tip off

Great Australian political insults — a Crikey list

In yesterday’s Australian, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer called Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd shallow, cynical, immodest, mealy-mouthed, duplicitous, a boy in a bubble, a foreign policy imposter and unfit to lead the nation. But tell us Alexander, what do you really think?

Crikey was inspired by this litany of insults to create a new, albeit incomplete, list of great Australian political insults through history.

Paul Keating:

On John Hewson:

  • He’s like a shiver waiting for a spine
  • Debating with him is like being flogged by a warm lettuce
  • A feral abacus
  • The answer is, mate, because I want to do you slowly (after Hewson asked him why he wouldn’t call an early election)

On Andrew Peacock:

  • A souffle doesn’t rise twice

On Wilson Tuckey:

  • He’d be flat out counting past ten

On John Howard:

  • He’s like a lizard on a rock, alive but looking dead
  • A desiccated coconut
  • What we have got is a dead carcass, swinging in the breeze, but nobody will cut it down to replace him.
  • …the brain-damaged Leader of the Opposition…
  • But I will never get to the stage of wanting to lead the nation standing in front of the mirror each morning clipping the eyebrows here and clipping the eyebrows there with Janette and the kids: It’s like ‘Spot the eyebrows’.
  • From this day onwards, Howard will wear his leadership like a crown of thorns, and in the parliament I’ll do everything to crucify him (speaking of his 1986 leadership)

On Jeff Kennett spending over $20 million on office renovations:

  • He’s into squalor. He can’t afford an ambulance if you have a heart attack. He can’t afford lavatories at railway stations. He’s got the Treasury done up like the Reichstag.

Mark Latham:

On Bob Carr:

  • A-grade a-sehole.

To former immigration minister Philip Ruddock:

  • Hand in your badge, Adolf.

On Howard:

  • Howard is an a-se-licker. He went over there, kissed some bums, and got patted on the head.
  • Description of Prime Minister John Howard’s trip to the United States: John Howard has forgotten how to be a good Australian, not some yes-man to a flaky and dangerous American president.
  • On the government: There they are a conga line of suck holes on the conservative side of politics.

Treasurer Peter Costello:

On the thought of a Labor government:

  • That is enough to put me into a cold sweat. If I look tired it is because I have thought of that in the middle of the night.

Prime Minister John Howard:

Howard’s response to a journalist asking a question about Tasmania’s old growth forests:

  • You tree hugger you.

On Rudd:

  • I think he’s getting a bit full of himself, I mean this is Mr Rudd walking both sides of the street - each way bet Kevin.

Bob Brown:

On Peter Garrett:

Peter Garrett:

On Peter Costello, after the Treasurer danced to and sang Midnight Oil lyrics in parliament:

Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd:

Rudd on Latham after Latham called Rudd “Heavy Kevvie” “a terrible piece of work” “King of the Caveats,” a junior minister at best, who he’d make Minister for the Pacific Islands:

  • I just think Mark Latham needs to have a good, long, hard look at himself.

Margaret Whitlam:

On Janette Howard:

  • What on earth is she doing with all her time?…She’s useless in terms of how little she gives to the community. You have certain obligations to make the most of the position, to accept invitations, to support charitable causes, to let yourself be known to the people of Australia. I mean, people want to see you. What is she hiding?

And, recalling in her biography her first encounter with Mrs Howard shortly after her husband’s first election victory, she says:

Senator Bill Heffernan:

Suggested that Senator Fiona Nash:

Alexander Downer

On Kevin Rudd:

  • I was the Leader of the Opposition, I was enormously
    popular. I only hope that Mr Rudd suffers the same fate that I did.

Wilson Tuckey:

To Kim Beazley:

  • A fat so and so

Kim Beazley: 

To Wilson Tuckey:

  • Take your tablets. 

Please send any additions/amendments to boss@crikey.com.au.

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