack but I have to admit it... today I'm gobsmacked. Gobsmacked... that yesterday The Australian could introduce an article by Mirko Bagaric - the man who wrote the book on torture ...

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Their ABC

Or, the Coalition and Murdoch Conspiracy to Co-opt the ABC for their own ends. This blog is a Call to Arms. It is time for all Australians of good conscience to act before it's too late. Like a wraith, Mr Murdoch moves stealthily but deliberately. His work is always in the background, but h...

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But, but, but...

The opinion polls and betting markets indicate that the probability of Tony Abbott becoming PM and the Abbott Party taking power at the next election is increasing.  To date a lot of attention has been focussed by the media and the Abbott Party on Kevin Rudd and his performance, and he’s ...

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Wake in fright

 Peter Hartcher, in a column titled How a toxic elixir destroyed the prism of trust, has starkly set out a potential disaster scenario for Labor in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:  Australians will never see Rudd in the same light again. Every policy will now be seen as just an...

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The folly of putting a politician on a pedestal

From stratospheric, even unrealistic heights, Kevin Rudd’s popularity has rather suddenly become much less, according to opinion polls.  Why is this so?  There is any number of journalists who are willing, even eager to offer their opinions, attributing it to this or that – the...

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Tony Abbott is really ‘P’ing me off

Tony Abbott loves using buzzwords, as do most effective conservative communicators these days. These people are the inheritors of the Newt Gingrich conservative political legacy, which I have referred to before. Not only have they taken their communication cues from the infamous Mr Gingrich's li...

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Do economics commentators live in fantasy land?

The Henry Review is out and the economics commentators, along with journalists, some of whom have not shown much aptitude for economics, are out there going hell for leather giving us their learned opinions.  How much credence do we give them, even when they seem to be singing in harmony? ...

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The antediluvian media

I’ve been wondering what chronic disability it is that has been afflicting so much of the media, wondering why its political commentary is so predictable yet so often lacking in depth, so devoid of clarifying insights.   Where have the competent columnists gone?  We know there...

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Which Tony has the twin?

Or, 'Change You Can't Believe In'. G'day.  This is the first in an occasional series of commentary pieces that I will be submitting in the run-up to our federal election. Merely one other perspective, but one which I hope you will find interesting and informative and goo...

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The Liberals' universal solution to everything: Just say 'No'

Once again the Liberals have shown themselves to be the party of ‘No’. Premier Colin Barnett of Western Australia has taken his bat and ball and gone home from the Health negotiations. Whenever the Liberals' vote is needed in the national interest they withhold it. Wherever c...

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Is the ABC’s ‘Insiders’ balanced?

The only tenable answer is ‘sometimes’.  This Sunday’s Insiders was balanced, many other editions, not.  I expect most political tragics take a look at this programme on ABC TV each week.  In recent times there have been complaints on this blog site and elsewhere a...

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Memo to News Limited journalists

It was a comment on The Poll Bludger by Bushfire Bill that prompted me to write this satirical piece, a mock memo from the proprietors of News Limited to their political columnists. Revered colleagues As you are well aware, newspapers are losing circulation and advertising revenue.&nbs...

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Resolving the boat people dilemma – did pragmatism trump principle?

The decision of the Rudd Government to suspend temporarily the processing of applications for refugee status of Afghans and Sri Lankans has had a mixed reception.  Some applaud it as a sensible measure to enable better identification of those entitled to be categorized as refugees, especially...

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‘Those people’

Most nations have some shame in their history, Australia no less.  The treatment of our indigenous people and the abuse of ‘orphans’ brought to Australia after the Second World War were shameful, and have only recently evoked an official national apology from our Prime Minister.&n...

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Who on earth is advising the Coalition on media strategy?

We all know Tony Abbott is ‘authentic’, which presumably means that what he says is what he really thinks.  We know with Barnaby Joyce, the great ‘retail politician’, that what comes out of his mouth is unadulterated Barnaby.  What rational media advisor would hav...

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