• 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.

Dear Malcolm

Now that the tumultuous last week of parliamentary sitting is behind you, I suppose it’s a time for reflection.  Time for you to ask: ‘How am I doing?’  Time to check the compass, time to contemplate how to achieve better outcomes – unless of course you’re q...

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The power of one

Steve Fielding has one vote, which he has the right to exercise, although he could hardly claim to ‘represent’ Victorians, having garnered less than 2% of the Senate vote.  Yesterday saw him exercise that vote against the alcopops legislation, thereby sinking it by one v...

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The Turnbull Twist

Asked by a viewer last Sunday on Channel Ten’s Meet The Press why the Government and the Opposition could not work together collaboratively to manage the nation’s response to the GFC, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke responded by pointing out that “Mr Turnbull changes his position...

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Silly questions

Media people yearn for the scoop, the breaking story they get to first.  They dream of being ahead of the pack, of upstaging their competitors.  They pursue their dreams every day.  But today’s politicians watch every word they utter, fearful of saying something that will come...

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Has the Costello comeback begun?

The reappearance of Peter Costello over recent weeks has heightened speculation that he will soon take a run at the leadership.  Rumours filtered out today that he now has the numbers in the Liberal party room to roll Malcolm Turnbull if it came to a challenge. As asserted in an earlier...

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The Turnbull answer to the Rudd essay

In an article in The Weekend Australian of 7-8 March titled PM's cheap money shot Malcolm Turnbull responds to Kevin Rudd’s essay in The Monthly, The Global Financial Crisis – (first 1500 words of the Rudd essay here).  Turnbull’s piece is worth reading as it gives ...

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The Costello enigma

Aspiration to the highest office in the land is the ambition of most senior politicians.  So after so many years coveting that position, it came as a bolt from the blue when Peter Costello declined leadership after it was offered on a plate right after the 2007 election.  A role outside ...

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Who do you want at the helm?

Metaphors abound around the global financial crisis.  The Government says we’re facing a global tsunami, and we can’t swim against that sort of tide.  We’re in a ship in stormy waters battling the elements.  In the wake of Victoria’s bushfires, it’s sur...

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Dangerous and dishonest predictions

So much of life is predicated on a capacity to predict.  We want to know what the weather is predicted to be tomorrow, this week, next week.  We want our doctor to predict the likely progression of our illnesses and the effect of treatment.  Investors would like to know what the sto...

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What makes good online journalism?

Recently Mark Bahnisch of blogsite Larvatus Prodeo said he "...would be interested in what LP folks think makes an excellent piece of online writing in journalistic form...a set of criteria distinctive to feature writing or reportage produced specifically for the online medium rather than print...

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Mummy, I’m bored

Like kids at the end of the school holidays, some of our journalists are bored stiff.  They want some excitement to make their dull life a little more bearable.  The Press Gallery sits in Parliament, hangs around the precinct looking for doorstops, dwelling on the occasional press confer...

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The Turnbull ETS wild card

 This week’s Newspoll must be a worry for the Coalition, showing as it does the same 2PP of 58/42 as the poll in early February.  Since that poll the Opposition has made a display of what it believed was economic responsibility by opposing the fiscal stimulus package, a move it hop...

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Malcolm Turnbull’s intelligence

There seems to be little disagreement, even amongst his detractors, that Malcolm Turnbull is highly intelligent.  It almost goes without saying. Yet how can someone with his purported intelligence do such dumb things all through last week?  Is it because intelligence is not a homog...

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Advice for The Opposition

 On Friday last Possum Comitatus on his Crikey site Pollytics in a piece titled Unleash Your Inner Liberal Strategist asked readers to devise a Liberal Party strategy to become electorally competitive again.  So far 38 have commented.  Here was my contribution, minimally modified, [...

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A heart-warming remembrance

The National Day of Mourning for those affected by the February 7 bushfires in Victoria has been crowned this morning by a moving heart-warming event at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.  With Ian Henderson of ABC Melbourne TV as the dignified MC, the service proceeded faultlessly through music, ...

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The problem with economists

The central problem with economists is that not one of them fully understands how the world economy came to be in the mess it’s in.  They can give partial explanations that describe a series of events and actions that have brought us to where we are, but these explanations are always in...

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Matthew Franklin’s having a bad ‘scare’ day

First he confidently predicted that Julie Bishop was safe in his piece in this morning’s Australian Bishop retains Turnbull backing only to have her quit her Shadow Treasurer role within hours.  His opening sentence “Liberal frontbencher Julie Bishop looks safe as the Opposit...

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Devine, van Onselen and Shanahan sit in judgement

The Australian on Friday 13 February and this Weekend Australian carried pieces by Frank Devine, Peter van Onselen and Dennis Shanahan, all directing acerbic attacks at Kevin Rudd.  Devine’s piece attacks Rudd’s article in The Monthly, the others Rudd’s ‘connection of ...

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At last Julie Bishop exits the Shadow Treasurer role

After media speculation that intensified over the weekend, Julie Bishop has just announced she is stepping down from the Shadow Treasurer role, and will take up the Shadow Foreign Affairs job.  No mention yet of what Helen Coonan will do or who will take Bishop’s job.  Joe Hockey a...

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Why did Janet Albrechtsen write ‘Who is the real Rudd?’

First you may wish to read her piece in The Australian on 10 February. What is the message she sends about Kevin Rudd?  Her conclusion spells it out: “With philosophical principles impossible to pin down, his only consistent and coherent belief is in political power. Every Rudd po...

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