The Art of the Australian Insult

Racist and backwards
May 26, 2009, 3:45 pm
Filed under: Business, National insults | Tags: , ,

“I would say that Australia definitely is different [from] the US. In many ways it was like stepping back in time.”

Former Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo’s parting shot to the country that never liked him, in an interview with the BBC. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s response to Trujillo’s departure was one word: “Adios”. Rudd has now been accused of being racist in referring mockingly to Trujillo’s Mexican ancestry.

The cardboard king
April 30, 2009, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Business | Tags: ,

The death of Australia’s so-called “Cardboard king”, Richard Pratt, has led to a variety of responses, both from commentators and members of the public. Opinion seems to be divided into two camps, those who think Pratt was an out-and-out thief, and those who feel that criticism directed at him is emblematic of Australia’s tall poppy syndrome in action.

“As Australians we know it is not appropriate to be upset by white-collar crime. It is simply the mark of a keen entrepreneurial mind, a little over-eager in the pursuit, by any means, of the wealth that is the sacred right of any true-blue Aussie,” snorts Moya Connors of Valla Beach.

Elizabeth Goodsall of Wahroonga argues:

“Can the rags of Richard Pratt’s tax-deductible philanthropy really cover the nakedness of his dishonesty? A self-confessed thief, he greatly enriched himself by stealing from every person in Australia. His status as a Companion in the Order of Australia should never be restored.”

Peter Wertheim, on the other hand, defends Pratt, arguing, “What a miserable lot some Herald readers are (Letters, April 30). They excoriate the late Richard Pratt for “ripping off the public over an extended period” and liken him to “a common criminal who made money by snatching old ladies’ handbags”. This is the tall poppy syndrome at its most graceless.”

A boot up the ring-pull
April 2, 2009, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Business, Celebrities | Tags: ,

“It’s possible Kerry Armstrong’s CV won’t be highlighting her brief stint as a shill for Coca-Cola, now that the soft drink giant has been given a boot up the ring-pull for an ad featuring the actress.

With the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission grumpily ordering Coke to retract the ad, which had Armo (“as a mum”) explaining that Coke didn’t make you fat, rot your teeth or contain enough caffeine to make an elephant vibrate, Strewth hopes Kez is gently encouraged to apologise for the line: “My boys now call me Mum the myth-buster”, and for leaving the biggest question unaddressed: whether Coke is any good for cleaning the silverware.”

Strewth reflects on a disastrous campaign by Coca-Cola to persuade mothers that Coke really isn’t so bad for you.

The tomb of the unknown investor
April 2, 2009, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Business | Tags: ,

“Kevin Rudd laid a wreath at the memorial for the unknown victim, and we have had memorials to unknown soldiers for some time.

Is it time we created a memorial to the unknown investor while we can still afford it?”

Bob Liddelow of Avalon, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Don’t call me darl
March 31, 2009, 10:52 pm
Filed under: Business, Everyday Insults

Sydney Morning Herald reader Robyn Curtin is sick and tired of shop assistants and cashiers calling her “darl”:

While it is conceivable there is a substitute for darl, it is inconceivable that a majority of women regard such terms of endearment, particularly to customers, as a standard requirement. There may be many customers who find darl affable, while others find it condescending. For me it has a grating ring to it – call it tacky, whatever. The true meaning of darling, from which darl has hatched, is an affectionate form of address to a loved one. These people don’t love me; they just want my business.”

Knickers in a knot over China
March 27, 2009, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Business, International relations, Politicians

“If the Government decides to issue Bonds, will they be made in China?”

Regular wit Michael Stanbridge, Bonnet Bay, NSW,, writes to The Australian in the midst of consternation after Kevin Rudd’s unpublicised meeting with China’s propaganda minister.

March 26, 2009, 12:46 am
Filed under: Business

“Everyday I scan the paper looking for Sue Morphet’s announcement that she is going to outsource her job to China and save Pacific Brands a fortune.”

Michael Stanbridge, Bonnet Bay, NSW, letter to The Australian.