Deprived of the outrageous gaffes and old-fashioned biffo that we might have been expecting from this fizzer of an election season, journalists have started romanticising the days of feistier figures such as Hawke and Keating, who were rarely afraid to lash their abusive tongues. Even rat-f-cking Rudd appears already to have merged into that grainy gallery of foul-mouthed former Labour leaders.

But now it’s the Liberal pollies who are asserting their curse-word credentials by exposing their own daring linguistic behaviour. Tony Abbott was recently on the Gary, Fitzy and Mel Show admitting to yoof listeners that he liked to use “colourful language” behind closed doors — or, presumably, whenever he believed the microphone was off. Meanwhile, Alexander Downer was telling Claire Harvey of the Sunday Telegraph that he thought Rudd was not a cad, a blackguard, or a downright rum sort of fellow but, rather extraordinarily, “a f-cking awful person”.

“I don’t use the c-word,” he explained to Harvey before graciously fetching her smelling salts, “but I do use the f-word pretty freely”. One wonders what that nancy boy Bob Hawke was thinking about all this bravado.

At least we didn’t have to spend a penny for the thoughts of broadcaster Steve Price. “Our pollies must swear off abuse” he admonished from a Herald Sun column where he released the earth-shattering news that he once personally overheard Downer using “the f-word” on his mobile phone. (Read the full story at WikiLeaks).

But Price’s gravest condemnation was reserved for K-Rudd who is accused by Julie Bishop of having uttered the word “c-nt” while overseas and in front of women. Zounds! Not at home? In the presence of consenting willies? “Now I don’t believe that is acceptable under any circumstances,” he explains. “It’s an awful word anyway and is always used in a derogatory way.”