This afternoon I heard Christopher Pyne on ABC afternoon radio in Sydney, going on about how spending $16 billion on the Building The Education Revolution schools program was a waste. As usual, I became hot under the collar listening to him, because the guy has figured out how to breathe through h... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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? ... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
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... Read More
‘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... Read More
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... Read More
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 ... Read More