• Is Donald Trump crumbling?
    As you witness the increasingly bizarre behaviour of Donald Trump,
    the President of the United States, the mightiest nation on earth, do
    you wonder about his mental state? Do you speculate about his stability,
    his judgement, his reasoning? Recent events, piled on each other,
    beg the question; ”Is Donald Trump crumbling”?
  • Morrison's latest prop
    So the Liberal Party has hired a bus as a new toy for PM Scott Morrison. As a special
    gesture, they have also arranged for the bus to be covered in advertising so no
    one can mistake who is on the bus. The initial run for the bus is from the Gold Coast
    to Townsville located on the North Queensland coast, something like 1400 km in four days.
  • The march of the demagogues
    Are you as unnerved as I am by the rise of demagogues around the
    world – leaders who gain popularity by exploiting prejudice and ignorance
    among the people, whipping up passions and shutting down reasoned debate,
    who overturn established customs of political conduct, or threaten to do so?
  • Dare Ya
    On 21 August, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said: I think in
    the immigration portfolio, you are defined by Nauru and Manus ...
    I would love to get everybody off there tomorrow. If I could have brought
    them to Australia in a charter flight overnight I would have.
  • Shackled by ideology
    How many of you despair of our politicians? How many of you fume at the
    incoherence of the positions they take? How many bristle at their intransigence,
    their stubbornness, their adherence to outmoded dogma that is no longer supported
    by the facts? How many of you have a feeling of hopelessness about their conduct?
  • The Demtel Man
    Those who remember free to air television in the 80’s and 90’s will
    remember the advertising for ‘as seen on TV’ products marketed by
    a company called Demtel. A quick Google search will remind you of the
    process if you are fortunate enough to have either not lived through the era.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The national interest versus political expediency

When Kevin Rudd likened the effect of the global financial crisis on Australians to a rolling national security crisis, he was ridiculed by Malcolm Turnbull and the media, and cartoons of Rudd in fire-fighting gear soon appeared.  But Rudd was right.  The calamity facing us already has h...

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Where has reason flown?

That so many investors seem to be making unreasoned decisions and dumping stock as share prices fall is understandable if they are, as has been described, in a state of blind panic, occasioned by unremitting fear.  But that state of unreason should not infect journalists, who ought to be able...

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A plain man’s glossary of finance market terms

To understand what parliamentarians are talking about in Question Time on the current financial upheaval, what the finance experts are saying in the business media, or even what the news bulletins mean, a working knowledge of financial terms is handy.  So this a compilation of terms that un...

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Much ado about nothing

UPDATED 23 October So the latest saga has come and almost gone.  The Coalition, which began with a much-vaunted promise of bipartisanship, has now reverted to form.  It has accused the Government of bungling the most important financial move it has made, the Bank Deposit Guarantee;...

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The great media awakening

Ever since he became Leader of the Opposition, the relationship between the media and Kevin Rudd has been patchy.  While he, with Joe Hockey, once enjoyed a convivial regular association with Channel Seven, a connection that still exists, and while his appearances on Channel Ten’s Rove ...

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The economy – who can we believe?

Nobody really knows how we got into the financial mess we’re in, or how to get out of it.  Nobody knows what the stock market will do this week, next week, next month.  No less a figure than Warren Buffett said in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times last week “I can&rsq...

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Media melancholy

‘Melancholy’ is an old fashioned word derived from medieval medicine; it literally means ‘black bile’, an excess of which was believed to cause depression.  ‘Depressed’, which now carries a specific taxonomic meaning, seems to be an inappropriate word to ch...

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To quibble or not to quibble

It was just last Tuesday, 14 October, when Malcolm Turnbull announced the Coalition’s willing bipartisan support for the Government’s $10.4 billion package to stimulate Australia’s slowing economy.  In a doorstop, he and his deputy added that the Coalition would not quibble ...

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Kevin Rudd – all action, no talk

After months of hearing and reading the “all talk no action” mantra, it would be too much to now expect the reverse after the announcement yesterday of the $10 billion ‘boost to the economy’.  Some journalists got close.  In today’s issue of The Australian P...

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Malcolm’s at it again

In several pieces on The Political Sword it has been argued that Malcolm Turnbull is at his best when he’s advocating ideas and actions in which he believes, but when he’s required to promote that in which he does not have his heart, he flounders and is unconvincing.  Over the las...

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What’s got into our TV interviewers?

This piece is prompted by two recent episodes where the PM was interviewed in a manner that could only be described as aggressive, if not downright rude. We know that politicians enjoy lowly status in the respectability stakes.  Broken promises, speaking with a forked tongue and partisa...

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Andrew Bolt – Pied Piper to his bloggers

Watching Andrew Bolt on ABC TV’s Insiders yesterday, I wondered when last he was subjected to the same critical judgment to which he so eagerly subjects others. This prompted the idea for a series on The Political Sword on how we perceive our political journalists, with Bolt as first under t...

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The corrosive effect of political slogans

Spin doctors love slogans.  Their focus groups test them for efficacy.  They launch them, repeat them incessantly until their use-by date, then go onto the next.  They know the corrosive effect the negative ones can have on those to whom they’re applied.  The media too lo...

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Why is the Opposition antagonizing the banks?

Isn’t it curious that the conservative side of politics, the free-marketeers, are now at loggerheads with the banks.  All the more so with a leader who is an ex-merchant banker. It was the previous Treasurer who defended so fiercely the independence of the Reserve Bank, and indeed...

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So will interest rates now always be lower under Labor?

It’s almost a year since John Howard parted the scene, but his mantra “Interest rates will always be lower under the Coalition” still rings in our ears.  It was powerful, memorable and effective, except at the last election, when so many of the people stopped believing it, o...

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Why do so many in the media enjoy a beat-up?

This morning on ABC 774 radio, Kathy Bedford, a temporary morning announcer, raised the matter of a brutal assault on Dr Mukesh Haikerwell, past President of the AMA, that resulted in his being admitted to the Western General Hospital in suburban Melbourne for ‘brain surgery’.  Fo...

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What should we expect from the Shadow Treasurer?

When Brendon Nelson unexpectedly pipped Malcolm Turnbull for leadership of the Coalition last year, even although the Liberal convention is to allow the Deputy Leader to choose a portfolio, it was expected that Nelson would offer Turnbull the post of Shadow Treasurer.  That’s what happe...

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Could the media tide be turning?

It might surprise those who believe the media, particularly News Limited, is anti-Government and pro-Coalition, that some Coalition supporters believe the media is pro-Government and not nearly hard enough on Kevin Rudd and his ministers.  Perspective governs perception.  For those who b...

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The Cringe Dwellers

When the Prime Minister announced his recent trip to the US, the ‘cringe dwellers’ emerged in numbers.  First the Opposition coined what it thought were cute descriptors: ‘Kevin 747’ and ‘Prime Tourist’, which apart from giving it some amusement, exposed an...

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The Turnbull Report Card 10 days in

10 days ago Malcolm Turnbull became Leader of the Opposition at a time of intense political activity and global financial turmoil.  This is one view of how he’s travelling. As argued in another post: Will the real Malcolm Turnbull please stand up? Turnbull’s performance va...

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