daniel-andrews
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews (Image: AAP/David Crosling)

And the hits just keep on coming. Another day, another edition of our all-singing, all-dancing, all-shonking compendium of shifty language.

Consultation: Politicians see consultation as Mozart saw music — it’s everywhere, it’s in everything. So, say you destroyed something irreplaceable after a consultation process that many of those affected say was profoundly inadequate, does that mean you can’t use consultation as a defence? Does it bollocks!

Example, via Premier Daniel Andrew: “We have had court processes, we’ve had agreements, we’ve had settlements, we have fundamentally done as we said we would do, and we have directly consulted and continue to consult with the 12 families that are the traditional owners of this particular part of our state”

Safety net: Social Services Minister Anne Ruston went all Jacques Derrida this week, daring to ask, well, what is “poverty” anyway? Alas, a definition has apparently long eluded the government’s greatest minds. “A narrow definition of [ed note: Rushton actually did air quotes] ‘poverty’, as I said, is not something the government has ever sought.”

As such, the definition of “safety net” became similarly elastic and relative, shifting from, you know, an actual safety net to something you could probably survive on, for a bit.

“The reality is…”: Much like “with all due respect“, this phrase gives the impression a question has already been answered. A reader defines it as a “frank dismissal disguised as a wearied entreaty. An expression of rhetorical irritation. A verbal sign of determination not to address an interlocutor’s question or comment”.

Regret: The beauty of the word “regret” in the mouth of the spiv is that it can be attached to the word “any” and immediately be drained of all meaning, referring not to a specific event that one is responsible for but rather a vague possibility that some may or may not have happened.

Example: after the Qatari government subjected 18 women to a horrifying “compulsory medical examination” (following the discovery of a newborn baby abandoned in Doha International Airport), it issued a statement saying it regrets “any distress or infringement on the personal freedom of any traveller”.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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