The Art of the Australian Insult


Julia Gillard faced with urinary dipsticks
November 14, 2008, 2:17 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: ,

“THERE really isn’t any doubt any more about whether the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has the killer instinct.

The problem tends more to be how to drag her off the victim’s body.”

Annabel Crabb, who also observed:

“Later she unblinkingly answered a question from Warren Truss concerning urinary dipsticks.

One suspects that Ms Gillard has seen rather a lot during her time in politics, including the odd urinary dipstick.

Hence her composure.”

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The verbal skills of your average pub galah
October 20, 2008, 11:32 pm
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: ,

“Mr Tuckey then mused for a bit on his own education, a golden period somewhere towards the end of the Mesozoic era during which he was taken in hand by a special English teacher at Perth Modern School. Mr Tuckey has the verbal skills of your average pub galah.”

Annabel Crabb on the member for O’Connor, Wilson Tuckey.  She did note that the standard of English – notably from Kevin “Ahead of the curve” Rudd – in Parliament generally is cause for concern:

“That said, even the best and brightest at Perth Modern might wilt during question time these days, to hear senior Government ministers bulldozing the English language flat in preparation for their nation-building activities.”



A yen for floating the yuan
October 17, 2008, 12:10 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: ,

Bowen shows a precocious degree of assurance at the dispatch box. He has a confident, rat-a-tat delivery that is perfectly effective, apart from his slight tendency to place the same emphasis on every word, including the word “a”, which he invariably pronounces to rhyme with “hay”.

The resultant, slightly disjointed effect is reminiscent of those automated robo-operators you get when trying to pay bills over the phone.

You know, the ones that say: “Your! Payment! Of! Forty! Eight! Dollars! And! Sixty! Five! Cents! Has! Been! Accepted!”

Annabel Crabb on Assistant Treasurer Chris Bowen, who was all ready to score a major victory over the opposition when he stuffed it up:

Bowen on advantage, you’d have to say; the Assistant Treasurer was practically airborne, about to smash one over the net and secure a crushing victory.

But all of a sudden something terrible happened.

“With the greatest of respect, can I send a memo to the Opposition: China! Has! Not! Floated! The! Yen!” Bowen concluded, in a voice dripping with maximum scorn.

Uh-oh. A pulse of time hatched and grew larger as the Assistant Treasurer’s ball thunked harmlessly into the net and dribbled away to the ballboys.

Gallingly, the first cackle of laughter came from Wilson Tuckey, who for all his many unorthodoxies at least knows that the national currency of China is the yuan, while the yen belongs to Japan.



Death by waffle
September 29, 2008, 12:23 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , ,

“To observe a Brendan Nelson interview was always to be prey to a cocktail of warring emotions; the protective sense of anguish, the dread certainty that a clanger was approaching, and then the mortification of the clanger itself.”

Annabel Crabb reflects on the difference in style between Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. In her view, the latter could quite easily have been a Labor leader, just as Kevin Rudd could quite easily have been a Liberal leader. As for poor Brendan Nelson, the man was just hopeless:

“Dr Nelson is a very nice bloke, and genuinely liked by many journalists and colleagues; he has far fewer enemies than Malcolm Turnbull. But after a full-length press conference you’d often feel traumatised and emotionally exhausted, like a kid who’s just watched their dad butcher Bohemian Rhapsody for eight minutes at school assembly.”

In contrast, “Turnbull will give his part plenty of heart attacks, in all likelihood, but he will never subject them to death by waffle.”



A small but malevolent armchair
September 22, 2008, 11:51 pm
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: ,

“Dressed in a jacket with a jungly teal and brown design, she looked like a small but malevolent armchair.”

Annabel Crabb on Bronwyn Bishop, former member of the Liberal shadow cabinet and newly relegated to the back bench.