• 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.
  • Will they ever learn?
    After watching the first Question Time
    of the most recent sitting of the House
    of Representatives, the only plausible
    answer to that question is a resounding NO.
  • Beware the ides of March
    While Shakespeare may have ‘popularised’ the term, the ‘ides of March’
    goes back to Roman times when March was the beginning of the year
    (giving the excuse for celebration and prayers that the new year would be
    prosperous) until 55 days were added in 46BC. Two years later ‘dictator for life’
    Julius Caesar was stabbed to death — linking March with turmoil for ever after.
  • Nailed it
    Unlike the residents of the USA; a lot of whom probably wouldn’t
    have been able to point to New Zealand on a map three months ago;
    we shouldn’t have been surprised at the consideration for others demonstrated
    by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the past few weeks.
  • The tragic toll of hatred
    Stan Grant is an outstanding journalist. His capacity to undertake brilliantly forensic
    analyses and thereby discern meaning within the tumult of contemporary political
    behaviour sets him apart from most of his colleagues. So good are his political
    credentials that our PM invited him to enter politics, an offer Grant declined.
  • Bovine excrement
    Prime Minister Morrison seems to be certain that the next federal election
    will be in May. Cynics would suggest as Parliament is only sitting for two weeks
    in April, the plan is to hone their political sales pitch, pork barrel marginal electorates
    and parachute past or failed LNP politicians and their supporters into positions where
    they could potentially influence government programs and decisions into the future.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Beyond infancy

Today is the first birthday of The Political Sword.  Tomorrow it will be beyond infancy.  The first piece on TPS was a welcome message on 13 September 2008, followed the next day by a piece on the hot topic of the time In search of the political Holy Grail – the Rudd Government nar...

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The dark art of opposing

What a contrast there is in Federal politics today.  We have a Government that has many programmes in train, chief among them protecting the nation from the effects of the GFC.  Then we have an Opposition that opposes almost everything, relentlessly attacks the Government’s stimulu...

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The fatal march of the fiscal lemmings

There’s lush high country that all political parties seek to occupy.  It’s called the ‘land of economic credibility’.  If you live there the people trust you with the economic management of the country or the state.  It has a high peak that no party has ever ...

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What value are economists to our society?

Clearly, banks, large companies, government instrumentalities and forecasting firms believe the employment of an economist on staff is valuable, despite the high cost of top professionals.  But what value are economists to the man in the street? [more] According to the US Bureau of Labo...

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A state of unhealthy denial afflicts the Coalition

Yesterday’s GDP figures came as a surprise to most.  So the economists, who were scrambling the previous day revising their GDP estimates down in the light of new economic data, were now scrambling to explain these unexpectedly good figures.  Most, but not all commentators conceded...

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The guru of prediction strikes again

Prediction is difficult, prophesy is often wrong, but being wrong again and again does not deter gurus of the calibre of Glenn Milne from making yet another foray into telling us what’s going to happen and giving us his interpretation of what’s already transpired.  In Poodle's...

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How to imply a sinister twist from almost nothing

“Turnbull link to Grech fee deal – EXCLUSIVE” headed the right column of the front page of this week’s edition of The Weekend Australian.  When the names Turnbull and Grech appear in the one line, the question is “What have they been up to now?”  Paul ...

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Political planning using Maslow’s pyramid

In the 2009 book The Best of Australian Political Writing edited by the publisher of Crikey, Eric Beecher, there is a chapter by Christine Jackman The future guy that was published in The Australian on 19 July 2008 that gives an account of the planning behind Kevin Rudd’s ascension to O...

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The corrosive effect of political anger

The intensity of anger being exhibited by some Coalition members seems to be on the increase, culminating last week in a ‘walkout’ of several of them from the House in protest.  If you doubt that anger is simmering just below the surface ready to bubble over unpredictably, watch a...

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Are Coalition scare campaigns running out of steam?

Scare or fear campaigns are as old as politics.  Scare the daylights out of the plebs and then pledge to protect them.  Better still, scare them about what your opponents are proposing to do, or even what you think they are going to do, or even what you have erroneously or dishonestly cl...

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Will anyone who really understands emissions trading please speak up

Can anyone remember a piece of legislation about which there has been so much ignorance, so much misinformation, so little reliable expert opinion, and so much politicking, than the emissions trading scheme legislation now known as the carbon pollution reduction scheme? The problem is that s...

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Brendan Nelson says leadership is everything - how does Malcolm Turnbull rate?

There has been a lot of talk about Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership in recent weeks, but little about what political leadership means in operational terms.  Brendan Nelson produced a notable list in an article he penned on August 10 in the SMH: The priorities are party, people and platform...

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The Turnbull reply to the latest Rudd essay

This is not a long piece, because there is little worthwhile that can be said about Malcolm Turnbull’s reply Rudd’s debt to burden future generations in the SMH on August 1.  There has been so much else to write about these last few days that Turnbull’s piece has s...

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The Turnbull endgame?

The Australian today abounds with talk of replacing Malcolm Turnbull as Coalition leader.  Dennis Shanahan and Matthew Franklin wrote a piece Desperate Liberals look to replace Turnbull with Robb, and Shanahan has a blog.  It's a loser or the last man standing.  The sixty c...

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Killing him softly with his words

When did you last see a politician knife his leader and hang him out to dry as openly as Peter Costello did live on air on ABC’s Lateline last night?  This morning’s news of the dawn raids on suspected terrorist cells, the OzCar story and the tabling of the Auditor-General&rs...

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Is the latest Rudd essay all spin?

Ross Gittins gives that impression in his piece in The Age on 27 July: 'Tough' talking PM is all spin.  In it he analyses Kevin Rudd’s latest essay The road to recovery that appeared in the 25 July issue of that paper. Exactly what is ‘political spin’?&nbs...

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Living in a bubble of unreality

Reading today’s editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald, Rudderless leader? creates the feeling that there must be another world out there inhabited by a collection of journalists whose perception of reality is in sharp contrast to that of the man in the street. After publishing th...

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The great heath care awakening

Those involved in primary health care will smile wryly as they read the Final Report of the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission of June 2009 - A Healthier Future For All Australians released yesterday and peruse the proposed elements for redesigning the health system.  The fi...

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Is the CPRS really a dog?

How many, other than those steeped in environmental science, have a clear idea about what is entailed in the Government’s CPRS?  Ordinary people could be forgiven for feeling that they are flying through thick climate change fog in an ill-defined direction towards an uncertain destinati...

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The Garrett enigma

It’s happened before, but criticism of Peter Garrett, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts has been re-kindled following his approval of mining at the Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia.  In accepting the conclusions of two independent reviews of the likely environ...

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