• Why is there still so much anger?
    As we enter the Festive Season, we reflect on the year past and
    the one ahead. It’s a time when Christians celebrate Christmas and
    other special days, Jewish folk enjoy Hanukkah, Mexicans celebrate
    the Fiesta of our Lady of Guadalupe, and Swedes celebrate St Lucia
    Day. The New Year is ushered in as an opportunity for new hope.
  • Let's Dance
    In a recent email, Virginia Trioli wrote in relation to Christmas Parties: Go hard
    or go home. Say something. Talk — really talk — about your life, your triumphs,
    your failures; your year of struggle or your reflections on another milestone
    reached; your pride, your joy, the moments of grace remembered or sought:
    or don’t talk, don’t just chatter, and how about we just stand in companionable silence...
  • Oh the irony
    One of the production team behind The Political Sword regularly attends
    a trivia night at a local pub. Recently the host (who runs a company that
    hosts multiple trivia nights every night of the week — so he’s pretty good
    at finding obscure facts) made the claim that 49 percent of Australians
    are either immigrants or one/both their parents are immigrants.
  • Five shades of faded blue
    How well the ancient Biblical words apply to the Coalition:
    ”How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle...thou wast
    slain in thine high places, and the weapons of war perished!”.
    The true-blue Liberal flag, once graced with rich shades of competence,
    efficiency, endeavour, diligence and success, now flies tattered, limp and washed out.
  • The Culture Wars
    The Liberal Party cultural wars are having a detrimental effect on the rest of
    us. Here are two examples. Without rehashing old news, Australia had a
    functioning carbon pricing and emissions trading scheme around 5 years ago.
    It was canned by the Abbott government after mounting the mother of all scare
    campaigns about $100 lamb roasts and the town of Whyalla being wiped off the map.
  • The energy road to nowhere
    Are you as exasperated and disgusted as I am with the political
    antics exposed during the renewed debate about energy policy?
    Are you appalled by our parliamentarian’s persistent inability to
    collaborate in making decisions about how to tackle climate change?
    These are rhetorical questions. I know the answers.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The Rudd years

As the Rudd Government begins its third year, it seems an appropriate time to review its first two.  As a mental exercise let’s imagine the words or phrases that might best describe the progress of the Government towards its stated goals, and similarly those that characterize the perfor...

Read More

The pugilistic politician

Tony Abbott’s recent threat to ‘give the Government the fright of its life’ is code for the new leader’s real metaphor – to give the Government the fight of its life. Have you noticed how aggressive and combative Abbott has become since his election?  He ha...

Read More

Dennis Shanahan is at it again

Dear Dennis Just when we thought you’d got the knack of interpreting Newspoll results objectively and rationally, you disappoint us by reverting to your old form of squeezing the very last drop of positive news from the figures to boost the Coalition, omitting reference to aspects of t...

Read More

Liberals turn up another dud

Was Tony Abbott the most astonished person after last Tuesday’s ballot for Leader of the Opposition?  If one can judge from his performance over the last few days, he was not only astonished but also seriously unprepared for such high office. But if you look at what he’s sai...

Read More

He did it his way

There are countless commentators writing about the ‘Turnbull wreck’ and what might emerge from it.  Almost every hour brings some new angle.  At the time of writing on the evening of November 30, it seems as if the spill motion on December 1 will be opposed on principle by Jo...

Read More

The Formula One Coalition Race

Every time it seemed a suitable time to comment on the leadership of the Coalition, the story changed.  Acknowledging that, like a fast moving Formula One race, there would never be a time when the prediction of the outcome would be extant for more than a brief period, I thought it wiser...

Read More

The sad state of Australia’s MSM

How is it that the only papers I could find while in Phuket and Singapore, The International Herald Tribune – The Global Edition of the New York Times, The Bangkok Post, and Singapore’s The Straits Times carried articles so much superior to those in most of Australia’s MSM? ...

Read More

Foreign Ministers’ quiet voice of reason

Amid all the shrill and often disingenuous comments thrown around by politicians and many media commentators, it was comforting to listen to the quiet voice of reason of our own Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, speaking on the 7.30 Report last night, and that of Indonesia’s Foreign Minister M...

Read More

Which journalists do you trust on asylum seekers?

What a flurry of articles on asylum seekers we’ve had over the last couple of weeks.  Journalists have not taken a consistent position on this subject; there seems to be a wide variety of opinions about how the situation has occurred and what should be done about it.  This piece tr...

Read More

'The Insiders' gives us ‘insight’ on border protection

Last Sunday’s episode of The Insiders included an extraordinary segment titled “Border protection to test Rudd's popularity - The panel discuss how the controversy surrounding Australia's asylum seeker policies is going to effect Kevin Rudd's popularity.”  Too ba...

Read More

Don’t poke the media – it might bite

Have you noticed how sensitive the media is becoming to criticism from politicians?  The rules of its game are that the media is entitled to criticise politicians ad nauseam, whether or not it has its facts right, whether or not its interpretation of them is accurate, whether or not the subje...

Read More

The folly of resurrecting the dead

It was not the surprise reappearance of a smiling Philip Ruddock on TV that was unnerving; it was not his assertion that 10,000 more asylum seekers were ‘in the pipeline’, it was not even his inability to explain how he derived that figure; it was the stark imagery of a past era floodi...

Read More

The curse of the electoral cycle

When politicians make pronouncements, how do you know whether they are spin or genuinely believed?  When they do spin a story it’s their veracity that is called into question.  But when they seem genuinely to believe what they’re saying, it’s their judgement that is que...

Read More

After Turnbull

Despite the caution implicit in Mark Twain’s statement about his reported death being an exaggeration, columnists are almost universally predicting Malcolm Turnbull’s political demise.  Here are some of their dire predictions. Michelle Grattan's piece in The Age yesterda...

Read More

Disingenuousness resurfaces

The barrenness of the Coalition commentary on economic issues has again been on display since the RBA lifted interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.25% yesterday.  Joe Hockey was first cab off the rank with his bold assertion that the rise was the result of the Government’s re...

Read More

What will Turnbull do now?

‘Keep on punching Malcolm’ is what his father advised.  Malcolm Turnbull’s doggedness is legend, but so is his intelligence.  Someone as intelligent as all his reviewers insist, must be smart enough to know when to throw in the towel, how to avoid a humiliating knockout...

Read More

Who is this man called Kevin?

One of the curiosities of recent political debate in this country has been the persistent quest for the real identity of Kevin Rudd.  We have known him for many years from the days when he was opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, yet columnists still scratch their heads.  Even the ev...

Read More

Flogging a moribund horse

I suppose if you’re on the race track heading for a distant finishing line, one you can’t really yet see, even although your horse is tired and lagging way behind the field, you keep flogging it mindlessly, desperately hoping it will survive the race, buoyed by wild imaginings that it ...

Read More

Loathing kills logic

Serious contributors to the political blogosphere genuinely feel they have a legitimate contribution to make to political discourse in this country, and occasionally they get the feeling that their offerings are making a difference, are changing thinking among the conventional commentators.  ...

Read More

Memo to journalists – don’t praise the PM

Unless you are senior and well endowed with gravitas, if you want to stay within the Journos' Club, stick to the club rule – don’t praise the PM.  Otherwise you may end up on the outer, shunned by the majority – the timid compliant majority too inhibited to flout the rul...

Read More