• Is Donald Trump crumbling?
    As you witness the increasingly bizarre behaviour of Donald Trump,
    the President of the United States, the mightiest nation on earth, do
    you wonder about his mental state? Do you speculate about his stability,
    his judgement, his reasoning? Recent events, piled on each other,
    beg the question; ”Is Donald Trump crumbling”?
  • Morrison's latest prop
    So the Liberal Party has hired a bus as a new toy for PM Scott Morrison. As a special
    gesture, they have also arranged for the bus to be covered in advertising so no
    one can mistake who is on the bus. The initial run for the bus is from the Gold Coast
    to Townsville located on the North Queensland coast, something like 1400 km in four days.
  • The march of the demagogues
    Are you as unnerved as I am by the rise of demagogues around the
    world – leaders who gain popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance
    among the people, whipping up passions and shutting down reasoned debate,
    who overturn established customs of political conduct, or threaten to do so?
  • Dare Ya
    On 21 August, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: I think in
    the immigration portfolio, you are defined by Nauru and Manus ...
    I would love to get everybody off there tomorrow. If I could have brought
    them to Australia in a charter flight overnight I would have.
  • Shackled by ideology
    How many of you despair of our politicians? How many of you fume at the
    incoherence of the positions they take? How many bristle at their intransigence,
    their stubbornness, their adherence to outmoded dogma that is no longer supported
    by the facts? How many of you have a feeling of hopelessness about their conduct?
  • The Demtel Man
    Those who remember free to air television in the 80’s and 90’s will
    remember the advertising for ‘as seen on TV’ products marketed by
    a company called Demtel. A quick Google search will remind you of the
    process if you are fortunate enough to have either not lived through the era.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The PM to the media – I have a message for you

Three weeks ago you, the media, took a satirical swipe at me on The Political Sword in The media to the PM – we have a problem.  Let me now return the compliment. You began: “Prime Minister.  Listen carefully.  The media is powerful, very powerful.  Our journa...

Read More

Will the Coalition ever learn?

The Coalition is close to a black hole, and if it doesn’t change course, it will be sucked in.  If it had any doubt about whether its behaviour and that of its leader were being observed by the voters, that should now be dispelled after this week’s polling.  That such a rapid...

Read More

Don’t blame me

Open letter to the people of Australia There have been a lot of nasty things said about me this last week, so unjust, so scurrilous.  You’d expect the Government to indulge in gutter politics, they’re Labor after all, but for journalists and even some of my Coalition colleag...

Read More

Diagnosing cronyism

Cronyism refers to giving appointments of authority on the basis of friendship, or in this country mateship, regardless of qualifications, rather than through the practice and principles of meritocracy.  So to accuse Labor, and in particular Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan of cronyism over the OzCa...

Read More

Stop at nothing – Malcolm Turnbull’s fatal flaw?

The events of the week have given new significance to the title of Annabelle Crabb’s Quarterly Essay about the ‘Life and Adventures of Malcolm Turnbull’ – Stop at Nothing.  This piece is to draw comparisons between Turnbull’s past behaviour and that which he has ...

Read More

The old rusty ute

‘Where there’s smoke there’s fire’ might have been more apt as a title, but no one will mistake what ‘The old rusty ute’ is about.  But as we know, it’s not really about the ute at all.  Those who know the story well might wish to skip to the ana...

Read More

The Costello exit?

Given his past history, it might not be unreasonable to query whether this is really his exit.  There is still eighteen months to go, so unless he becomes mute until the next election, or retires soon and brings on a by-election, we will hear more from him.  There have been several artic...

Read More

The media to the PM – we have a problem

Prime Minister.  Listen carefully.  The media is powerful, very powerful.  Our journalists write newspaper columns that lots of people read; they create news bulletins and current affairs programmes that many people hear and see; they conduct talkback to which countless people liste...

Read More

The sauce bottle saga

Can you believe it?  Here we are having public discourse about Kevin Rudd’s use of the phrase ‘fair shake of the sauce bottle’ – used three times in the one interview!!!! First there is an academic argument about what the phrase really is.  Is it ‘fair...

Read More

Have we just experienced a crucial week politically?

Last week was one of the most politically eventful since the election of the Rudd Government.  But how crucial was it to the future of the Government and the Opposition?  The National Accounts for the March Quarter showed a seasonally adjusted growth in GDP of 0.4%, avoiding two qu...

Read More

The Fitzgibbon affair – endgame?

They got their man.  But who are ‘they’? First it must be accepted that Joel Fitzgibbon shot himself in the foot – several times.  So when it all boils down he has only himself to blame for his exit to the backbench.  The first-revealed misdemeanours of not r...

Read More

Barack Obama's speech in Cairo

Just Me has provided me with the link to Barack Obama's speech in Cairo yesterday.  For those wishing to read this important and well-received speech, click the title: Barack Obama’s prepared remarks to Cairo, Egypt  Your comments, as always, will be welcome.

Read More

The media and the PM – is there dissonance?

“[His] answer, as always, is work and persistence.  His schedule of travel and engagements reads like an election itinerary.  Government sources say his advance teams are going flat out.  He never misses an opportunity to grab a headline, giving opinions on everything from Art...

Read More

More on the Fitzgibbon affair, Bolt, and other trivia

The weekend papers have furnished us with yet another episode in the Joel Fitzgibbon affair.   On March 26 the Sydney Morning Herald splashed the headline Defence leaks dirt file on own minister’  The Age and The Canberra Times did similarly.  The story, by Philip Dorling...

Read More

The Rudd essay on the GFC – was he right?

This is a follow up to a piece posted on 7 February Kevin Rudd’s essay on the global financial crisis and another piece posted a month later The Turnbull answer to the Rudd essay. The Monthly, which published the Rudd essay, has published in its May issue The Rudd Essay & the Globa...

Read More

How do you rate our TV and radio journalists?

What was intended to be a two part piece needs another – this is about TV and radio journalists. Some of these are the most acerbic and intimidating interrogators.  They look for and enjoy the gotcha moment, and because they are well known for this propensity, politicians are wary...

Read More

How do you rate our political journalists?

The last piece How should we rate the quality of our political journalists? outlined the criteria that might apply when judging their quality.  This piece reflects on individual journalists.  Your views are invited. First let’s deal with editorials which are a particular prob...

Read More

How should we rate the quality of our political journalists?

Bell-shaped (Gaussian) curves abound in nature and human endeavour, no less among political journalists.  They are scattered along a normal distribution curve in more ways than one.  Their political orientation varies from the extremes of conservatism on the one hand, to extremes of soci...

Read More

The Coalition’s Budget Rap – deficit and debt, deficit and debt

Although it might be hard to conjure up an image of Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey and Helen Coonan doing the Coalition’s Budget Rap, it would not be difficult to imagine the words that would flow from their throats: Deficit and debt, Deficit and debt, Deficit and debt as far as you can see...

Read More

Liberals and Power – The Road Ahead

This book, edited by Peter van Onselen, is a mixture of good articles and several of indifferent quality.  The introduction by the editor does not indicate how the authors were selected, nor whether those selected were given an open assignment to write what they pleased or whether t...

Read More