• 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.
  • There is no Planet B
    This was written in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch terror
    attack where 50 innocent people (at the time of writing) were gunned down
    by a lone gunman. It was going to be a rant against a number of
    Australian politicians who use racism and terrorism to further their own objectives.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The hazard of uncertainty

For most people uncertainty is an uncomfortable feeling.  Yet we are forced to live with it every day.  The farmer wonders if rain will arrive in time to save his crop.  Many a cancer sufferer lives with the uncertainty of cure or recurrence.   The self-funded retiree endu...

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Barack Obama’s message to Australian politics

Barack Obama began his acceptance speech “If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.” &...

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Glenn Milne – the mischievous journalist

If a politician or bureaucrat wants to gain some publicity for a rumour, some gossip, or a little dirt on an opponent, or wants to make a damaging leak or insert an uncomfortable wedge, to whom would he or she go?  High on the list would be Glenn Milne, the mischievous maestro of scuttlebutt ...

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The CPRS, Treasury modelling, and the predictable reaction

Now that the long-awaited Treasury modelling for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme has arrived, it is a salutary exercise to check how well the predicted reactions of the players match their actual response. Predictably the Government has used the modelling to reinforce its determination...

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The bank guarantee – what does the Opposition and the media really believe?

Ever since the Rudd Government announced its guarantee for deposits in banks, credit unions and building societies there has been a running commentary from the Opposition and the media about that move.  After a brief flirtation with bipartisanship, following Tony Abbott’s dictum that op...

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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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