• Nature abhors a vacuum
    In the past year or so, most of us would have become quite familiar with the group of people
    that seem to front up almost daily to discuss the current state of the COVID19 pandemic in
    each Australian jurisdiction. Usually there are a couple of politicians ably backed up by the
    experts in public health management, a high-ranking commissioned Police Officer, with a
    person live translating the discussion into Auslan for the benefit of those with hearing difficulties.
  • What is revving up the bully boys?
    Have you noticed the cluster of loud-mouthed men
    that has appeared recently on our Melbourne streets,
    fists raised, shouting messages of defiance
    directed at our those in authority?
  • We should be better than this
    In The Guardian’s detailed history of the ‘Tampa affair’ which
    occurred twenty years ago, you will notice a number of similarities
    with the current humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. Sadly, you will
    also notice that the response by current Prime Minister Morrison is
    worse than then Prime Minister Howard’s response twenty years ago.
  • Toad of Toad Hall
    This short piece is not intended to be a serious treatise; instead it’s a
    light-hearted appraisal of federal politics. We have had our fill of commentaries
    on the ins and outs of the Canberra scene written by self-confident ‘experts’
    who believe they understand the machinations of the political class.
  • The environmental vandals
    Over the past couple of weeks we’ve looked at some of the less
    savoury aspects of the current Coalition Government, led (for the
    moment) by Scott Morrison. This week, how about we look at the
    environmental record of this government, which reaches back
    to the days when Tony Abbott was the Prime Minister.
  • Protest and perish?
    There have recently been a number of ‘freedom’ rallies across Australia
    where participants seem to be claiming that the current pandemic is
    somewhere between a farce and a ‘deep cover’ operation by unnamed
    authorities to exert control over the mindless minions (that’s the rest of us).

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The arrogance of the media

Have you noticed how uppity the media has been during the boat people tragedy?  The annoyance has been evident when journalists have pressed Government ministers for information about this event.  Laurie Oakes became irritated during his Channel Nine Sunday interview with Julia Gillard.&...

Read More

Kids overboard all over again?

The human suffering that lead to the recent boat people making a run for Australia and the physical and psychological trauma many of them have suffered in the explosion off Ashmore Reef, sadly is now being overshadowed by the politicisation of the event with predictable divisive effects in our c...

Read More

The NBN saga

As with the global financial crisis where a vast amount of uninformed comment was made by economists and journalists on a subject none of them really understood, are we seeing something similar with the national broadband network (NBN) proposal announced by the Government last week? A brief hi...

Read More

Why is Malcolm Turnbull so unpopular?

To borrow a term from Malcolm Turnbull himself, his unpopularity seems to be the result of Turnbull’s Terrible Trifecta.  More of that later. There’s not much need to emphasize Turnbull’s contemporary unpopularity – it’s all over the air waves and the ...

Read More

Why is our PM so popular?

Another Newspoll today, the Essential Research Report yesterday, Morgan last Friday and ACNielsen last Monday, all give the same message – the Rudd Government is very popular and the PM enjoys high approval and high preferred PM ratings.  Today’s Newspoll has the 2PP back at the F...

Read More

The media scum

No it’s not a misprint for ‘scrum’; I mean ‘scum’.  This piece has been evoked by this morning’s media story in News Limited papers lead by The Daily Telegraph with headlines PM’s jet temper tantrum – Rudd made hostie cry complete with a p...

Read More

The Costello Memoirs

The back cover of the book points to one of the themes that run through The Costello Memoirs: “How did it come to this?  How did a Government that had created such an Age of Prosperity, such a proud and prosperous country, now find itself in the wilderness?”   Written ni...

Read More

The China intrigue

Whatever it was that precipitated the linking of Joel Fitzgibbon to Helen Liu, it has created a firestorm of ‘we need to watch China’ sentiment.  In just two of today's newspapers, Fairfax’s Melbourne Age, and Murdoch’s The Australian, there were about a dozen arti...

Read More

The ‘toxic bore’ stakes

Tony Abbott knows that perception is everything in politics.  So he has embarked on a campaign to label Kevin Rudd a ‘bore’, and just too add a splash of colour, no matter how meaningless, he adds the prefix ‘toxic’.  Would he have ever selected such an adjective ...

Read More

Dear Malcolm

Now that the tumultuous last week of parliamentary sitting is behind you, I suppose it’s a time for reflection.  Time for you to ask: ‘How am I doing?’  Time to check the compass, time to contemplate how to achieve better outcomes – unless of course you’re q...

Read More

The power of one

Steve Fielding has one vote, which he has the right to exercise, although he could hardly claim to ‘represent’ Victorians, having garnered less than 2% of the Senate vote.  Yesterday saw him exercise that vote against the alcopops legislation, thereby sinking it by one v...

Read More

The Turnbull Twist

Asked by a viewer last Sunday on Channel Ten’s Meet The Press why the Government and the Opposition could not work together collaboratively to manage the nation’s response to the GFC, Agriculture Minister Tony Burke responded by pointing out that “Mr Turnbull changes his position...

Read More

Silly questions

Media people yearn for the scoop, the breaking story they get to first.  They dream of being ahead of the pack, of upstaging their competitors.  They pursue their dreams every day.  But today’s politicians watch every word they utter, fearful of saying something that will come...

Read More

Has the Costello comeback begun?

The reappearance of Peter Costello over recent weeks has heightened speculation that he will soon take a run at the leadership.  Rumours filtered out today that he now has the numbers in the Liberal party room to roll Malcolm Turnbull if it came to a challenge. As asserted in an earlier...

Read More

The Turnbull answer to the Rudd essay

In an article in The Weekend Australian of 7-8 March titled PM's cheap money shot Malcolm Turnbull responds to Kevin Rudd’s essay in The Monthly, The Global Financial Crisis – (first 1500 words of the Rudd essay here).  Turnbull’s piece is worth reading as it gives ...

Read More

The Costello enigma

Aspiration to the highest office in the land is the ambition of most senior politicians.  So after so many years coveting that position, it came as a bolt from the blue when Peter Costello declined leadership after it was offered on a plate right after the 2007 election.  A role outside ...

Read More

Who do you want at the helm?

Metaphors abound around the global financial crisis.  The Government says we’re facing a global tsunami, and we can’t swim against that sort of tide.  We’re in a ship in stormy waters battling the elements.  In the wake of Victoria’s bushfires, it’s sur...

Read More

Dangerous and dishonest predictions

So much of life is predicated on a capacity to predict.  We want to know what the weather is predicted to be tomorrow, this week, next week.  We want our doctor to predict the likely progression of our illnesses and the effect of treatment.  Investors would like to know what the sto...

Read More

What makes good online journalism?

Recently Mark Bahnisch of blogsite Larvatus Prodeo said he "...would be interested in what LP folks think makes an excellent piece of online writing in journalistic form...a set of criteria distinctive to feature writing or reportage produced specifically for the online medium rather than print...

Read More

Mummy, I’m bored

Like kids at the end of the school holidays, some of our journalists are bored stiff.  They want some excitement to make their dull life a little more bearable.  The Press Gallery sits in Parliament, hangs around the precinct looking for doorstops, dwelling on the occasional press confer...

Read More