• 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?
  • 60% of something
    The Monthly’s politics newsletter recently asked ‘For how long do we
    pretend ”better than the Coalition” equals “good enough”? It’s a damn
    good question. Prior to the election, now Prime Minister Albanese
    launched a plan that would reduce Australia’s 2030 carbon
    emissions by 43% when compared to 2005 levels.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

We are being conned by the polls – the Tarot Cards of politics

Imagine this – a world without opinion polls. Then ask yourself whether in such a world the leadership contest played out this week would have occurred at all. Consider on what it was based – a decline in the polls for the Government, in Julia Gillard’s popularity, and in her popul...

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The Gillard - Rudd comparative scorecard

Among the countless words that have been written and uttered since the contest between Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd for leadership became overt, where have you read a comprehensive comparison of the two? All we have had is brief written accounts, short interviews, multiple sound bites of how the lea...

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Tony Abbott, we are sick of your lies

It is absurdly ironic that you, the one who has admitted on national TV that sometimes you do not tell the truth, should spend so much of your time and energy demonizing Julia Gillard as an inveterate liar, not to be trusted, even picking up on your favourite shock jock’s tag: ‘Ju-liar&r...

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Abbott’s amazing amnesia on insulation inquiry

Federal Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, developed an amazing amnesia about the repeated Opposition calls for a Royal Commission into the Home Insulation Program (HIP). Just 53 days after the call on June 16, 2010 by Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt, for a Roya...

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Absurdities abound as Abbott wages a crass war

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is becoming more absurd every time he attacks the Home Insulation Program (HIP). The latest examples were his exaggerated claims about the HIP on November 24, 2011 in the House of Representatives and his January 31, 2012 address to the National Press Club. In introduc...

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How opinion polls poison politics

Imagine this – a political world free of opinion polls seeking voting intentions and leadership preferences. What would journalists write about? Would they, as they once did, revert to writing about genuine political issues, giving their readers the facts and their well-reasoned analysis of th...

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Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats and contemporary politics

Most people will have heard of Edward de Bono’s concept of parallel thinking, but fewer will know about his Six Thinking Hats Method of discourse. This piece is to explain this method and to suggest how it might be engaged to improve the quality of political debate among politicians, or if tha...

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What then makes a good political speech? An analysis

Over the change-of-year break, we have had the opportunity to appraise several political speeches. Some of you have ventured an opinion about the characteristics of a ‘good’ speech. Some have given straightforward advice about how to create such speeches; for others, creating good speech...

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What makes a good political speech? Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

This is the last in the series of change-of-year speeches. Some may consider it solely religious, but the scribes and Pharisees would have seen it as highly political. Compare it with the others in the series. Would you, as many do, rate it as the best speech of all time? Here is the source. It is ...

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What makes a good political speech? Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg speech

Although it was only 278 words and took only two minutes to deliver, US President Abraham Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg is regarded as one of the finest in American political history. It was given on Thursday, November 19, 1863, at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Ge...

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What makes a good political speech? Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream’ speech

Martin Luther King’s famous speech, delivered on 28 August 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. to a vast throng, is classed as one of the top ten speeches of all time; some would place it near the top. Here it is. The source is here. I am happy to join with you today in what will g...

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What makes a good political speech? PM Keating’s Redfern speech

This is a further speech for your appraisal in our change-of-year series of political speeches. Like the Kevin Rudd speech, it is about indigenous issues. Although there is still controversy about its authorship – between Paul Keating’s speech writer Don Watson and Keating himself &ndash...

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What makes a good political speech? PM Kevin Rudd’s Apology

This is the next in our change-of-year series of political speeches. Only the most bigoted amongst us were not moved by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Apology to Australia’s indigenous peoples. It was widely regarded as an inspiring speech to parliament, one that brought the tears to count...

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New Year Greetings from The Political Sword

Greetings on New Year’s Day 2012 from The Political Sword. We wish all visitors a Happy New Year and a Productive and Satisfying 2012. 2012 will be an important year in Federal Politics, a year when our views need to be expressed. The Fifth Estate is playing an increasingly significant role i...

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What makes a good political speech? 'Light on the Hill' speeches

There seems to be tacit agreement among Labor people, and even among some journalists, that Ben Chifley’s ‘Light on the Hill’ address was a standard-setter for inspirational political speeches. Delivered in the aftermath of the Great Depression to an ALP Conference in 1949, it set ...

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What makes a good political speech?

There has been much recent comment about the quality of political speeches, and indeed this has been so over the life of the Gillard Government and in fact during the period of the Rudd Government too. Commentators, most of which have likely never written a political speech, feel qualified to commen...

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The Layman's Guide to Finding the Devil in the Strangest Places - Devil's Dictionary Part III

So as to prove that I am capable of finishing something which I have started ages ago, and which, for the nimble-minded among us, you might remember I have promised before and not delivered, herewith is the final installment of my abridged version of letters N-Z of 'The Devil's Dictionary'. Might I...

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Julia Gillard's Vision for the Asian Century

The search for the Gillard ‘narrative’ goes on. It seems that journalists, almost as a matter of course, need to include in their pieces some reference to the ‘narrative’, or the lack of it, or feel they must ask yet again: ‘What does she stand for?’ After all the...

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A Soldier of Ill-Fortune

The art of bomb disposal has come a long way since the days of “Dad’s Army”. Indeed, it’s all high-tech now, which is unfortunate for Tony Abbott, as he has admitted he is “no tech-head”. So, Tones went to the Australian Army base at Tarim Kowt in Afghanistan to see how the e...

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You Can Never Keep A Devil Down - Part 2 of 'The Devil's Dictionary' by Ambrose Bierce - E-M

Now that we have moved on, in the Multicultural calendar from Halloween to Thanksgiving, (and don't you just love the family photo of the Skeleton family celebrating Thanksgiving?), and in the warm after glow of this week's past visit by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, I though...

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