• Season’s Greetings
    Another year is behind us. It’s been the most torrid since the
    end of WWII. I don’t need to elaborate. Yet it has not bowed us.
    The human organism has a vast capacity to adapt and accomodate.
    While some have complained, most have simply ‘sucked it up’.
  • The mug punter
    When we entered 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was
    ‘livin’ the dream’. He had narrowly won the 2019 election and
    after a few months of pushing the tautological fiction that the
    Australian budget was already in surplus next year, he was kicking
    back in Hawaii with ‘Jen and the girls’ having a grand old time.
  • Vale 2020
    As we exit the year past, what do you consider to be the most significant event of 2020?

    Among a plethora of extraordinary events, as a doctor, the occurrence of COVID-19 gets my vote. Why?
  • The dangerous toll of entrenched belief
    The world is redolent with danger. Even small children know
    the dangers in their playground: he knows he can fall from
    the monkey bars; she knows she can be injured by the seesaw
    if it gyrates unexpectedly. Every bulletin of news reminds us of dangers
  • "
  • The cost of ideology
    Given recent events in Australia, you could say the price of political ideology
    is $1.2Billion, as that is the settlement the Coalition government negotiated
    to make the ‘robodebt’ class action go away without a court case. Probably
    more telling is there appears to be nothing for the thousands that are suffering
    long term psychological effects as a result of being falsely accused of large debts...
  • Guiliani
    Guiliani You know him well. He’s been in the public eye for decades.
    Now, he’s Donald Trump’s attorney, caught in the middle of Trump’s
    futile campaign to wrest the presidency from Joe Biden, the
    acknowledged and certified winner of the recent election.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Don’t poke the media – it might bite

Have you noticed how sensitive the media is becoming to criticism from politicians?  The rules of its game are that the media is entitled to criticise politicians ad nauseam, whether or not it has its facts right, whether or not its interpretation of them is accurate, whether or not the subje...

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The folly of resurrecting the dead

It was not the surprise reappearance of a smiling Philip Ruddock on TV that was unnerving; it was not his assertion that 10,000 more asylum seekers were ‘in the pipeline’, it was not even his inability to explain how he derived that figure; it was the stark imagery of a past era floodi...

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The curse of the electoral cycle

When politicians make pronouncements, how do you know whether they are spin or genuinely believed?  When they do spin a story it’s their veracity that is called into question.  But when they seem genuinely to believe what they’re saying, it’s their judgement that is que...

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After Turnbull

Despite the caution implicit in Mark Twain’s statement about his reported death being an exaggeration, columnists are almost universally predicting Malcolm Turnbull’s political demise.  Here are some of their dire predictions. Michelle Grattan's piece in The Age yesterda...

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Disingenuousness resurfaces

The barrenness of the Coalition commentary on economic issues has again been on display since the RBA lifted interest rates by 25 basis points to 3.25% yesterday.  Joe Hockey was first cab off the rank with his bold assertion that the rise was the result of the Government’s re...

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What will Turnbull do now?

‘Keep on punching Malcolm’ is what his father advised.  Malcolm Turnbull’s doggedness is legend, but so is his intelligence.  Someone as intelligent as all his reviewers insist, must be smart enough to know when to throw in the towel, how to avoid a humiliating knockout...

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Who is this man called Kevin?

One of the curiosities of recent political debate in this country has been the persistent quest for the real identity of Kevin Rudd.  We have known him for many years from the days when he was opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, yet columnists still scratch their heads.  Even the ev...

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Flogging a moribund horse

I suppose if you’re on the race track heading for a distant finishing line, one you can’t really yet see, even although your horse is tired and lagging way behind the field, you keep flogging it mindlessly, desperately hoping it will survive the race, buoyed by wild imaginings that it ...

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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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