• A tale of two ideologies
    Once upon a time, the newly elected progressive Australian Government was told by
    their advisers that financial calamity was to sweep the world, bringing financial ruin,
    uncertainty and pestilence (the last one might just be made up) to humanity. The newly
    elected government, being of the mind that they employ specialists who have likely
    forgotten more about their subjects than the politicians had ever known, asked what to do.
  • 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.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

The curse of adversarial politics

On the final morning of Federal Parliament for 2008, Kevin Rudd thanked his party members, his staff, and Leader of Government business, Anthony Albanese (Albo), and said nice things about Malcolm Turnbull and Joe Hockey, Leader of Opposition business.  Malcolm Turnbull reciprocated with simi...

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Why does Malcolm Turnbull make so many mistakes?

A man with a background like Malcolm Turnbull shouldn’t make so many mistakes.  An ex-merchant banker, Goldman Sachs manager, businessman, barrister, politician and Opposition Leader should be more perspicacious.  He doesn’t seem to understand what he’s doing. Ear...

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Turnbull’s benchmarks for failure

Dennis Shanahan was the first to use the term ‘benchmark’ in his 27 November piece in The Australian Rudd sails on perilous waters to identify the criteria of success, or failure, of the Rudd Government’s budget strategy according to the economic oracle, Malcolm Turnbull. L...

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The genius in the Opposition

We’ve a pretty smart Government, but what would it be without the guidance of the genius that suffuses the Opposition benches? Ever since the top genius was elected to the position of Opposition Leader, there has been a flood of sage advice flowing from him to the Government on al...

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The ‘deficit’ wedge

In an earlier piece on The Political Sword The emerging Opposition strategy I wrote that one of Malcolm Turnbull’s strategies “...seems to be to try to anticipate Government moves and pre-empt them by stating what should be done, and occasionally what he would do.  The former...

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Rudd’s First Year – What the papers say

The weekend and today’s media have been full of assessments of Kevin Rudd’s and his Government’s first year. First the positive.  Paul Kelly writing in The Weekend Australian 22-23 November begins his piece First among equals with “Kevin Rudd never imagined a yea...

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Blog Watch

This new page points to material posted on political websites, initially in Australia.  It can be accessed by clicking the Blog Watch link in the upper right margin under 'site pages'.  It is provided as a service along the lines Crikey provides Richard Farmer's Breakfast Med...

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The gathering media assault on Rudd-speak

The call for Kevin Rudd to use his speechwriter seems to be gathering momentum.  There have been calls for this from Bob Hawke, Paul Keating’s speech-writer, Don Watson, Bob Ellis and sundry columnists, most recently Samantha Maiden, online political editor for The Australian in a piece...

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The Rudd Report Card one year in

Since the anniversary of the election of the Rudd Government is now upon us, a handful of commentators have already attempted an appraisal of Kevin Rudd’s first year.  Their focus has been more on Rudd than his Government.  The general tenor is that, almost grudgingly, they acknowl...

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Will world leaders do a climate change Nero?

Last week, two young women, concerned about the environment, made the telling comment on TV that those who will make decisions about climate change mitigation will be dead by the time their efforts at mitigation will be felt; they will not have to live with their decisions, good or bad. The ...

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The emerging Opposition strategy

Malcolm Turnbull believes the Coalition can win the next federal election.  To do so he has to reverse the stubbornly persistent opinion polls that show the Coalition is around ten points behind the Government on a two-party preferred basis, and he is now 40 points behind Kevin Rudd as prefer...

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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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