• The hazard of heedless politicians
    No ‘heedless’ is not a misprint; nor should it have been ‘headless’,
    although some might prefer that descriptor with poultry overtones!
    ‘Heedless’ signifies an alarming propensity so many politicians exhibit
    – the capacity to ignore evidence that does not align with their
    entrenched beliefs, their unshakable ideological position.
  • The yoke of inequality burdens us all
    It was in 2012 that The Price of Inequality by Nobel Prize winner
    Joseh Stiglitz was published in America and the United Kingdom.
    In 2013 it was distributed worldwide by Penguin Books. This
    seminal work, tellingly subtitled: 'How Today's Divided Society
    Endangers Our Future', was widely acknowledged.
  • The politics of religious freedom
    The dictum is not to talk about religion and politics in polite company.
    If you share that belief, read no further. Religious freedom is an
    interesting concept. A quick search came up with no current law
    in Australia that makes a belief in any faith tradition illegal...
  • Cancer sucks
    It seems that most Australians have been affected in some way by cancer.
    The chances are you know a cancer survivor, remember someone who didn’t
    survive, have sympathy with someone undergoing treatment or have a
    friend or relative that knows someone who has been affected in some way.
  • Democracy via three-word slogans
    Another title might have been Democracy according to Justice Kenneth Madison Hayne,
    who in his address to The Melbourne Law School on 26 July 2019, contrasted the
    features of a Royal Commission: independence, neutrality, publicity and provision of
    a reasoned report, all characteristics of the judicial processes, to the very different
    features of everyday political discourse.
  • The ruthless heart of the Liberal Party
    Dedicated observers of the political scene in Australia owe much
    to Niki Savva who made her mark as a significant author when
    she penned two critical exposés in which she fearlessly uncovered
    the labyrinthine machinery of the Liberal Party for all to see.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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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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