• Is adversarial politics damaging our democracy?
    It was twelve years ago that I wrote ‘Is adversarial politics
    damaging our democracy?’ Some of that piece is reproduced
    below because recent political events demonstrate that its
    messages are as relevant today as they were then.
  • Nationalism really isn't easy
    If you said that someone has money to burn, you mean that
    they have far more money than they need or that they simply
    spend their money on things that you think are unnecessary
    or not socially acceptable.
  • The Trump dilemma
    Don’t get me wrong. Trump is not the dilemma to which I’m referring. His
    behaviour is no longer a quandary. With every word he utters, with every
    tweet, he confirms that his mental state continues to deteriorate to the point
    where commentator after commentator expresses astonishment and alarm at his
    outlandish reactions to the social and political environment in which he finds himself.
  • Information and critical thinking do matter
    When Prime Minister Morrison was advised there was the risk of uncontrolled
    spread of a deadly pandemic on the horizon early this year, he was slightly
    wiser than at Christmas when he left a burning Australia in the ‘capable’
    hands of Deputy Prime Minister and National Party Leader Michael McCormack.
  • Morrison morphs into ‘Strict Father’ mode
    Back in 2013, I wrote a piece with the curious title:
    The myth of political sameness.
    Its purpose was to debunk the commonly held
    view that ‘politicians are all the same’.
  • Double standards
    There has been general praise for the Australian Governments
    (at all levels) and their management of the COVID19 pandemic.
    While the politicians signed off on the decisions, they listened to
    and generally acted on the advice of the state and federal CMOs.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Gotcha!

Greetings fellow Swordians.  Today I'd like to report on a worrying trend which I have noticed creeping into political reportage of late in this country.  I am not quite sure how extensive it is yet across the country, only that I have noticed it increasingly here in Sydney on Channel ...

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Who cares about the next Newspoll?

Certainly those at The Australian newspaper do.  After all, they own Newspoll, and say they understand it better than anyone.  But there’s more – they value it as a heavy political weapon with which they flail this nation’s Prime Minister even when the poll shows only a m...

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The media’s specifications for an Australian PM

First, it must be understood that it is the media who will shape the Prime Minister of this nation.  It is to the media that he or she must answer.  It will decide which of the contenders should be elected, and how the one so crowned should govern.  If the public can understand th...

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Kevin, Kevin, Kevin.

My heart is breaking. With the release of the latest Nielsen Poll a dagger has truly been inserted into my heart, not of the RSPT, politically-opportunistic kind which Tony Abbott squawks about, a sentiment of his that actually runs counter to the national interest when you think about it closely en...

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Who’s winning the RSPT debate?

It’s now a month since the Henry Review was made public along with the Government’s decision to endorse an RSPT, although there were rumours that this was to be the case for weeks beforehand.  Where is the debate now? Who is winning?It seems that although the Government was out of t...

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Is it that hard to sell the RSPT?

In the piece Why is a good Government down in the polls, several reasons for this state of affairs were proposed that included media malevolence, media manipulation, promises sometimes construed as being broken, less-than-perfect management of expectations, inadequate communication of poli...

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The Canberra Press Gallery will decide who governs this country...

And the manner by which they come to power.Initially, this blog was going to be a bit of a rant about the Australian Federal Press Gallery, and press galleries in general, hot on the heels of the scathing article in the May 15 edition of The Weekend Australian, Canberra gallery turns on an ADHD prim...

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Getting some balance into the RSPT debate

There has been much heat emanating from the RSPT debate, but little light to illuminate the details in a way that enables neutral people to be informed in a balanced way. This piece brings together a number of articles and opinions that paint a somewhat different picture from that portrayed by the m...

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Why is a good Government down in the polls?

This is the first of a series that will examine what the Rudd Government has done during its two and a half years in office.  It will be argued that it has been a good government that has achieved much more that might be expected in a first term and has a host of ongoing initiatives in train ...

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Politics is officially bunk

    I regard myself as a pretty hard nut to crack but I have to admit it... today I'm gobsmacked. Gobsmacked... that yesterday The Australian could introduce an article by Mirko Bagaric - the man who wrote the book on torture ...

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Their ABC

Or, the Coalition and Murdoch Conspiracy to Co-opt the ABC for their own ends. This blog is a Call to Arms. It is time for all Australians of good conscience to act before it's too late. Like a wraith, Mr Murdoch moves stealthily but deliberately. His work is always in the background, but h...

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But, but, but...

The opinion polls and betting markets indicate that the probability of Tony Abbott becoming PM and the Abbott Party taking power at the next election is increasing.  To date a lot of attention has been focussed by the media and the Abbott Party on Kevin Rudd and his performance, and he’s ...

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Wake in fright

 Peter Hartcher, in a column titled How a toxic elixir destroyed the prism of trust, has starkly set out a potential disaster scenario for Labor in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald:  Australians will never see Rudd in the same light again. Every policy will now be seen as just an...

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The folly of putting a politician on a pedestal

From stratospheric, even unrealistic heights, Kevin Rudd’s popularity has rather suddenly become much less, according to opinion polls.  Why is this so?  There is any number of journalists who are willing, even eager to offer their opinions, attributing it to this or that – the...

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Tony Abbott is really ‘P’ing me off

Tony Abbott loves using buzzwords, as do most effective conservative communicators these days. These people are the inheritors of the Newt Gingrich conservative political legacy, which I have referred to before. Not only have they taken their communication cues from the infamous Mr Gingrich's li...

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Do economics commentators live in fantasy land?

The Henry Review is out and the economics commentators, along with journalists, some of whom have not shown much aptitude for economics, are out there going hell for leather giving us their learned opinions.  How much credence do we give them, even when they seem to be singing in harmony? ...

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The antediluvian media

I’ve been wondering what chronic disability it is that has been afflicting so much of the media, wondering why its political commentary is so predictable yet so often lacking in depth, so devoid of clarifying insights.   Where have the competent columnists gone?  We know there...

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Which Tony has the twin?

Or, 'Change You Can't Believe In'. G'day.  This is the first in an occasional series of commentary pieces that I will be submitting in the run-up to our federal election. Merely one other perspective, but one which I hope you will find interesting and informative and goo...

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The Liberals' universal solution to everything: Just say 'No'

Once again the Liberals have shown themselves to be the party of ‘No’. Premier Colin Barnett of Western Australia has taken his bat and ball and gone home from the Health negotiations. Whenever the Liberals' vote is needed in the national interest they withhold it. Wherever c...

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Is the ABC’s ‘Insiders’ balanced?

The only tenable answer is ‘sometimes’.  This Sunday’s Insiders was balanced, many other editions, not.  I expect most political tragics take a look at this programme on ABC TV each week.  In recent times there have been complaints on this blog site and elsewhere a...

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