• Pants on fire
    It’s not only Crikey subscribers that have read the list of
    Prime Minster Morrison’s lies and falsehoods they published
    recently as it’s not paywalled. Crikey claims they applied a
    rigorous test to their claims and only ‘counted’ those lies and
    falsehoods they could provide evidence to validate.
  • It’s not dumb luck, is it more sinister
    Australia has been fortunate through the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The infections and deaths due to COVID-19 have been far less
    than others by percentage of population, the economy is apparently
    returning to some form of normal and life is not greatly impacted
    for most Australians on a day-to-day basis.
  • The charade of representative government
    Why do I use the term ‘charade’? Because I believe representative
    government is “an absurd pretence intended to create a pleasant
    or respectable appearance” about the concept of government of
    the people, for the people, by the people.
  • Bring out the dogwhistle
    An unfortunate fact of life in Australian politics since the early 1800s has been
    the racist dogwhistle. Consider the evidence of mass executions of first nations
    peoples that lived in Australia for thousands of years before Dirk Hartog (the
    first European to leave an artefact on the Australian continent in 1616) to the
    ‘White Australia Policy’ and Coalition Prime Minister John Howard’s 2001 election speech
  • The price of arrogance
    It’s all very well for us to say how much we deplore the arrogance of
    our Prime Minister, but as Aussies who live under his ‘rule’ we can’t
    avoid the awkward fact that those who live elsewhere may see us as
    tarred with the same brush! How easy would it be for them to believe
    arrogance is an Australian characteristic? His behaviour taints us all.
  • Déjà vu
    To minimise the pain of reminding you of the shocking destruction
    that is occurring day after day in Gaza City, I have kept this piece
    short. I have found writing it distressing, yet the story needs to be
    told. It is part of our grotesque contemporary reality.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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Memo to News Limited journalists

It was a comment on The Poll Bludger by Bushfire Bill that prompted me to write this satirical piece, a mock memo from the proprietors of News Limited to their political columnists. Revered colleagues As you are well aware, newspapers are losing circulation and advertising revenue.&nbs...

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Resolving the boat people dilemma – did pragmatism trump principle?

The decision of the Rudd Government to suspend temporarily the processing of applications for refugee status of Afghans and Sri Lankans has had a mixed reception.  Some applaud it as a sensible measure to enable better identification of those entitled to be categorized as refugees, especially...

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‘Those people’

Most nations have some shame in their history, Australia no less.  The treatment of our indigenous people and the abuse of ‘orphans’ brought to Australia after the Second World War were shameful, and have only recently evoked an official national apology from our Prime Minister.&n...

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Who on earth is advising the Coalition on media strategy?

We all know Tony Abbott is ‘authentic’, which presumably means that what he says is what he really thinks.  We know with Barnaby Joyce, the great ‘retail politician’, that what comes out of his mouth is unadulterated Barnaby.  What rational media advisor would hav...

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What do you want from The Political Sword?

With a quasi-election campaign already underway, and an increasing number of issues upon which to comment, the Easter break seems a good time for The Political Sword to review its modus operandi, and provide a chance for visitors to express their views about how TPS should proceed. Please le...

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Spartacus fiddles while policy roams...

    The arena is strewn with dead bodies. Howard, Costello, Downer, Vaile, Nelson, Turnbull, Joyce, Minchin, Brough are names that come to mind. Hockey, knocked over by his own weight in a friendly rugby match only groggily recovered from the impact. Their clarion caller...

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Why do journalists ask silly questions?

At the National Press Club in Canberra on 22 March, ten journalists were given the privilege of addressing questions to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on the subject of their debate, health and hospitals reform, a debate that was critiqued in the previous piece: Comprehending ...

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Comprehending the Great Big New Health Debate

The tone was set at the beginning when a smiling Kevin Rudd shook hands with a scowling Tony Abbott.  I saw three different photos of the handshake; all were the same.  Did anyone see a smiling Abbott?  Was this another Latham moment?  Abbott seemed to be spoiling for a fight, ...

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Why is Kevin Rudd so unpopular? Polls, popularity and the Icarus Syndrome

    Regulars here will know that my last piece was entitled Is Rudd tying the bootstrappers’ bootlaces for them?  I argued that Rudd’s mea culpa had been an unnecessary concession to a media bootstrap campaign, unwisely and retrospectively bestowing ...

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News Limited’s undeclared war on the Rudd Government

If you doubt if there is a war, look at the News Limited papers over the last few days.  First, look at Rudd stimulus drove up rates by David Uren in Friday’s Australian which begins “The rapid jobs growth of the past five months has come to a halt, with new figures showing ...

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Is there a widening chasm between the Canberra Press Gallery and the people?

It’s probably not possible to accurately define the ‘Canberra Press Gallery’; in this piece I’m referring to the journalists who get to ask guest speakers at National Press Club events most of the questions, and those who report on federal politics. Judging from what ...

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Is Rudd tying the bootstrappers’ shoelaces for them?

    If Kevin Rudd thought Insulgate was going to go away with a mea culpa, he was wrong. Note that I refer to ‘Insulgate’... the beat up, the bootstrap, not the reality-based situation. We have seen recently the first (and perhaps the last) attempts at fac...

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