• A home amongst the gumtrees
    A local real estate agent rings me every couple of months asking if I am
    willing to sell my house. So far he's tried the 'look how much you could
    get' strategy, 'the market is moving, you don’t want to miss out’ strategy
    and telling me he could help me buy another house if I did sell; to which my
    response was something like 'and you get two commissions - how does that help me’.
  • Now is not the right time . . .
    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was buried last week with all
    the pomp and ceremony the occasion deserved. Regardless
    of your views on the monarchy, for a person to perform the one
    role for 70 years without a break is an awe-inspiring effort.
  • Pick up the phone
    The Conversation, a news website operated and funded by a number
    of universities, has published a significant number of articles on Prime
    Minister Albanese’s Jobs and Skills Summit. Most of them, as has most
    of the reporting of the ‘summiteers’ work, have been broadly positive.
  • Promises, promises
    The problem with the proposed tax cuts, the Jobs Summit, the emissions reduction
    target or any other policy that Prime Minister Albanese took to the election is
    that it was a promise that was made in the run up to the election. Certainly, the
    world has changed since 2019 and if really expensive tax cuts that benefit the better
    off were ever a good idea, there is even less evidence to suggest they are now.
  • The downside of lower unemployment
    In the middle of the ‘should Morrison go’ or should he stay
    brouhaha a couple of weeks ago, there was some interesting
    news to think about — Australia’s unemployment rate is likely
    to be under 5% for some years to come.
  • They seem to have a plan
    At the beginning of August, Prime Minister Albanese’s ‘preferred prime minister’
    measure according to Newspoll was 61%. While pretty well every new political
    leader enjoys some fair winds and sunshine at the beginning of their term of office,
    Albanese is doing better than most. He seems to be confounding the experts that
    suggested the ‘honeymoon’ with the Australian public was over a month earlier.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

How do you rate our TV and radio journalists?

What was intended to be a two part piece needs another – this is about TV and radio journalists. Some of these are the most acerbic and intimidating interrogators.  They look for and enjoy the gotcha moment, and because they are well known for this propensity, politicians are wary...

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How do you rate our political journalists?

The last piece How should we rate the quality of our political journalists? outlined the criteria that might apply when judging their quality.  This piece reflects on individual journalists.  Your views are invited. First let’s deal with editorials which are a particular prob...

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How should we rate the quality of our political journalists?

Bell-shaped (Gaussian) curves abound in nature and human endeavour, no less among political journalists.  They are scattered along a normal distribution curve in more ways than one.  Their political orientation varies from the extremes of conservatism on the one hand, to extremes of soci...

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The Coalition’s Budget Rap – deficit and debt, deficit and debt

Although it might be hard to conjure up an image of Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey and Helen Coonan doing the Coalition’s Budget Rap, it would not be difficult to imagine the words that would flow from their throats: Deficit and debt, Deficit and debt, Deficit and debt as far as you can see...

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Liberals and Power – The Road Ahead

This book, edited by Peter van Onselen, is a mixture of good articles and several of indifferent quality.  The introduction by the editor does not indicate how the authors were selected, nor whether those selected were given an open assignment to write what they pleased or whether t...

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The curious case of the man who forgot the GFC

He’s a Rhodes Scholar with a monumental brain.  Yet when Malcolm Turnbull rose to speak at the National Press Club this week he seemed to have a memory lapse – he forgot the GFC.  Read what he said and see if you can spot where he acknowledged it and the massive loss of reven...

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Is the GFC a manifestation of chaos?

This piece suggests that the evolution of the global financial crisis is an exemplar of chaos theory.  It begins with a brief outline of chaos theory, which is excerpted from Wikipedia‘s Chaos Theory. The discoverer of chaos was Henri Poincaré in 1890, but Edward Lorenz is ...

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The logic of Joe Hockey

When Kevin Rudd suggested recently that in order to fund increased pension payments and unemployment benefits in the upcoming budget, a contribution to that should be forthcoming from those who are closer to the upper income bracket, Joe Hockey protested loudly that Rudd was playing ‘the pol...

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What has become of the Fitzgibbon affair?

Remember what a hub-hub there was over Joel Fitzgibbon.  First, without any help from Defence Department bureaucracy, he managed to foul up the Department’s pay system, targeting specifically SAS personnel on active duty, arranging for them to receive pay slips that indicated they were ...

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A hopeless Government? Ask the Opposition

Late last year I wrote a rather long piece The curse of adversarial politics which was an update of an article I wrote for Possum Box in July, at the beginning of my blogging efforts.  This morning, as I accessed the Liberal Party website to update a regular service on The Political Sword &nd...

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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.&...

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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...

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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...

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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 ...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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 ...

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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...

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