• You gotta hit bottom
    Sitting on this side of the Pacific, it seems that the USA has chosen a new
    President after one term. A sitting President who is eligible for reelection has
    been defeated only 10 times in US history. While the razzle-dazzle and showbiz
    style of the US election campaigns is ongoing and seems to be accepted in the US,
    there are dangers in the hyper-partisan ‘geeing up’ of those that do get out and vote.
  • Trump is a cult leader
    Do you sometimes ask yourself how it is that President Trump
    is able to attract and hold such a devoted collection of admirers,
    some of whom insist they ‘would die for him’? Are you amazed that
    they come out on the streets again and again in their thousands to
    cheer him and rail angrily against those who decry him? Why is it so?
  • It's the planet stupid
    At the recent full year results release, the ANZ announced it planned
    to be a business that generated net zero emissions by 2050. This report
    in The Guardian gives considerable detail on the ANZ’s plan for the future
    and also discusses Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Deputy
    Prime Minister Michael McCormack taking exception with the ANZ Bank.
  • Trumpism
    First, let’s examine the meaning of the suffix: ‘ism’.
    Wikipedia says it means “taking side with" or "imitation of",
    and is often used in association with philosophies, theories,
    religions, social and artistic movements, and behaviours.
  • How about some honesty
    The last weekend in October would have been a pretty horrible
    time for Victorians. First on Saturday they found out that Mike Brady
    can sing ‘Up there Cazaly’ without 100,000 of his closest friends around
    him at the MCG. To add insult to injury, the ‘backing band’ was the
    Queensland Symphony Orchestra who made their contribution from Brisbane.
  • A new normal - yeah right
    I bought some milk at my local Supermarket yesterday. It cost me $3.59. The
    checkout operator didn’t ask me about my ability to pay for the milk in comparison
    to the person in front or behind me as the sale price is based on the ability of Coles
    to arrange for the milk to be produced and transported to my local supermarket
    for a specific cost — and they make some money for themselves in the process.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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Integrity in journalism

How do you react to journalists who quote ‘informed sources’ or ‘senior public servants’ or ‘experienced politicians’ but never name them?  How much credence do you place on such anonymous sources?  How reliable do you believe this ‘reporting&rsq...

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Do we want our Prime Minister to travel overseas?

Just when it was hoped that a change of leader might bring a less opportunistic approach to opposition than did Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull outdoes his predecessor by turning up the heat on Kevin Rudd about his visit to the US.  We all know why Rudd is going – to speak to the...

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Political commentating as a blood sport

Political commentators thrive on controversy, upheaval, changing fortunes, changing circumstances.  They particularly enjoy a contest between political parties, between opposing leaders and between ministers and their counterparts, and the more bloodshed the better.  They are like specta...

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The ‘ain’t it awful’ syndrome

The Liberal Party is still mourning its loss of Government.  As pointed out by Maxine McKew on the ABC TV’s Q&A last Thursday, Peter Costello’s Memoirs, written well after the loss, express surprise that a Government that had done so much, which had governed Australia during s...

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Will the real Malcolm Turnbull please stand up?

When Malcolm Turnbull first entered parliament he cut an impressive figure.  Good looking, personable, articulate, experienced, knowledgeable, well informed, and credible.  His utterances exuded common sense.  He said what he thought, and it sounded convincing.  He came with a ...

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The hardest job in politics

How many times have we heard that ‘being Opposition Leader is the hardest job in politics’?  Almost since the day Brendan Nelson was elected we have heard this mantra from Coalition members, increasingly in recent months as Nelson’s performance failed to improve.  There...

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Peter Costello’s painful parting

What happened?  Why?  What’s next? are questions we all ask.  Peter Costello has given us his answers to the first in The Costello Memoirs.  But not why, and what’s next? Why did he never challenge for the leadership?  Why didn’t he accept it after the...

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