Saturday, December 21, 2013


I really shouldn't mention the polls . . . it's far too early in the electoral cycle for them to matter.

But it's quite unprecedented for a government's numbers to collapse the way this one's have. As usual, the problem is a combination of the economic and political.

The budget's Joe's problem now.

The real issue is that the Treasurer doesn't have his message down pat.

On one hand restraint; on the other, spending. It doesn't make sense, as this column in the Canberra Times points out . . .

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


It was, I'm afraid, the answer to my question asking if the ABC covers Asia enough that finally got me hot under the collar.

The Chair said, effectively, "we've got it about right".

 - picture from the Daily Telly

Although I've just begun using Pages (Apple's word processing system) and the word counter didn't work and I had to loose the last 200 words of the article which really got stuck into the lack of coverage of Asia stuff. Frustrating! But back to the ABC.

Complacency, personified, as this column for the Canberra Times suggests . . .

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Can't make a car . . .

Pretty hopeless, really, as this article for the Canberra Times suggests . . .

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


He's perhaps the one person in the current government who has the most ability to actually change people's lives.

The Minister for Disabilities, Mitch Fifield.

(Thanks to Pat Campbell for another brilliant image)

This profile is a simple attempt to sum-up a complex man.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


What's the aim of spying in the first place? What are you trying to achieve?

Engrossed by their own ability to gain information, it appears as if there's been the occasional slip-up in remembering why our spies are attempting to spy in the first place as this column in today's Canberra Times suggests . . .

Saturday, November 30, 2013


The majority of wars don't begin with careful planning and aforethought: we blunder into the killing in an unthinking way.

(Thanks to Airpower Australia for the image)

I don't think we should necessarily stop playing in the water.

But if we wish to do so we need to consider the full implications of doing so, as this column for the Canberra Times points out . . .

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


The one great myth is that money drives everything.

It's a myth - but it becomes true because we all believe it.

The key problem, of course, is working out who gets what and what is enough.

That's the issue this Canberra Times column addresses, spurred on by the 'revelations' about ABC salaries courtesy of News Limited . . .

Monday, November 25, 2013

TO SPY, OR NOT . . .

At one time the image of the spy was straightforward . . .

(Sigourney, not Mel)

Today we dismiss the deeper understanding that comes from human interaction. We think we can read peoples minds by listening in to their phone conversations.

This column for the Canberra Times stands back and asks what it is all that spying is actually attempting to achieve . . .

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I thought everyone liked her.

What's surprised me, since this profile of Tanya Plibersek's been published, from the comments it's attracted it seems this is not necessarily the case.

As Peter Dutton might say, "Good Tanya".

As Peter Dutton might say, "Bad Tanya".

This was a profile that appeared in the Canberra Times . . .

Saturday, November 16, 2013


And this was the end of Kevin Rudd. 

Not with a bang but a whimper. 

It's the end, Labor will desperately hope, of the infighting that's marked the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd period. 

And the time since Hawke was toppled by Keating who handed over to Beazley who was followed by Crean; Latham; Beazley; Rudd; Gillard; Rudd. 

Personal ambitions above all, as I wrote in the Canberra Times today . . . 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


The new coalition team's already had a couple of difficulties implementing its program. 

Responsibility for these remains with individuals. 

This is a simple portrait of one of the new government's more complex people, Brett Mason. 

It also appears in the Canberra Times . . . 

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Not so long ago soldiers lined up in a mass and blasted away at one another until one line finally broke.

Today any soldier who exposes himself on a battle-field risks getting shot.

This is one of the revolutions in warfare that will make the next war, again, so different from the last.

I put some thoughts together on this concept for the Canberra Times . . .

Friday, November 8, 2013


I was asked by the Canberra Times to do a Book Review of David Kilcullen's recent, comprehensive work - Out of the Mountains.

David Kilcullen chief counter-terrorism strategist for the US State Department writer of The Accidental Guerilla fighting small wars in the midst of a big one.

This is it.

As you can read, I'm very positive . . .

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


As you're aware, I've had a head injury (or, as it now appears to be described - somewhat more accurately - a brain injury). 

One of the reasons these updates have been so chaotic lately is that I've been spending so much time on the National Brain Injury Foundation. 

This column is one, very simplified attempt to explain why the NBIF is closing its shingle. It will reopen as a part of Hartley LifeCare. 

Saturday, November 2, 2013


To spy or not to spy?

I guess it really depends on whether you can get away with it or not.

At one time the West had the edge in technical spying; monitoring the communications of others. Now I don't believe we do.

Perhaps the moral is to be more transparent about what's going on, as this column in today's Canberra Times suggests . . .

Monday, October 28, 2013


The trip to the US opened my eyes.

Warfare is undergoing another period of dramatic technical change.

This is nowhere more evident than in space.

Once again, the war of the future won't be like the war of the past, as this article in today's Canberra Times suggests . . .

Saturday, October 19, 2013


The original's always the best .

But personally, I like Frankie Goes to Hollywood's version of the song .

Take your pick.

The problem is, once the next war starts, there's no obvious way back.

It's something the drafters of our new Defence White Paper might like to consider, as this article in today's Canberra Times points out . . .

Friday, October 4, 2013


Lockheed Martin took us to Owego, which is in Upper New York state near the Canadian border (absolutely beautiful) to see the Romeo production line.

(I'm the one on the left!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


No quibbles about the technology.

A trip to the US has left me convinced the JSF really does offer an advance on alternative fighter aircraft options for the RAAF.

The issue is to balance the cost against the need.

But, as this column for the Canberra Times points out, the decision that will emerge from this process is far from certain . . .

Saturday, September 14, 2013


Separation of powers is a pretty important concept in a democracy: there's a reason for it.

Things must not only work appropriately, they must be seen to be 'clean'.

Image from Channel 9

Which lease to the question, what sort of relationship can the new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, have with the mother-in-law of his political opponent. Really.

Goodbye Quentin Bryce.

For the sake of the constitution, the country, your son in law, and the ALP.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I'm a bit slow.

This is the image the Canberra Times used to illustrate the story below that I titled, "Where now for the Left".

I didn't, at first, appreciate that they're fighting over a dung-heap.

How appropriate . . .


Government is largely about money. Dividing the spoils. Sharing out the bounty.

Which is fine when there's more coming in than you need.

Another great News Ltd Image

The problem faced by the new government, however, is rather the reverse.

Its success (or failure) is likely going to rest on its ability to keep different constituencies happy, as this article for the Canberra Times points out . . .

Monday, September 9, 2013


So, Labor's out.

Just part of the cycle? Or is this actually a significant moment?

How does the left rebuild? Can the 'Left' find enough common ground to rebuild?

Karl's analysis doesn't hold much sway today

In this bit of News Analysis for the Canberra Times I argue the problems besetting Labor are deeper than is immediately apparent . . .

Sunday, September 8, 2013


I'm posting this a day late, I'm afraid.

It appeared in the Canberra Times on the morning of the vote.

Photo from the Brisbane Times

Nothing more to be said, really.

This is the end . . .

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


There's no doubt in my mind when Rudd lost the campaign.

Labor was gone, we knew that. But then came what for me will be the defining image of this election battle - Kevin Rudd's brush with Barry O'Farrell. And when a NSW Premier wins a defence debate you know your re-election bid's in difficulty.

Andrew Meares captures the confrontation.

This piece, for the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's blog The Strategist considers the way Defence issues have been used for partisan political advantage during the campaign . . .


And so it draws to a close.

He's had a good time, as this photo by Andrew Meares shows.

This is todays column from the Canberra Times . . .

Friday, August 30, 2013


Enough I say . . . Enough!

Four weeks of campaigning and still no one's dealt with the real issues that face Australia.

This was the way the ski-season looked at the opening (News Limited photo)

And why not?

"Too hard," perhaps? "Might cost us votes."

The real issues faced by the country aren't being addressed, as this column for the Canberra Times makes clear . . .

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


It's the way the parties run things - presidentially.

We seemingly no longer vote Labor or Liberal; your vote is only for 'Rudd' or 'Abbott'.

It's not, unfortunately, a policy choice. Everything emphasises the personality of the leaders.

This won't work particularly well for Labor, as this article in today's Canberra Times explains . . .

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Is the election result a foregone conclusion?

The only chance for Labor appears to be that a mass of voters will suddenly slap their heads while realising, "gosh, I was wrong all along", or that a host of people will suddenly appear to support the party.

Pigs might fly (thanks to News Limited for the image).

This column for the Canberra Times considers what is now perhaps Labor's only chance . . . appealing to those who normally vote informal.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The  brilliant and remarkable Peter Brent of Mumble is, quite rightly, scathing about  the concept of 'momentum'. Nevertheless, he's far too polite to rubbish me in print. 

And thats why I've taken advantage of his reticence to attempt to defend the indefensible - attempting to justify something that doesn't exist. 

Perhaps trusting in momentum is like believing in fairies - if you close your eyes and trust they're alive, they will come true after all. 

This piece appeared in the Canberra Times yesterday . . . 

Saturday, August 17, 2013


For campaigning politicians, getting the economic 'story' right is vital.

You can see this by the way Tony Abbott's using the 'debt' word whenever he gets the chance.

Kevin Rudd's got an economic story too, but this week it began to look like a bit of a tall tale, as this article for the Canberra times suggests . . .

Monday, August 12, 2013


The first debate of the election campaign . . . hopefully the last.

I'm all in favour of genuine opportunities to hear and question the 'leaders', but this was ridiculous.

So who won?

There was really no doubt in my mind, as this article for Tuesday's Canberra Times makes clear . .  .

Friday, August 9, 2013


One week into the election campaign and it still feels like a phoney war. 

Neither side has landed any punches, let alone a knock-out one. The focus has been on photo-opportunities and photo-bombing. 

But perhaps more importantly, no one's been outlining real plans for the future either, as this column in the Canberra Times points out . . . 

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Campaign Begins . . . Who's Winning?

After three years, the Phoney War is finally over.

So who will win the battle?

This piece for the Canberra Times outlines my thinking as the starter's gun explodes . . .

I'm Baaack . . .

Every now and then you need a change.

As some people are aware, I migrated to Wordpress some time ago. This is the link:

Nic Stuart c 2011
(now without the beard)

I liked the cleaner lines of that blog.

Regrettably, it hasn't been easy for readers to find.  That's why I'm now moving back to blogger.

So welcome. Again . . .