The Art of the Australian Insult


The glue that binds the nation
February 16, 2009, 1:13 am
Filed under: State of the nation, The economy | Tags: ,

“It is infuriating that Big Kev can blow $42 billion on a relatively new problem while the intergenerational neglect of the first Australians festers beneath the facade of a fair go for all.

The staggering scale of this injustice is not an accident; it is proof that racism is the glue by which this nation is bound.”

Jonathan Hill Old Erowal Bay, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.



A “brazen act of economic criminality”
February 8, 2009, 6:59 am
Filed under: Politicians, State of the nation, The economy | Tags: , ,

“Those not in the right income range, the severely stressed middle class (and this is as much a white collar as blue collar recession-depression), watch in fury as others enjoy another windfall. Why, because the Prime Minister is eyeing Howard’s workers. Yet another obscenity in this brazen act of economic criminality.”

David Hirst criticises the $42 billion stimulus plan. He is not impressed with the Opposition either:

“But the handouts have nothing to do with economics. Turnbull, while decrying Labor’s giveaway, is happy to see more money doled out in the way of tax cuts — as is the Government. This is akin to applying leeches to bleed a patient already weakened.

The nation is going to pot.”



We’re moving in, mate
February 4, 2009, 1:44 am
Filed under: State of the nation | Tags:

After this letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, one reader responded with the following analogy:

Robert Curtis – look, mate, I hope you don’t mind if a bunch of us turns up at your place, parks the Rolls-Royce on the front lawn, kicks your door in and decides to live in your house.

We’ll endeavour to demonstrate a conciliatory nature, as we squeeze onto your sofa and take over the remote. Not many in your family will be degraded, or injured, or killed, just so long as you don’t get in our way.

There’s a lot of us, though, so there might be a few inconveniences. You’ll probably have to shift out to the laundry. Matter of fact, it might be better if we just set up a tent in the backyard and make you live out there.

The neighbours might reckon what we’re doing is a grave crime, or even unjust. But the alternative would be to construct a time capsule and cocoon you, so you and your family remained a bunch of bogans, with a short life expectancy from puffing on Winfield Blues, bad taste in clothes (flannelette has never been cool), and a future limited by Harvey Norman furniture, Holden Commodores and watching reruns of M*A*S*H.

But it could be worse. If my nephew gets the jump on us and takes over your house, well, let’s just say you’ll be thankful for the tent in the yard.

The date we arrive – we’re thinking of celebrating it with a little barbecue. You might whinge that we’re being insensitive to hold a celebration on the same date as we raided your home, but that’s just you, with the old chip on your shoulder again.

You’re just lucky we acknowledge you at all, Mr Curtis. For years we’ve been spreading the story that your house is empty.

Stephen Lacey Pearl Beach



An un-Australian use of the flag
February 2, 2009, 4:08 am
Filed under: Aussie Aussie Aussie, State of the nation | Tags: , ,

“I AGREE there is something un-Australian about driving around with an Australian flag flying from a ute or four-wheel drive (First Byte, Letters, 26/1). I suspect it is an expression of red-necked in-your-face aggression rather than pride in being an Australian. This idea seems to have come into vogue about the time of the Cronulla riots.”

Michael Stanbridge , Bonnet Bay, NSW, letter to The Australian, in response to this earlier letter:

“There is something very un-Australian about vehicles, mainly utes and four-wheel-drives, being driven around with flags attached. Australian culture is fast being diluted by imitators of anything American. What’s next, gun racks?”
R. Elphinstone, Ormiston, Qld.



Clever country?
November 20, 2008, 12:35 am
Filed under: State of the nation

“We used to have a space industry. We were one of the first countries to produce a transistor. Now we sell dirt and buy Toyotas. Anything else goes offshore. Clever country? I think not.”

Craig Roberts Pagewood, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald.



A dog of a message.
November 4, 2008, 5:45 am
Filed under: Business, State of the nation | Tags:

“MURDOCH’s attack on welfare support for bludgers is a call for a leaner and meaner society in the service of cats that keep getting fatter and fatter. It’s a dog of a message.”

Jane Edwards, Semaphore, SA, letter to The Australian. Most responses to Murdoch’s Boyer lecture were considerably more positive; this one from an SMH reader was not:

“It is bizarre that Rupert Murdoch was chosen to present the Boyer lectures (“On bludging, a republic and the public education scandal”, November 3). Here is a man whose claims to fame are that he owns the most biased and bullying TV talk shows in the US and some of the sleaziest newspapers in the world, that he chose his business interests over human rights in China, that he chose not to pay tax in the Australia he says he loves, that he was a climate change sceptic until yesterday and that he used his power to promote the tragic adventure in Iraq.

Surely Australia must have thousands of intelligent, ethical achievers from whom a better choice could have been made.”

Ann Marshall, Holgate



Keating disses Gallipoli
October 31, 2008, 3:21 am
Filed under: Politicians, State of the nation | Tags: , ,

“The truth is that Gallipoli was shocking for us. Dragged into service by the imperial government in an ill-conceived and poorly executed campaign, we were cut to ribbons and dispatched — and none of it in the defence of Australia. Without seeking to simplify the then bonds of empire and the implicit sense of obligation, or to diminish the bravery of our own men, we still go on as though the nation was born again or even was redeemed there. (It is) an utter and complete nonsense. For these reasons, I have never been to Gallipoli and I never will.”

Paul Keating at the launch of a book on Menzies and Churchill. Kevin Rudd has subsequently disagreed, saying on radio today,  “I think Paul is completely wrong on that, completely and utterly, absolutely 100 per cent wrong.”