The Art of the Australian Insult

Is Malcolm Turnbull dead man walking?
June 28, 2009, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , ,

“By the time they had trawled through Turnbull’s past, the Opposition Leader was portrayed, under the privilege of Parliament, as a treacherous, bullying, smearing, opportunistic, justice-poisoning, forest-stripping, tax-avoiding, profiteering, cat-abusing loser.

I had thought all this was being warehoused for the next election. But no, they want him dead now.”

Paul Sheehan comments on the circling of the hyenas in Parliament, where Malcolm Turnbull looks distinctly like a dead man walking after Utegate. The illustration accompanying the article, in which Turnbull is rendered as a dying zebra being ripped to shreds, is especially entertaining:

My country for a hairdryer
May 8, 2009, 8:31 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , ,

“This particular allegation by Turnbull is absolutely ridiculous and absolutely false and designed.”

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd resents Malcolm Turnbull’s allegation that he had a frothy over the lack of a hairdryer while visiting troops in Afghanistan.

Having Turnbull on toast
April 6, 2009, 4:51 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: ,

“The PM’s claim that he is following a reduced-meat diet (“Pork chop carry-on over no meat: Nats”, April 4) seems to be inconsistent with the facts. According to recent polls, Mr Rudd seems to be having the Leader of the Opposition on toast on most days of the week, especially when Parliament is sitting.”

Leslie Sisley Bathurst

Better pay
March 21, 2009, 6:27 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags:

“Malcolm Turnbull should have stayed with merchant banking. The pay is so much better for failure.”

Bill Carpenter, Bowral, NSW, letter to The Australian.

March 13, 2009, 10:08 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , ,

“Costellonomy, like bird watching, is a discipline best suited to the very patient.”

Annabel Crabb reflects on the fascination of the media with Peter Costello. Labor politicians are fascinated by him too. “I’ve known him for a very long time – longer than you characters have known him. And I can’t work him out. Does he have a cunning plan?” Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner said to the Opposition.

“Every minute the cameras spend on Peter Costello doing nothing is a minute they don’t spend on Malcolm Turnbull doing something,” observes Crabb. “This is Turnbull’s central difficulty.”

“Get out of the road”
February 6, 2009, 3:00 am
Filed under: Politicians, The economy | Tags: , , ,

“Only Mr Turnbull stands in the road. Therefore I would say to Mr Turnbull and the Liberal party, get out of the road of the government getting on with the job of nation-building and supporting jobs at a time of national economic emergency.”

Kevin Rudd, determined to get the $42 billion stimulus plan approved, does not mince his words.

Tarzan Turnbull has balls
February 5, 2009, 12:18 am
Filed under: Politicians, The economy | Tags: , ,

“Swinging through the trees, Tarzan Turnbull alighted before the dispatch box and, giving his chest a vigorous, if figurative thump, performed his most dazzling feat of machismo yet.

Clad only in the briefest of policy loincloths, Tarzan plans to stand between mum-and-dad Australia and $42-billion of free money, Pink Batts and school libraries.”

Annabel Crabb reflects on Malcolm Turnbull’s rejection of Kevin Rudd’s $42 billion stimulus plan. She quotes a comment from one of the Herald blogs: 

“Whatever else you think of Malcolm, he’s certainly got a pair. They’re going to be flattened like a pile of possum roadkill by the stampede of punters towards Big Kev’s fistful of dollars. But he won’t have died wondering.”

The radical right-winger
February 2, 2009, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Politicians, The economy | Tags: ,

“Turnbull as a radical right-winger? If you listened carefully, you might just have heard the distant sound of the Liberal neocons choking on their baby-seal kebabs.

Turnbull? That pinot noir-sipping, Henson-owning, gay rights-supporting Maltese terrier collector?”

Annabel Crabb reports on Kevin Rudd’s criticism of Malcolm Turnbull, whose arguments, he said,  represented “a radical, right-wing, free-market approach to the economy where governments shouldn’t intervene, that has spectacularly failed”.

Insulting remarks and ungentlemanly behaviour
November 19, 2008, 3:31 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , ,


“AS an elderly voter (I am 81 years young) I am heartily tired of hearing the words fiscal, transparency, accountability and infrastructure, which feature in almost every speech of our present Prime Minister and his Treasurer.

But even these four words are preferable to the vocabulary used by the Minister of Finance in his virulent and malicious attack on our Leader of the Opposition in question time last week.

He recited that the Liberal Party supported shonks, sharks and spivs.

Surely, this language is unbecoming and degrading for a minister in his position and lowers the dignity of question time to lowly gutter sensationalism.

If I were the Honourable Malcolm Turnbull, I would demand a personal apology from Lindsay Tanner for his insulting remarks and his ungentlemanly behaviour.”

Lola F.E. Ross, Young, NSW, letter to The Australian.


“Everyone thinks politicians are shits”
November 14, 2008, 3:40 am
Filed under: Politicians | Tags: , ,

“Politics is about leading people. We’ve got to the stage where everyone thinks politicians are shits and they’re not worth two bob, and everyone kicks the shit out of us every time we get an increase in our salary.”

Paul Keating, speaking in 1990, as quoted by Alan Ramsey. More recently, Keating has observed of Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull: “Kevin is all about acclaim, and if he doesn’t watch himself he’s going to find a very smart opponent right up his arse. Turnbull is no dope.”