• The Chain of Responsibility
    There are certain responsibilities when you are driving a vehicle.
    You are required to comply with rules such as not being affected by
    drugs or alcohol, not checking your social media accounts while driving,
    maintaining control over your vehicle, parking only where allowed and so on.
  • Just answer the Question!
    I know that, like me, you fume when politicians steadfastly refuse
    to answer a question directly, preferring to prevaricate by evading
    an answer altogether, giving an answer to a question they would
    prefer to answer, or wandering off into a boring recital of the dot
    points with which their minders have briefed them.
  • The economy is sinking, but where is the lifebuoy?
    Those of you who hear experts describe in frightening terms the
    dire state of our economy, and then hear the faux reassurances that
    issue from the mouths of our Treasurer and Prime Minister, must wonder
    if they live in some parallel universe, where, reminiscent of Humpty
    Dumpty, words can mean anything they want them to mean.
  • The root cause
    Frequently, when presented with a problem, we attempt to treat the symptom rather
    than the real issue. For example, if every morning when you get in your car you
    notice that one of the tyres looks a bit flat, you could treat the symptom by calling
    in at the nearest petrol station and putting more air in the tyre. However, as air
    doesn’t shrink or disappear for no reason, there is obviously a deeper issue involved.
  • Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison?
    Duttonisation – an existential threat to Morrison? Make no mistake
    – Dutton’s thirst for power remains unquenched. His conviction that
    he is ‘the better man’ to be prime minister continues unabated. This
    piece argues that in pursuit of this lofty goal, he has now consciously
    embarked on a process best described as ‘Duttonisation’.
  • You're paying too much
    And that has nothing to do with fuel marketing cycles that seem to afflict
    larger cities around the country, the cost of importing fuel because the
    multi-national refining companies have determined it is not economic to
    produce fuel in Australia or any one of the hundreds of other theories of
    why it now costs more than ever to fill up the car. It is all to do with politics.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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The media versus the politicians

The last two pieces on The Political Sword: Let’s leave it to Kevin and Media flounders over the Hu affair have focussed on the media handling of the Stern Hu affair.  Concluding comments in those pieces pointed to ‘...all the hype, conjecture, misinformation, and ill-conside...

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Let’s leave it to Kevin

What a week of predictions, ponderous opinions, shrill warnings and learned views we have had from Australia’s media about the Stern Hu affair.  Let’s chronicle them, and in the interest of reasonable brevity, let’s confine ourselves mainly to what has appeared in The Austra...

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Media flounders over the Hu affair

Those who seek to understand the intricacies of the Hu affair and its implications for this nation could be excused for being cynical and disappointed at the media’s efforts to inform us.  It has floundered around with little purpose, insight or even native intelligence.  Its cravi...

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