• 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.

What do you want from The Political Sword?

With a quasi-election campaign already underway, and an increasing number of issues upon which to comment, the Easter break seems a good time for The Political Sword to review its modus operandi, and provide a chance for visitors to express their views about how TPS should proceed. Please le...

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Spartacus fiddles while policy roams...

    The arena is strewn with dead bodies. Howard, Costello, Downer, Vaile, Nelson, Turnbull, Joyce, Minchin, Brough are names that come to mind. Hockey, knocked over by his own weight in a friendly rugby match only groggily recovered from the impact. Their clarion caller...

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Why do journalists ask silly questions?

At the National Press Club in Canberra on 22 March, ten journalists were given the privilege of addressing questions to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on the subject of their debate, health and hospitals reform, a debate that was critiqued in the previous piece: Comprehending ...

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Comprehending the Great Big New Health Debate

The tone was set at the beginning when a smiling Kevin Rudd shook hands with a scowling Tony Abbott.  I saw three different photos of the handshake; all were the same.  Did anyone see a smiling Abbott?  Was this another Latham moment?  Abbott seemed to be spoiling for a fight, ...

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Why is Kevin Rudd so unpopular? Polls, popularity and the Icarus Syndrome

    Regulars here will know that my last piece was entitled Is Rudd tying the bootstrappers’ bootlaces for them?  I argued that Rudd’s mea culpa had been an unnecessary concession to a media bootstrap campaign, unwisely and retrospectively bestowing ...

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News Limited’s undeclared war on the Rudd Government

If you doubt if there is a war, look at the News Limited papers over the last few days.  First, look at Rudd stimulus drove up rates by David Uren in Friday’s Australian which begins “The rapid jobs growth of the past five months has come to a halt, with new figures showing ...

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Is there a widening chasm between the Canberra Press Gallery and the people?

It’s probably not possible to accurately define the ‘Canberra Press Gallery’; in this piece I’m referring to the journalists who get to ask guest speakers at National Press Club events most of the questions, and those who report on federal politics. Judging from what ...

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Is Rudd tying the bootstrappers’ shoelaces for them?

    If Kevin Rudd thought Insulgate was going to go away with a mea culpa, he was wrong. Note that I refer to ‘Insulgate’... the beat up, the bootstrap, not the reality-based situation. We have seen recently the first (and perhaps the last) attempts at fac...

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The Great Big Home Insulation Program Beat-up

We all know how the media can engineer a beat-up on almost any issue, but can anyone recall a more flagrant beat-up than we’ve seen around the Government’s Home Insulation Program? It’s hard to determine whether this beat-up is groupthink gone ballistic, with almost everyon...

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So you think you’re a journalist?

Bushfire Bill’s last piece A Triumphant Return or the Last Hurrah? and the many comments it attracted, exposed many instances of second-rate journalism, leading me, and visitors, to ask “What has become of journalism in this country?”  This piece attempts to tease out h...

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A Triumphant Return or the Last Hurrah?

    On Friday, Tony Abbott, whom I have already spotted as a serial confessor of sins, made another confession. It was startling in its frankness. To quote the ABC online story:  “Mr Abbott ... told the Examiner he disliked the ‘Captain Catholic ...

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More of Shanas’ Magic Looking Glass?

If you thought Dennis Shanahan was squeezing the last drop of good news for the Coalition out of this week’s Newspoll, as suggested in the last piece on TPS Newspoll through Shahas' Magic Looking Glass, take a look at his analysis of the Important Issues survey (pdf) that accompanie...

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Newspoll through Shanas’ Magic Looking Glass

There we were last night, political tragics scouring our computer screens looking for signs of what the latest Newspoll might show.  Two weeks ago Newspoll showed a significant closing of the gap between Labor and the Coalition to a TPP of 52/48.  The same result occurred last October, b...

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A sparrow farts in Queensland...

There has been a lot of pussy-footing around the deaths of four workers involved in the Insulation part of the stimulus package. Three have tragically died as a result of electrical shocks and one from heat stroke. Whether they were working for licensed or otherwise reputable home insulation firm ...

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How can the Government sell its CPRS?

It was never going to be easy to sell the Government’s CPRS.  It is a complex plan to cope with a very complex problem – anthropogenic global warming.  But as recent events have muddied the debate about carbon mitigation, the Government’s task is now even more...

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Tony – this is as good as it gets

While someone as fit as you would usually have a slow heart rate, I expect your heart quickened when you read this week’s Newspoll, showing as it did a narrowing of Labor’s two party preferred lead since you took over, down to 52/48, but perhaps it skipped a beat when you saw that Kevi...

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So You Think You Can Dance?

Watching the 10 Network’s So You Think You Can Dance on Sunday night reminded me of the political season about to begin this week. The ikonic show, about undiscovered wannabees who, enraptured by high hopes of stardom and fame, enter a multi-stage dance competition – with us as i...

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The political dilemma of an ageing population

We all accept that Australia’s population is ageing.  Demographic evidence shows that life expectancy at birth is now 78.9 years for males and 83.6 years for females.  These figures are from the CIA World Factbook 2009 and from the 2006 revision of the United Nations World Populati...

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The Grumpy Old Denialist Party

Bushfire Bill struck a respondent chord when he argued the case that the Liberal Party had earned the label ‘The Grumpy Old Party’.  In commenting on this piece, Bilko said “...a pervasive state of denial afflicts the Coalition”, and Michael said the same when he wrote...

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The Grumpy Old Party

What is it with Julie Bishop, the she feels she always has to spit her words out? There's a feeling of permanent anger, or barely concealed contempt, of 'Mrs Bitch' in everything she says. This morning on the radio she was still rabbiting on about the Schools Stimulus. Its s...

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