• Remember the light on the hill?
    At the 1949 ALP Convention, then Prime Minister Ben Chifley
    delivered the ‘Light on the Hill’ speech. The speech is seen as
    a declaration of ‘traditional’ ALP values. As a movement bringing
    something better to the people, better standards of living, greater
    happiness to the mass of the people.
  • The Chain of Responsibility
    There are certain responsibilities when you are driving a vehicle.
    You are required to comply with rules such as not being affected by
    drugs or alcohol, not checking your social media accounts while driving,
    maintaining control over your vehicle, parking only where allowed and so on.
  • Just answer the Question!
    I know that, like me, you fume when politicians steadfastly refuse
    to answer a question directly, preferring to prevaricate by evading
    an answer altogether, giving an answer to a question they would
    prefer to answer, or wandering off into a boring recital of the dot
    points with which their minders have briefed them.
  • The economy is sinking, but where is the lifebuoy?
    Those of you who hear experts describe in frightening terms the
    dire state of our economy, and then hear the faux reassurances that
    issue from the mouths of our Treasurer and Prime Minister, must wonder
    if they live in some parallel universe, where, reminiscent of Humpty
    Dumpty, words can mean anything they want them to mean.
  • The root cause
    Frequently, when presented with a problem, we attempt to treat the symptom rather
    than the real issue. For example, if every morning when you get in your car you
    notice that one of the tyres looks a bit flat, you could treat the symptom by calling
    in at the nearest petrol station and putting more air in the tyre. However, as air
    doesn’t shrink or disappear for no reason, there is obviously a deeper issue involved.
  • Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison?
    Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison? Make no mistake
    – Dutton’s thirst for power remains unquenched. His conviction that
    he is ‘the better man’ to be prime minister continues unabated. This
    piece argues that in pursuit of this lofty goal, he has now consciously
    embarked on a process best described as ‘Duttonisation’.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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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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