• End-of-year Greetings
    Here we are yet again - at the end of another year, perhaps the
    busiest year politically since this blogsite began on 13 September
    2008, 13 years ago. Time has not reduced the intensity of
    political discourse, it has increased it.
  • The coalition vs public opinion
    Those of us who are old enough to remember the Sydney Olympic
    Games will probably also remember there was some talk at the time
    that some countries were less than enthusiastic to compete because
    of Australia’s treatment of its First Nations people.
  • The Morrison enigma
    It’s becoming alarming. Every day our Prime Minister becomes more verbose,
    more shouty, more insistent. The old-fashioned word ‘blatherskite’ comes to mind.
    Listen to him as he fronts journalists, answers questions in Question Time, or
    delivers his characteristic off-the-cuff oratory on any subject he chooses,
    from protestors to carbon capture and storage to electric cars.
  • Lies, damn lies and economics
    There must be a federal election coming — the infamous yellow and
    black Clive Palmer funded billboards have made a reappearance. One
    of the billboards has a statement that suggests COVID19 related restrictions
    and vaccinations are a waste of time because it is still possible to be infected.
    It’s claimed the vaccine and restrictions are an attempt to restrict your ‘freedoms’.
  • Voter ID and dead cats
    If you are over 18 you will be legally required to vote in a Federal Election between
    now and next May. If the Coalition Government gets its way, next time you vote
    in a Federal Election you will have to produce proof of identity before you are handed
    the ballot papers. The Coalition have been talking about this for quite some time.
  • Invasion Day
    No, we’re not getting in early for that date at the end of January.
    Although there is considerable substance to the claim from first nations
    people that Australia had a civilisation long before Arthur Philip turned up
    with a number of ships and people that were a social problem the
    English decided to export rather than manage.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

Bushfire Bill joins The Political Sword as a guest contributor

First, welcome to The Political Sword 2010 at the beginning of an election year that promises to be even more frenetic than the last.  During January, while Ad astra takes a break, Bushfire Bill, who has made many penetrating and witty contributions to this and other political blogs, wi...

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The Rudd years

As the Rudd Government begins its third year, it seems an appropriate time to review its first two.  As a mental exercise let’s imagine the words or phrases that might best describe the progress of the Government towards its stated goals, and similarly those that characterize the perfor...

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The pugilistic politician

Tony Abbott’s recent threat to ‘give the Government the fright of its life’ is code for the new leader’s real metaphor – to give the Government the fight of its life. Have you noticed how aggressive and combative Abbott has become since his election?  He ha...

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Dennis Shanahan is at it again

Dear Dennis Just when we thought you’d got the knack of interpreting Newspoll results objectively and rationally, you disappoint us by reverting to your old form of squeezing the very last drop of positive news from the figures to boost the Coalition, omitting reference to aspects of t...

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Liberals turn up another dud

Was Tony Abbott the most astonished person after last Tuesday’s ballot for Leader of the Opposition?  If one can judge from his performance over the last few days, he was not only astonished but also seriously unprepared for such high office. But if you look at what he’s sai...

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He did it his way

There are countless commentators writing about the ‘Turnbull wreck’ and what might emerge from it.  Almost every hour brings some new angle.  At the time of writing on the evening of November 30, it seems as if the spill motion on December 1 will be opposed on principle by Jo...

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The Formula One Coalition Race

Every time it seemed a suitable time to comment on the leadership of the Coalition, the story changed.  Acknowledging that, like a fast moving Formula One race, there would never be a time when the prediction of the outcome would be extant for more than a brief period, I thought it wiser...

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The sad state of Australia’s MSM

How is it that the only papers I could find while in Phuket and Singapore, The International Herald Tribune – The Global Edition of the New York Times, The Bangkok Post, and Singapore’s The Straits Times carried articles so much superior to those in most of Australia’s MSM? ...

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Foreign Ministers’ quiet voice of reason

Amid all the shrill and often disingenuous comments thrown around by politicians and many media commentators, it was comforting to listen to the quiet voice of reason of our own Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, speaking on the 7.30 Report last night, and that of Indonesia’s Foreign Minister M...

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Which journalists do you trust on asylum seekers?

What a flurry of articles on asylum seekers we’ve had over the last couple of weeks.  Journalists have not taken a consistent position on this subject; there seems to be a wide variety of opinions about how the situation has occurred and what should be done about it.  This piece tr...

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'The Insiders' gives us ‘insight’ on border protection

Last Sunday’s episode of The Insiders included an extraordinary segment titled “Border protection to test Rudd's popularity - The panel discuss how the controversy surrounding Australia's asylum seeker policies is going to effect Kevin Rudd's popularity.”  Too ba...

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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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