• Get out of the gutter
    You may not have heard of Mike Rinder. A Scientologist for most
    of his life, at the age of 52 he walked out, and as a result lost his
    family, friends, employment and pretty well everything else in his life.
    RInder has written a book on his time in Scientology, runs a
    website that questions Scientology beliefs and practices...
  • Was Amtrak Joe derailed?
    Prior to becoming President, Joe Biden was a US Senator for around
    36 years. He is known as Amtrak Joe as he routinely took the daily 90
    minute each way train trip (on the USA’s national passenger train network
    - Amtrak) from his home in Delaware to Washington DC to represent his state.
  • If employers can measure well-being...
    Last September, you might have seen Qantas CEO Alan Joyce
    received a pay increase of $278,000 per annum. It seems that Joyce
    has met or exceeded the performance goals set by his employers and
    contractually has earned the reward. It does, however, raise a larger question.
  • Coming back to haunt you
    In his recent Budget reply speech, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
    laboured (pun intended) on the increasingly difficult to achieve promise by
    Prime Minister Albanese that power bills will be $275 less in 2025. While the
    government is claiming the modelling done in 2021 supports the accuracy of
    the promise, 2021 modelling doesn’t account for changes in circumstances since then.
  • The good economic units
    Wellbeing and politics have collided in the past couple of weeks.
    Federal Treasurer Dr Jim Chalmers has started a conversation about
    measuring the ‘wellbeing’ of the nation as a result of the measures in the
    budget. The Opposition, as you would expect, has poured scorn on the idea.
  • Do you want to smile or frown
    Recently, in what could be described as an epic fail in recruiting
    practices, the Essendon Football Club hired and accepted the
    resignation of the same CEO within a day. The issue was that the
    CEO was also the Chairman of ‘City on the Hill’, a church that seems
    to promote some conservative views on the way people live their lives.

The Political Sword

Get the inside track on the media and government.

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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The great media awakening

Ever since he became Leader of the Opposition, the relationship between the media and Kevin Rudd has been patchy.  While he, with Joe Hockey, once enjoyed a convivial regular association with Channel Seven, a connection that still exists, and while his appearances on Channel Ten’s Rove ...

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The economy – who can we believe?

Nobody really knows how we got into the financial mess we’re in, or how to get out of it.  Nobody knows what the stock market will do this week, next week, next month.  No less a figure than Warren Buffett said in an Op Ed piece in the New York Times last week “I can&rsq...

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