What a delightful way Kevin Rudd has with words. John Howard may be stuck in the 1950s on policy, but it’s Rudd who speaks like he’s walked straight off the set of Dad and Dave.

There are the rhetorical questions, the “hairy chested” sayings, not to mention a host of words plucked from obscurity by Rudd for national prominence. Kim “boondoggling” Beazley had nothing on Rudd.  Crikey has the glossary:

Fiddle faddle (verb). To muck about/procrastinate.

Example: “If [Peter Costello] was a reforming Treasurer after 11 years he would have taken a meat axe to rates, what has he always done? Fiddle faddled, and fiddle faddled around on the whole question of thresholds, that’s all he’s ever done.” — 22 October, ABC News

Poof! (exclamation) The sound of Coalition policy disappearing.

Example: “Mr Abbott’s credibility is shredded further when we all know that Mr Abbott for years canvassed directly the possibility, and his preferred option, of the Commonwealth taking over [hospitals]. Suddenly we get to an election and poof! That’s gone up in smoke.” — 9 October, The 7:30 Report

Whacko (interjection) The sound of the Coalition stretching the truth. Can be used to indicate a Coalition non sequitur.

Example: “For Mr Costello, Mr Howard to go out there and say, whacko, we’ve had two quarters, according to the national accounts, of some positive productivity growth and out of that construct a story that all’s right in the world and Bob’s your uncle, frankly, it’s like saying because you’ve had a bit of rain recently, there’s no longer any problem with the drought.” — 19 June, PM

Bob’s your uncle (idiom) As in Bob Ellis. When applied to the ALP, shows ability to get the job done. When applied to Coalition policy is always ironic though the meaning varies — either indicates the ability to get a botched job done or not get it done at all. Nb. Bob can be swapped for evil dictator where appropriate.

Example: “They sent a cable back to Canberra, asked the Wheat Board if there’s a problem, the Wheat Board says, ‘No, not a problem, no, it’s all okay, swear on a Bible, Bob’s your uncle…’ well, Saddam’s your uncle, as it turns out, because he got the money.” — 7 December 2005, PM

Spade (noun). A spade.

Example: “I believe in calling a spade a spade. I think we got [the 2004 approach to Tasmanian forestry] wrong and I’m here to listen to work out how we get it right. I think we can get it right and part of getting it right is just being anchored in what the local community is saying to us.” — 19 December 2006, The 7:30 Report

Life’s walls (noun) Things that battlers run into.

Example: “It is part and parcel of our Australian set of values, having a bit of heart and soul and doing the right thing for all those Australians out there who have run into one of life’s walls.” — 5 November, announcing $150 million plan to provide 600 new houses and units for homeless people, The Australian

Zob zob zob (saying) Rudd equivalent of Not now dear, I have a headache.” Nb. Runs counter to its traditional usage. In French, zob is slang for p-nis. Zob zob zob is the name of a 70s p-rn flick; the word also features prominently in French chanson Tiens voilà mon Zob.

Example: “Zob zob zob.” — 5 November, Rudd replies to a journalist asking if he could ask a question about national affairs, news.com.au

Silver bullet (noun) Generally appears alongside words indicating that there isn’t one. Used to lower public’s expectations.

Example: “There’s no silver bullet in this, but we just want to get people into a savings culture early, saving with a tax-friendly environment so they have much more of a chance to enter the home ownership market and get out of the rent trap.” — 5 November, Rudd discusses how he’d help first home buyers out, The Australian

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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