Is Prime Minister Julia Gillard a “bogan” or a “badass”? Is Opposition Leader Tony Abbott a “liar” or a “legend”? Those are just some of questions Australia wants answers to, according to Google’s auto-complete function.

I searched for 25 prominent Australian politicians on Google, beginning with just a name and then adding other words to prompt auto-complete, such as “is” and “why”. The results were interesting, confusing and at times a little disturbing. Google takes a number of factors into account when creating an auto-correct function, including the searching activity of all web users and the content of web pages indexed by Google.

Gillard’s auto-complete results are a good example of what to expect. Some are negative — “Julia Gillard is a crook” and “a joke” — some are positive: she’s a “badass”. A number revolve around recent events or internet memes. Former shock jock Michael Smith’s Australian Workers Union crusade has clearly had an impact, with many asking “Is Julia Gillard going to jail?”. Some were plainly confusing, with a huge number of people wondering why she started wearing glasses at the beginning of 2013 (“to see better”, Gillard explained last week).

Not many googlers think Abbott is going to jail, however they do think he’s a “legend”. Some are also asking if he’s “the Devil”. No one is concerned about his glasses, it seems.

Australian search engine users wondered whether former Labor PM Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan were “Chinese” and “Asian” respectively. They also wanted to know if Anthony Albanese is “Italian” (he is) and if shadow treasurer Joe Hockey is “Lebanese” (he’s not). Nor is independent MP Bob Katter “Aboriginal”.

Searchers are also a randy bunch, connecting the PM and Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop with the word “hot”. Googlers take it a step further with Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, wanting “pics”. We also love a good conspiracy theory: many current political figures and some past PMs had searches asking if they were “freemasons” — but no one thought to search for the term in connection with female politicians.

Australians have a barely functional Google “gaydar” — we picked Bob Brown and Penny Wong, but missed the mark on some others like married pollies Melbourne Greens MP Adam Bandt and opposition education spokesman Christopher Pyne. Speaking of marriage, we are determined to find out if our politicians are hitched.

It’s unsurprising Google has sometimes been sued for defamation based on the suggestions of its Auto-complete system. In 2012 a Melbourne man took the website to court when a Google Image search turned up pictures of him standing beside gangland figure Tony Mokbel. Earlier this year an Australian surgeon also sued, claiming his business had been damaged by Google suggesting the word “bankrupt” next to his name. Unless one of the politicians mentioned above sues for defamation, the results aren’t changing; Google doesn’t take them down by request.

Finally, if there were an award for the strangest or perhaps most profound search topic, it would have to go to: “Is John Howard Australia?”

Deep question, googlers. I guess it depends on who you ask.