• Get out of the gutter
    You may not have heard of Mike Rinder. A Scientologist for most
    of his life, at the age of 52 he walked out, and as a result lost his
    family, friends, employment and pretty well everything else in his life.
    RInder has written a book on his time in Scientology, runs a
    website that questions Scientology beliefs and practices...
  • Was Amtrak Joe derailed?
    Prior to becoming President, Joe Biden was a US Senator for around
    36 years. He is known as Amtrak Joe as he routinely took the daily 90
    minute each way train trip (on the USA’s national passenger train network
    - Amtrak) from his home in Delaware to Washington DC to represent his state.
  • If employers can measure well-being...
    Last September, you might have seen Qantas CEO Alan Joyce
    received a pay increase of $278,000 per annum. It seems that Joyce
    has met or exceeded the performance goals set by his employers and
    contractually has earned the reward. It does, however, raise a larger question.
  • Coming back to haunt you
    In his recent Budget reply speech, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
    laboured (pun intended) on the increasingly difficult to achieve promise by
    Prime Minister Albanese that power bills will be $275 less in 2025. While the
    government is claiming the modelling done in 2021 supports the accuracy of
    the promise, 2021 modelling doesn’t account for changes in circumstances since then.
  • The good economic units
    Wellbeing and politics have collided in the past couple of weeks.
    Federal Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers has started a conversation about
    measuring the ‘wellbeing’ of the nation as a result of the measures in the
    budget. The Opposition, as you would expect, has poured scorn on the idea.
  • Do you want to smile or frown
    Recently, in what could be described as an epic fail in recruiting
    practices, the Essendon Football Club hired and accepted the
    resignation of the same CEO within a day. The issue was that the
    CEO was also the Chairman of ‘City on the Hill’, a church that seems
    to promote some conservative views on the way people live their lives.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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Supping from the Drinking Gourd

Barack Obama, the President of the USA, has just completed his trip Down Under and is intrigued by the nature of Industrial Relations here. Having returned to the States, he gets wind of a couple of Aussie outfits that have acquired large cotton plantations and ranches in the Deep South in Lou...

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Julia Gillard's Light on the Hill

Will commentators ever be satisfied that the Labor Party and its leadership have established an ‘overarching narrative’ that portrays what the Party and its ministers ‘stand for’? I doubt it. The quest for this Holy Grail has been going on ever since Labor came to office, and...

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Prefabricated predictions

Tony Abbott is feeling a great need to get away from it all, so he has gone over to Europe to compete in the autumnal leg of the Tour de France cycle-race. He has brought along the young Queensland LNP MP, Wyatt Roy, a fluent French speaker, for translating purposes. So, the race has s...

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