The Art of the Australian Insult

The bogans of Brisbane
March 23, 2009, 1:12 am
Filed under: Lifestyles, Place | Tags: , ,

“In Sydney CBD, people can be quite charming,” says ‘etiquette consultant’ Anna Musson. “In the CBD here (Brisbane), people are not at their best. It can be a big turn-off for clients. People don’t know some of the basic etiquette.”

Also quoted in this fine example of a non-story is Elvis Soiza, chief concierge at the Sofitel Brisbane Hotel and president of the concierge society Les Clefs D’Or Australia.

“Some of the young people don’t even say please any more, it’s ‘Get me that’, or ‘Do this’,” he says. “Everyone is in a hurry and the pleases and thank-yous get forgotten. Opening doors for people, shaking hands, knowing how to talk to people, giving up your seat on a bus or a train, it’s being forgotten.”

Sydneysiders, the Americans of NSW
November 10, 2008, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Place, Transport | Tags:

“Jeez, I’m sick of hearing about how hard done by Sydney is.
“The Government won’t spend billions of dollars on a bypass that will cut five minutes off our travel time… The Government expects us to pay for transport system upgrades through increased fares..we pay so much petrol…we are so broke because we just paid an obscene amount to a greedy vendor for a house not worth half what we paid.”
Fair dinkum, Sydneysiders are the Americans of NSW. The state ends at the Hunter River to the north, the Blue Mountains to the west and Lake Illawarra to the south. Nothing exists outside Sydney’s borders and what does exist you don’t care about.
Come have a look at our decrepit roads, our non-existent transport system, our petrol prices (no 99c deals happening here) and our way of life.
You might realize how lucky you are.”

Brian McMullen, Dubbo, letter to the Daily Telegraph.

Big city, small-minded outlook
October 8, 2008, 1:47 am
Filed under: Place, Sport | Tags: , ,

“While visiting my parents in Sydney, I noticed just how small-town the city had become. The anti-Melbourne sentiment displayed by the public and in the media leading up to the NRL grand final was ungracious, biased, unreasonable and offensive.
Clearly, Sydney cannot be regarded as an international city with such a small-minded outlook.

Apart from too much sunshine, I would much rather live in big-hearted Melbourne where even a win by the Sydney Swans is embraced and cheered.”

Cait Ellis Parkville (Vic), letter to the SMH.

A billion-dollar disaster
July 31, 2008, 4:07 am
Filed under: Transport | Tags: ,

“That Sydney’s metro looks like a billion-dollar disaster is no amazing revelation. The surprising thing is that, unlike most initiatives of this government, we actually found out beforehand.”

Christopher Dauth, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald, responding to news that plans for a north-west metro have been described by transport expert Jim Steer as a very big mistake:

“As it stands, it would seem that more harm than good would accrue to Sydney and its economy from proceeding with the project”.

Age of miracles

A huge range of comments relating to World Youth Day have appeared in local newspapers over the past week. Here is a selection, some positive, some negative, some critical of said negativity:

“The Pope’s warning about false idols should ensure bona fide pilgrims shop only at the official World Youth Day souvenir shops.” Adriana Maxwell.


“More public transport, pedestrians wandering safely down a quiet George Street with cars and buses diverted, proposed draconian police powers put firmly in their place and (here’s the real miracle) smiling, polite teenagers. I lapsed long ago, but …hallelujah!”

Robert Verhey.


“This sneering, intolerant criticism of everything smacking of World Youth Day brands us as rednecks and is a downright embarrassment.” James Burfitt.


“if they’re so keen to stop dwelling on old wounds, why do Catholic Church leaders still re-enact and carry on about the crucifixion?” Wendy Varney.


“The Chaser disguises are much better now. They fooled me.” Doug McLaughlin.


“And we thought Cate Blanchett was overexposed during the 2020 Summit pilgrimage.” Peter Sesterka.


“The real crime against humanity perpetuated by World Youth Day is what Mercedes-Benz has done to its lovely ML 430 vehicle to facilitate the vehicular perambulations of the Pope.” William Simon.


“How delightful (and fitting) to see a gumnut on the papal pate. May Gibbs would be chuffed.” Margaret Pritchard.


George Street with no cars. Now that is a miracle.” Gemma Purcell.


“Can I sue for annoyance at seriously out-of-tune Catholics randomly singing in my presence? Shouldn’t they have been subjected to an Idol-style elimination before being allowed into the country?” David Breeze.


“There is no relief. First the Barmy Army and now the Psalmy Army.” Frederick Hewison.


“It is indeed a disappointing day when one of Sydney’s leading newspapers becomes nothing more than a blinkered, sycophantic pamphlet for World Youth Day. Reportage is one thing, but touting the WYD logo on the front of the newspaper, and headlines such as “On the Hungry Mile, a feast of goodwill”, amid a host of mind-numbingly similar stories about paradise, hope and joy is quite another thing.” Diana Louis Shahinyan.


“I’m getting a little queasy at the quasi-worship of the Pope. He is only a man, for goodness sake. As for his infallibility, he has obviously never argued with a woman.” John Christie


“There’s something Animal Farm-ish about the Pope’s warning to youth not to be seduced by television images that depict violence as entertainment. The World Youth Day organizers have ensured one and all can watch the whole production of The Stations of the Cross on screens at Circular Quay, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Crescent Precinct in the Domain. Perhaps a case of your violence bad, our violence good.” Joan Kunze.

Even the vandals are celebrating WYD
July 15, 2008, 1:31 am
Filed under: Religion | Tags: , ,

“Ratzinger Rules”.

Graffiti spraypainted on seats near the war memorial in Hyde Park, Sydney.

“Sydney is schizo”
July 14, 2008, 2:33 am
Filed under: Place | Tags: , , ,

Melbourne-born poet Alan Wearne isn’t sure about Sydney:


“I tell you what, Sydney’s redneck quotient makes the outback look tolerant. I know Melbourne has all the gangland crime but the things happen in Sydney, like the Cronulla riots and the talkback clowns, that doesn’t happen down South.

Sydney is schizo: it’s the city of the Gay Mardi Gras and Fred Nileand the Hillsong church, just like the early days of settlement when you ad the Reverend Samuel Marsden on the one hand and Bacchanalian convict revelry on the other. When Sydney is nasty, it is really vicious.”

As if to make his point, after the interview took place, Wearne was the victim of a bashing on the South Coast train to Wollongong.

A city of whingers
July 4, 2008, 9:08 am
Filed under: Place | Tags: , , , ,

“At what point did Sydney transform from being an international city akin to New York and London to some kind of provincial backwater like Adelaide? From hysterical responses to a V8 Supercar event at Olympic Park to the visit by the Pope for World Youth Day right through to the complaints inner-city bars and clubs are too loud, it seems we have become a city of whingers. No one wants anything loud or exciting or popular to happen in our village. No one wants activities that might bring in more tourists or inject more money into our struggling economy or give us anothe perspective to life.  So let’s close Sydney Airport, disconnect NSW from the national highway network and pull up the traiun tracks at the border. That should keep everyone happy and ensure Sydney becomes a monument to the 1950s – just like Adelaide.”

Simon Baker, letter to the Daily Telegraph.

A very subtle joke
July 2, 2008, 5:46 am
Filed under: Transport | Tags: , ,

“If Sydney’s transport system is a joke, it’s one of those very subtle ones that you get an hour or so later.”


Scott Poynting, Manchester UK, letter to the Sydney Morning Herald. June 2008.

Fight! Fight! Sydney vs Melbourne
June 25, 2008, 2:21 am
Filed under: Place | Tags: , , , ,

Revelations that Gordon Ramsay’s first Australian restaurant will be located in Melbourne led to lots of Melbourne-bashing in the Daily Telegraph. “AP” of Sydney offers:

“Being a Pom, of course he would choose a place where he would feel at home – cold, crime-ridden and full of whingers. Melbourne is perfect.”

“SM”, also of Sydney, was equally dismissive:

“That grey, cold, windy and wet town down south is welcome to this fool. TV cooks don’t do anything for me. However, it appears that this obnoxious prat is endearing to some. The whole foul language and bad boy image is so predictable and just a pretty shallow gimmick.”

“NIck” thinks that Melbourne is a bit up itself:

“Melbourne is too busy comparing itself to the rest of the world, although the rest of the world ha snever heard of Melbourne. When not doing this, Melbourne likes pretending it is Paris. Bleak City has a climate which makes a grubby little laneway seem like paraise. Sydney doesn’t care either way – we don’t try to be something we’re not.”

At least “George” stands up for Melbourne:

“Sydney’s food is crap. You can’t find a decent meal apart from a few posh places where you can’t get a table anyway. At least in Melbourne we don’t have the snobbery of Sydney.”

And “Rod” from Perth, who is presumably unbiased, says that Melbourne “wins hands down”:

“There’s not much to get excited about in Sydney. Pretty much the same as any other capital city.”