Time to say goodbye

To me, Ad Astra, “Time to say goodbye” are among the saddest words in our language. Yet say them now we must.

I chose Ad Astra as my moniker because my secondary school’s motto is ‘sic itur ad astra’, which can be liberally interpreted as: “Here is the way to the stars”. How inspiring these words have always been to me.

As another year draws to a close, the future of The Political Sword has emerged once more. As a glance at the archive reveals, it began on 13 September 2008, 14 years ago. Maintaining it for another year would be a formidable task; now is the time to wind it up.

All of us associated with TPS are deeply grateful for all the time and effort that our authors have contributed over the years, contributions that now exceed over a thousand. They have consistently drawn attention from a host of viewers, who have loyally left their mark of approval.

2353 and Rob (Bacchus), you have been outstanding contributors to the blogsite for countless years. We are so grateful to you.

There have been many others too whose comments enriched the dialogue. We shall always remember ‘lynlinking’ with her engaging avatar who provided us with thousands of links to the contemporary press day after day, a feature that made TPS a ‘must visit’ site. Then there was Patriciawa, Bushfire Bill, Janice, Gravel, Talk Turkey (Bruce Bilney), Ken, Acerbic Conehead, Maureen Grundy, Jan Mahyuddin, Grog, Phil Pryor, Hillbilly Skeleton, Nasking, Pappinburra Fox, Casablanca, Miglo, KHTAGH, Jason, Lady in Red, Catching Up, Norman K, Wan, and many, many others who enhanced the dynamics of the site.

Alex, fondly known to us all as TPS Monkey, you have serviced TPS diligently throughout its long life. You have earned our eternal gratitude for all you have done to support it. Thank you! Thank you!

Politics, while interesting, is consistently predictable. We see the political players go though the same motions, over and again, always focussed heavily on their wants and needs.

So is it worth continuing the effort we expend composing comments about what our politicians think, feel, and say? No!

We have a federal Labor government, and now an Andrews’ Labor government convincingly re-elected in Victoria. We can have faith that they will govern equitably, free of the biases that we have experienced with Coalition governments.

Marian and I feel TPS has done its job diligently over the years and needs to do so no longer. We bid all of you who have for so long loyally followed TPS a fondest farewell.

As we wind up TPS permanently. Michael Taylor has indicated that he is happy to accomodate writings any of you wish to contribute. He has been a consistently loyal colleague and friend over many years.

Over to you, Michael.

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Web Monkey


Thank you for your kind words AA. It has been a great pleasure to be part of TPS and working with you for all these years. 20 years ago, we joined forces in a different project, and we have been great mates ever since. I was a little sad when you eventually retired, but thankfully ‘AA’ had other plans, and we quickly developed a platform for you to continue to do something you loved long into your retirement. I always marvelled at your unbridled enthusiasm for expanding horizons and how you (like me), loved and embraced new technological changes and cool gizmos with equal abandon. I’m grateful to have partnered with you for your last two projects - we made a great team!

All the amazing pieces I've read on TPS from the cast of great authors has endlessly stirred my soul and added insight to the murkiness the mainstream media often sow as 'news'. I’d like to wish everyone who has visited and worked on TPS over the years a very Merry Christmas and prosperous new year in 2023.

bruce bilney


Dear TPS Comrades All,

My heart is full as I contemplate what I believe is likely to be the last issue of this amazing website that I have come to love over the last twelve years. I cannot possibly put into words what TPS has meant to me, from the Links of our amazing Tweetie Bird Lynnie who in the early years taught so many of us to access other sites, through the myriad contributors of every opinion, (though mostly Leftish, for good reason), to the ubiquitous presence of our benign, wise and prolific Webmaster, Ad astra.

Ad is my Sage. I am in awe of the depth and width of his reading, and his lead articles virtually every week have stimulated comments from those many who have found companionship of the mind here. Over years, with Ad astra our Pole Star to guide us, we became a pretty savvy stratum of political observers. Shrewd, sceptical and well-informed. Always way ahead of the envious, malicious RW Fourth Estate. We still are, and we never won’t be.

There were a few horrible people too; but note, TPS would have been less without the latter, they toughened us up and served to unite us. They showed us the face of the Beast, Murdochracy, so we were somewhat prepared for its ultimate political expression, Trumpism, though I think that nothing could have prepared us for the outright insanity of Morrison. Insanity, and that includes all forms of religion, being utterly irrational, is the most fearsome of foes because not subject to reason. (I think that’s a tautology, never mind.) Anyway Dog be praised that we are rid of Scummo forever.

For the first three years, starting with the 2010 election, I found it so easy writing here. Labor was in power but by the thinnest possible margin, and the horribleness of Abbott and his gang of thugs and sycophants, plus the slavering mainstream media, meant that we were constantly being kept in a state of anxiety. Stimulating if infuriating.

But after 2013 there followed nine years of political doldrums. During that time TPS kept going but with waning enthusiasm because first Abbott, then Turnbull (remember him and all his reforms? Haha), and then the final insult, Morrison, drained of hope for all that time. Australia went nowhere, but TPS kept going, largely due to the tireless efforts of someone I only know as NM2353 who faithfully wrote articles nearly every week. And of course Alex, Ad’s webmonkey. Thank you Comrades.

TPS has always been basically a Labor-dominated site, not that anyone deliberately excluded anyone of any opinion, but as a rational haven from all the Murdoch-infected media, it naturally has that flavour. Except for the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era, during which we were all anxious, it was always sad, angry and indignant at the degradation to which our beloved homeland and its less-well-off were being subjected, while rorts and ripoffs multiplied like maggots. Such is life under LNP Governments.

But staunch Labor-Lefties never give up, and over the 9 years of stagnation, other sites burgeoned. Online today are many fine investigative journalists, creatures almost non-existent in the putrid mainstream media, who have responded with malice, denigrating and belittling the Fifth Estate, yet always to their eventual shaming as time after time they were beaten to the important stories.

And in the end we won. A win like no other really, because this time, by virtue of the Internet, we are irreversibly shrewder and more powerful than ever before. We don’t need everybody aboard, there’ll be ‘cookers’ until Kingdom Come, but we can keep 51% forever now and that’s all we need. The youth of this nation is already showing in their voting patterns their impatience with the LNP, who have hitherto been able to rely on Murdoch-fomented ignorance to get elected time after time.

There is this to be salvaged from the appalling behaviour and performances of the last LNP Federal Governments and some State Governments too: they were *so* appalling that the scales have fallen from a majority of people’s eyes and that will influence the future for many elections to come. In WA, just two Liberals survived, and in SA we had one Liberal Government so pathetic that they survived just one term, we had a massive win and forevermore you will hear us say, “Look, we had one term of Liberals, look at what happened, NEVER AGAIN!” And with every bit of the rotten Media calling for Dan Andrews’ blood, he smashed the Liberals even further and they are confounded. And we are holding Queensland anyway. Apart from Tassie which just will have to join the political 21st Century, only NSW remains, and it seems we are looking good there too. And what an Australia that could be, with all States and Territories singing in harmony the way we always should have!

Well, the Albanese Government today looks to be more firmly in the saddle than any Federal Labor Government at least since Menzies, and is already baring its teeth to the abuses promoted by the LNP: a few days ago our Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, took the splendid action of dismissing the entire corrupt Administrative Affairs Tribunal which has been gobsmackingly stacked by the Liberals all these years. Bravo Labor, please never again treat defeated Liberals as Rudd did, giving them plum postings, apparently with the fond idea that his goodwill would be reciprocated. These people are malevolent vipers, they must never again be put into positions where they can exploit power in their own interests and to the detriment of ordinary working people. Fie on them I say.

Or as my brother Gordon used to say: In defeat, malice: In victory, REVENGE!

Well some of that, yes, but mainly, just let us never let their type hold sway again. We have prevailed at last. And that is why we may with heads held high close the final chapter of The Political Sword, and consign the Archives to their rightful place in History: for History they certainly are, and unique too. For all those years, a running commentary from so many points of view! Nothing like it. I understand that the Archives will remain available, because they are so special. Though always recognising that ongoing vigilance and courage are going to be necessary to ensure that we never slip back, it’s a wonderful feeling to realize that, essentially, our job is done. Sing Hey!

I’m sorry, Comrades, that this post is so scrambled, so longwinded and yet so incomplete, but I can never put into words all that I feel for this site. Thank You Ad astra, and all who contributed. It’s been a wonderful ride, very special to me. Damn I don’t know how to finish.

Bruce Bilney, aka TalkTurkey.

PS I'm intending to post a couple more items in verse which I wrote for the Sword over a decade ago. 

bruce bilney


I wrote this many years ago, but Lyn’s influence has remained with me and many others ever since. Thanks from all of us Tweetie! Sorry about the formatting, it's just the way it works. 

A Twibute To Tweetie

Lyn’s-Links are never links alone

They are links in magic chains

Embracing every place on Earth

Worth more than ever Gold is worth -

Lyn’s-Links link Brains with Brains!

They link the present sideways,

They link with links gone by;

They will link into the Future In the twinkling of an eye!

They link the mighty and the meek

The lowest to the high

And may they link me to the world

Until the day I die!

I have visualized an image

Like a doyley, so crocheted,

So super-complex-without-limit

That each knot ties all others in it -

Most wondrous ever made!

Folks, if you too imagine that, Do you know what you will find?

You will see, the way that Lyn’s-Link link

Is much the way our neurons think -

A model of our Mind!

And what makes Lyn’s-Links so special

Is that in the blogosphere

No-one else provides such links

With welcomings and nods and winks –

Gee I like the way she thinks!

So -Thank You, Tweetie Dear!

And every morning when I wake

Your Links are the very first stop I make:

I know I’ve told you this before

Well may I tell you many times more!

You’re every blogger’s cyber-neighbour.

Staunch red-blooded friend to Labor

And though these words be small reward

You are a Heroine of The Sword!

Your links link the present sideways,

They link with links gone by:

They will link into the Future In the twinkling of an eye!

They link the mighty and the meek

The lowest to the high,

And may they link me to the world

Until the day I die!

"And though these words be small reward

You are a Heroine of The Sword!"

Norman K


Sad to see this last post. All the very best for the future.

Michael Taylor


Ad astra, as hard as it was for you to say goodbye, it was equally as hard for me to hear you say it. 

It is always a time of sadness to close a chapter in your life. This chapter - as a TPS follower and reader - is one such chapter. 

Ad astra, you have always been an inspiration to me. I hope I can attain your standards. 



Thank you for the opportunities that have been presented to me over the years, first as a commentator and then as an author As Astra (& Marian). For making my posts look good and read well, I'm also extremely grateful to Bacchus, Ken (RIP) and Web Monkey. It has been a wonderful experience writing for The Political Sword and a honour to present opinion pieces for others consideration that hopefully have made a difference since 2013.

While I could write more. . . all that is really left to be said is thank you for reading. Hopefully we will meet again.

Ad astra


Bruce, it has been contributions such as yours that have made TPS the magnet it has been all these years. We shall always cherish the memory of your words, the inspiration they evoked, the direction they heralded. Thank you dear Bruce. 

Like you, we cherished the contributions of Lyn whose words delighted us all, day after day.

TPS has come to an end, but memories of it will live for ever. Fondest Farewell to you all.

Ad astra


NormanK, Michael Taylor, 2353NM - website friends all.  I thank you all for your generous words; words that caress my heart, and make departing less traumatic. I shall remember you always.

From a grateful Ad Astra.

bruce bilney


12/10/2010 I posted this on 12/10/2010 in the thread following the 10/10/2010 edition of TPS titled Grog Please Come back we need you. Unfortunately a change in the formatting of TPS has de-formatted my verse in the Archives, and since I was quite proud of it I have re-formatted it so it makes sense. Because it’s history.

It started here:

HiHo Swordsfolk, I been away in the Flinders, looking at my State Floral Emblems, the fantastickest flower of all, Sturt Desert Peas, BRILLIANT! No Optus Wireless of course, so I spent some time recording in feelgood verse the drama of the election.

The Lass At Yarralumla  

[A Parody on A.B. (Banjo) Paterson’s “The Man From Snowy River”]

There was panic in the parties as the poll results came down, For Left and Right dead-heated on that day;

The Government’s survival stood on very slippery ground And the hacks and experts all had heaps to say.

All the journalists and politicians came from near and far To add their sound and fury to the fight,

And all you heard on ABC was Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah While the Murdoch Press screamed Right is Right is Right!

There were Liberals like Joe Hockey, a fat and lazy blob, Who had fallen at the first jump when he’d tried,

Malcolm Turnbull, once-and-wanna-be, and poor old Andrew Robb While Phony Tony Abbott ran and lied.

There was an effete mincing poodle, known as Whining Chrissie Pyne, Creepy Kevin Andrews, washed-out Warren Entsch;

Token female Julie Bishop, who thinks plagiarism fine; That about exhausts the Liberals’ front bench.

They were confident of victory, and hubris they suffused, And they claimed that they’d won power by a nose;

They squealed that they weren’t guilty of what Treasury accused: Multi-Billion Dollar Holes, and things like those.

They claimed they had the better of the pan-Australian vote; They called themselves the Government-in-Waiting;

They said they’d stop invasion of Australia by boat, While the Media pitched in with Labor-baiting.

And on the Left was Kevin Rudd, who’d won the last time ’round, But fallen at a hurdle months before,

With Wayne Swan on Economy, a stayer well-renowned, And of Labor fancied runners, many more.

Stephen Smith, Nicola Roxon, Combet, Albanese, Crean, The list was long of talents deep and broad:

They were clever and committed, and experienced and keen: A well-matched team compared with Abbott’s horde.

And one was there, Our Ranga Lass, of feisty fighting breed, Like a Queen Boadicea modernised,

Flashing wit and Gaelic glamour, with Crow-Eater in her creed, And Makybe Diva fire in her eyes.

She had led the charge for Labor, but she’d very nearly failed, (Though equally, she’d very nearly won),

But Julia Gillard held her nerve while lesser beings quailed, And stayed the course while Abbott made his run.

There was one Sandgroper National, a new bloke, Tony Crook, And no-one really knew which way he’d vote,

But he seems so undetermined, even bookies won’t make book, Though he’s travelling in the Coalition’s float.

Andrew Wilkie, (Independent), and young Adam Bandt, (a Green) Pledged on certain terms to join with Gillard’s crew,

And not bring down the Government, for both of them were keen Not to support a Coalition coup.

And the way that Gillard wooed them was a credit to them both, From decent forthright dealings to a mutual binding oath;

So though Abbott now claimed 73, Gillard had 74 – But she really needed 76 – She had to score two more!

There were three more Independents, no-one knew how they might jump; Robert Oakeshott, Tony Windsor, and Bob Katter:

And the way the hurdles tumbled, all the Force was with that rump, And the Fourth Estate was full of Twitter twatter.

Those three were ex-Nat mavericks, from effin’ FNQ, Where brumbies weird as unicorns abound:

Would they jump together? - Left or Right? - Split 2-1? Or, 1-2? This whole race was on entirely unknown ground!

Then from the Murdoch stables all the hustlers made their run: They were breathing fire and brimstone every breath:

That Labor’s illegitimate, that Abbott’s mob had won, And that any tryst with Brown and Greens was Death.

Bloated with his self-importance was conniving Laurie Oakes, And Piers Ackermann, most bigoted of all,

And the first one to throw stones, that loathsome, hateful Alan Jones: They’re three key bricks in the Murdochratic Wall.

There was Andrew “Anal” Bolt, and that Glenn Milne, the drunken thug, Grabbing sleazily at any sleazy grab,

And that ABC lickspittle, Chris Uhlmann, smooth and smug, And Annabel, the slyly-sidling Crabb.

There was sour Red Kez O’Brien, seemingly forever trying To skewer Julia with some cunning stab;

And Tony “Look-Me” Jones, interrupting her in tones That show he thinks he holds sole Royal Right of Gab.

There was Fran "Ms Jelly” Kelly, Michelle Grattan lacking teeth, And Miss Trivia, Virginia Trioli,

And that smartarse Barrie Cassidy, with snide asides and acidy, In ABC alliances unholy.

So Our Ranga Lass was targeted by jibes and sexist jokes: Her Titian locks were tweaked, her finely-chiselled nose took pokes

From those of the moral wee-ness of a teensy flaccid penis – And unkindest cut of all came from a wimp-out by Megalogenis!

Thus was Julia besieged: just Laura Tingle stood her friend, And challenged Abbott on her comments page;

In chivalry and courage she was loyal to the end: The one fair Australian journo of The Age.

But still the Fascist minions, led by Phony Tony Abbott, Went a-raging and a-fulminating on:

How they’d really won the Government, and they were gonna grab it, Until many in the Left feared we were gone.

But while Abbott fumed and fretted, bumbling bully through and through, Trying bribery and histrionic threats,

In attempts to win the Indies (and he needed at least two), Julia Gillard was as subtle as it gets.

She was thoughtful, diplomatic, in conciliatory tone, And the Indies saw that what she says she means,

Until even weird Bob Katter, mad as Alice’s mad Hatter, Said he’d found some common values with the Greens!

So we waited, hopeful, fearful, as the weights were counted in: Were we losers, were we winners? Would we wince, or would we grin? 

We were hanging on the numbers, on the comments, on the hints – If not a gleeful grin, then an excruciating wince!

But throughout 16 long days, while all us Aussies held our breath, Our Ranga Lass ne’er wilted from the hate:

She fought to win the issue as if it were life or death: It was grand to see that Lass negotiate!

But still, no-one knew the outcome, until on Day Seventeen, When Bob Katter called a conference at one:

And when he did, he voted (as some said they had foreseen), With Abbott – Just one more seat, we’d be done!

For the parties now were neck-and-neck, three-score-and-14 all: The margin must be minimally thin;

If those last two Independents split, the Government must fall, For Labor needed both of them to win.

Now all the weight of government was held in two men’s hands, And never had the balance been so fine;

Would they take a national view, or yield to parish-pump demands? We held our breath, and waited for a sign.

And at last just two hours later, those two last men made their move: Our hearts in trepidation wildly throbbed:

One party would be jubilant, as winners they would prove, While the losers all would scream that they was robbed!

First to speak was Tony Windsor, and he gave his solemn word He’d faithfully support the Labor side;

Effectively he said that Tony Abbott was absurd – The Coalition cause was now denied!

But that still left Robert Oakeshott: if he went the other way, The parties would be deadlocked, which would mean

There would have to be a new election, and without delay, The likes of which this land had never seen.

So still we waited, heart in mouth, while Oakeshott took his time To explain in full his reasons for his vote;

Though the media was furious, as if it were a crime, They had to listen first before they wrote.

And seventeen minutes later, as the almanac will show He gave Julia the seat she sorely craved;

And after all the arguments, at long last now we know: - HOORAY! The Labor Government is SAVED!

Now up at Yarralumla, where the diplomats may raise Their glasses of Chateau Lafitte on high,

Where the chandeliers of crystal through the frosty evenings blaze, And the VIP jets streak the azure sky,

And where around the Parliament the votes of Aye or Nay Decide the laws by which we must abide,

The Lass At Yarralumla holds the Vandal hordes at bay, And we Lefties hail Our Ranga Lass with pride.



Late to the party as usual...

Thank you Ad and Alex for providing the opportunity to "work" with some truly amazing people over the last 9 years! It is always the people who make any endeavour worthwhile.

The previous "end of TPS" in 2013 didn't quite eventuate because some very smart people banded together to allow it to continue. I'm thinking here especially of Ad and Alex, but also Jan Mahyuddin and the late Ken Wolff. I've been enjoying reading through emails from that time and remembering the effort that went in. That also reminds me of the amazing job Ad and Alex did in the previous years to do everything that the TPS team took on in 2013!

From that time on, all the authors amazed me with your ability with words, especially 2353 who was (and is) still working full-time as well as writing for The Political Sword. The musings of all of the authors now stands as a legacy to one of the best political blog sites in Australia. There are favourites I still like to revisit from time to time.

It was also a pleasure to read to responses to our posts from regular readers, especially the really passionate, intelligent and erudite ones like Bruce (Talk Turkey) as demonstrated above. These also live on as a legacy.

Thank you Ad for giving me "something useful to do", after being made redundant from "real" work. Your friendship and mentoring (and that of Jan, Ken and 2353) have been valuable to me over the last 9 years.

Thank you, thank you!

Coralie Naumann


Thank you for all your political commentary, has been excellent. Very sad to see you go, wish you the best of times.



Thank you for your wonderful website. I came here every day (although never left a comment). I'm also sad to see you go.

Ad astra


Magnificent Bruce and Bacchus, Coralie and Sue, I thank you all for your generous comments, which make the sadness of winding up TPS less so. The warm memories of this site and its many visitors over countless years will linger for always. 

I have two politicians and add 17 clowns and 14 chimpanzees; how many clowns are there?