• 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.

Loathing kills logic

Serious contributors to the political blogosphere genuinely feel they have a legitimate contribution to make to political discourse in this country, and occasionally they get the feeling that their offerings are making a difference, are changing thinking among the conventional commentators.  ...

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Memo to journalists – don’t praise the PM

Unless you are senior and well endowed with gravitas, if you want to stay within the Journos' Club, stick to the club rule – don’t praise the PM.  Otherwise you may end up on the outer, shunned by the majority – the timid compliant majority too inhibited to flout the rul...

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Milne sinks deeper into it

After the extraordinary media beat-up of Kevin Rudd’s outburst at some of his backbenchers critical of the Government’s reduction of parliamentarians’ printing allowance, I questioned whether giving this pitiable story more oxygen was apposite, but as it continues even today, and...

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How do you rate our federal politicians?

The idea for this exercise came from bloggers on The Poll Bludger a few days ago.  They were giving scores out of ten to our senior politicians.  I thought it might be of interest to visitors to The Political Sword to join in this attempt to evaluate the people whom we have elected to go...

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Should mainstream journalists be political cheerleaders?

Accurate reporting of the facts and the coherent expression of opinion by mainstream journalists ought to be possible.  Yet sometimes the facts they advance are incomplete or distorted and the opinions they offer confusingly intertwined with them.  This often leads to bias and the impres...

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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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