• 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.

Why I am annoyed with Kevin Rudd...and why I’m not

This afternoon I heard Christopher Pyne on ABC afternoon radio in Sydney, going on about how spending $16 billion on the Building The Education Revolution schools program was a waste. As usual, I became hot under the collar listening to him, because the guy has figured out how to breathe through h...

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Bushfire Bill joins The Political Sword as a guest contributor

First, welcome to The Political Sword 2010 at the beginning of an election year that promises to be even more frenetic than the last.  During January, while Ad astra takes a break, Bushfire Bill, who has made many penetrating and witty contributions to this and other political blogs, wi...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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? ...

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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...

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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...

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'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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 ...

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