The Art of the Australian Insult

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.”

Howard’s end
November 19, 2008, 1:54 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , ,

“One word to describe John Howard? History.”

Sean Woodland Huskisson, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald in response to an article by Gerard Henderson in response to the ABC series The Howard Years. In contrast, George Fishman of Vaucluse is clearly a Howard fan:

“Oh good. The Howard haters are back. Their empty lives have meaning and purpose once more.”

Vote for me! Vote for me!
September 22, 2008, 1:18 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags:

“Vote for john Howard! Vote for john Howard!”

The former pm himself walking past voters at a polling station at marsfield, as overheard by an SMH Metro reader.

Fashion police pan Aussie Olympic uniform
August 11, 2008, 2:52 am
Filed under: Sport | Tags: , ,

“Every other country looks like professional athletes, like winners. The Australians look like they’ve just come from the pool and someone has said ‘Quick, you’ve got to be at the stadium’. Isn’t this the most embarrassing thing? It’s so disappointing – yet again.”

Australian fashion designer Peter Morrisey is not impressed with the uniform worn by the Australian team at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games. Australian Olympic Committee spokesman Mike Tancred was defiant:

“The opening ceremony is not going to be for old fogeys and fat officials, it [the uniform] is designed so young athletes feel comfortable about wearing it.”

Writers to the Daily Telegraph disagreed on whether or not they liked the uniform:

“It’s 24 hours later and my friends and I are still discussing how hideous the Aussie uniforms looked. A 1970s roller disco cap, a John Howard tracksuit and 80’s bluelight disco silver shoes. Come on, who are you kidding Sportscraft?…AOC, sack your stylist.” Shelby Chatter.

“Oh that uniform…Pity about the Aussies in their wish-wash blue “boiler suits”.” Trish Honeyfield.

“On our athletes marching in Beijing, my first thought was they were “rappers’ of the music kind, and then “wrappers”…the merging blue and white colouring of the trackies was bright and fresh, and I immediately thought of menthol lolly wrappers.” Tom Daly.

Not everyone thought the uniforms were hideous:

“As far as I am concerned, Australia would have taken a gold medal and the fashion stakes.” Tatiane Labarthe.

“Get a life, people, insread of whingeing about things. And put your energy into something else – something far more important. Like cheering on the Aussies at the Olympics!” Kylie Hutchings.

“Rudd’s just done a lot wrong”
July 10, 2008, 2:39 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: ,

“The problem is that Kevin Rudd has managed to screw things up as much in seven months as Howard did in 12 years. Howard did a lot wrong, but he also did a lot right. Rudd’s just done a lot wrong.”

So writes Steve Smith to today’s Daily Telegraph. In a similar vein, Tom Wilcox thinks Kevin is a bit of an embarrassment:

“Most now say that Kevin Rudd is suffering from verbal diarrhoea, not laughing any more, and no action forthcoming, I wonder how the G8 leaders take to him. Not a good image for Australia.”

“Kevin Rudd has no shame” is Howard’s theme
July 9, 2008, 4:22 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , , ,

“I think that two things have begun to implant themselves in the minds of the Australian people. The first is the absolutely dishonest and pathetic attempt by (Labor) that somehow they (inherited) an economic mess. They have no shame.”

John Howard criticises the Rudd government during a rare public speech. He continues:

“How members of a political party that left us with the enormous problems we inherited should dare to do that …(The second is) the new Prime Minister doesn’t seem to have a theme. Politics is about conviction. Politics is not just about the joy of being in government. But you seem to get the impression that my successor is more interested in the process of government than the opportunity of leadership that government provides.”

Make Belinda minister of child nudity

Today’s Daily Telegraph brings with it several letters in response to the nude picture of six year old Olympia Nelson on the cover of Art Australia Monthly. Interestingly enough, given the decidedly hostile tone of the newspaper’s own coverage of the issue, most of the letter writers thought it was all a bit ridiculous:

“I am still struggloing with the fact that a picture of the child could conjure up images of pronogrpahy, depravity, sex or obscenity in any reasonable person’s mind.”

writes grandfather of five Saul Moss, who adds that it’s “a storm in a teacup”. G. Bears wonders about people who see anything sexual in a six year old:

“Hey, Mr Rudd, it’s a six-year-old child. OK, she’s got no clothes on, but if you think it’s “disgusting”, you’re as sick as the old pervs who think it’s sexy.”

Neville Ridge is also annoyed by Kevin Rudd:

“I thought priggery had gone about as far as it could go under John Howard and some of his ministers but they were nothing when compared to the religious prudery we are now being subjected to by Kevin Rudd. Lighten up Kevin. what will you complain about next – nude pictures of babies?”

Perhaps the best summary of the involvement of politicians in matters of moral urgency is provided by Con Hallias, who writes:

“I totally agree with our political leaders. We should ban all nude child photos. I am sick and tired of my mother marching out the old photographs of me on a rug, having a bath, running through the sprinklers. Give it up, Mum – everyone knows I was a cute baby.

I think we should allow our politicians to run every aspect of our lives. After all, they are our moral superiors, aren’t they?  I nominate Belinda Neal for minister of child nudity.”

The departure of Alexander is a downer. Or is it?

“Just tell him to fuck off. Can’t you see I’m very busy?”


Alexander Downer, former foreign minister, to new staffers when an important dignitary was waiting to see him. Downer would wait for an uncomfortably long time before bursting into laughter. Paul Daley explains,

“It was at once Downer’s idea of a personality test and a joke. Puerile? Yes. Funny? Undeniably, for those who witnessed it.”

Daley has mixed feelings about Downer’s departure; the man was at least a colourful character:

“Downer could present one minute as the archetypal Tory boofhead and the next as John Howard’s battering ram, yelling down his enemies in Parliament, arguing black is white and taking no prisoners along the way.

His stint as Liberal leader – during which he was utterly humiliated by his own party, by Paul Keating, but mostly by himself – would have killed others.”

As he quotes a senior minister:

“Mate, we are the most effing boring government since federation…and that’s just the way Kev wants it.”

“Welcome to the New Calvinism,” reflects Daley. “Or should that be the New Kevin-ism?”


Mike Carlton in the Sydney Morning Herald is less ambivalent. taking issue with Janet Albrechtsen who wrote in The Australian, “Like him or loathe him, Downer’s record as foreign minister is imposing.”

“No, it’s not. It’s dreadful. He was the worst since poor, bewildered Billy McMahon, who once did a television interview with me in Saingapore convinced, against all the evidenc,e that he was actually in Saigon. Downer was barely a notch up form that.

With John Howard egging him on, his instinctive groveling to the Bush Administration dragged us into the disaster of Iraq. Evidently incapable of original thought, he saw the world through the prism of the neoconservatives of Washington, parroting their slogans with the blustering self-assurance of a truly third-rate mind. In Asia, especially Indonesia, they treated him as Little Sir Echo. To the newly independent Government of East Timor he was a swaggering bully. ”