‘Glass the c**t’s wife and their children because they don’t deserve to procreate’ (about an Opposition leader). ‘Cut his balls off’ (about another Opposition leader). ‘Hope he gets raped by a dog’ (about a minister). ‘The face of a rapist’ (about a minister). A-grade arsehole (about a minister). Jack the Ripper. Nazi war criminal. Adolf. ‘Deformed character’ (about a crippled party president). ‘Skanky ho’ (about a journalist). Swill. Brain-damaged. Dead carcass. Mangy maggot. Bubonic plague. Blow it out your backside. ‘Average lifespan for an Australian male age 79. Patience my pretties.’ Psychopath. Conga line of suck holes. Stupid, foul-mouthed grub. Pig. Gutless spiv. Perfumed gigolo. Vermin. Arselicker. ‘Unflushable turd’ (about
a former Prime Minster). ‘Her father died of shame’ (about the current
The above insults have all been used by or about Australian politicians. Some are vile. Others a little too close to the truth for comfort. Such insults humiliate, but they can also illuminate in their nastiness, shedding as much light on the values and attitudes of the insulter as the insulted.
Yet they represent the bedrock of our democracy. Without the freedom to resort to whatever language we choose in order to express our dissatisfaction with those who hold power, there is no such thing as free speech. With the well-established caveat that free speech does not include the right to incite violence (which some of the above clearly do), our defamation laws exist to ensure that such choice language is not abused. Similarly, social mores exist to restrict certain words and expressions to specific confines, although in a democracy the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable are constantly being challenged — particularly in the digital age.
What is breathtaking about Alan Jones’ recent comment is the hypocrisy it has unleashed with, on the one hand, a conga line of Labor handbag-throwers lining up to desperately try to link Jones’ comments to Tony Abbott and, on the other, advertisers being blackmailed via highly organised non-representative social media campaigns to boycott 2GB.
In the same breath, those claiming to be offended by Jones’ impolite words have gone on to label him a ‘vile, racist, misogynist, bile-spewing throwback’, ‘bigot’, ‘troll of the worst kind’, and ‘abhorrent human being’. Not to mention expressing their desire to see his cancer return to kill him.
Yes, Jones’ joke was in poor taste. But he has every right to make such a comment, and his dinner guests have every right to laugh at it if they find it funny, or not invite him back if they don’t. But those squealing the loudest with indignation have the least claim to the moral high ground.
Above are the worst Australian political insults of the past few decades, as compiled by Crikey and other online sources. What’s fascinating is that all but two of them came out of the mouths of Labor politicians or supporters. And nobody on the Left batted an eyelid.
Labor’s new curriculum
Sometime in the latter part of this century, a bright, eagle-eyed student of history will be loudly ridiculed for publishing a daring paper about the roots of Australian society. Citing hitherto un-read texts, he will propose the preposterous idea that Australia was settled and colonised by the British sometime towards the end of the 18th century. He will go on to theorise that these colonialists, often guided by a quirky set of ‘Judeo-Christian’ religious beliefs, imposed a sophisticated legal system, a high standard of education, an enlightened set of values and a desire to create a wealthy, civilised, egalitarian industrialised and agrarian society onto what previously had been an island populated by a variety of primitive indigenous tribes.
Controversially, he will also suggest that through strong ties to the motherland of England, these early Australians formed a belief in democratic freedoms that led them not once but twice to sacrifice their finest generations in bloody European wars. Later on, he will controversially suggest that the concept of socialism was not entirely benign, and in fact, was actually the cause of much suffering when introduced to a mythical place called the Soviet Union.
Hopefully, Canberra’s Expert Panel on Historical Accuracy and Educational Standards will have the power to regulate such a blatant purveyor of misinformation, and ensure he is not allowed to peddle such theories in any respectable educational institutions. After all (as John Howard recently observed), by then any Aussie schoolkid should be able to tell you the facts: that the British were nothing but an embarrassing footnote in the creation of modern Australia.