Sunday, July 5, 2015

Some lesser known Oz political quotes . . .

Caution: risque language in some of the following items.

Byter Charles X mentioned, in an email, of a witty response in the House by Gough Whitlam when he was PM. That has inspired today’s post . . .

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“No, not at all, Joe is just a buffoon out of his depth”.

- Bob Carr, Premier of NSW, when asked whether he was offended by a derogatory remark about Sydney made by Joe Hockey, Federal Minister for Tourism, whilst in Tokyo.

Bob Carr

Joe Hockey

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Whilst Gough Witlam was PM, rural MP Sir Winton Turbull shouted at him 'I am a Country member'. 

Whitlam quickly responded with 'We remember', which earned applause from both sides of the House. 

Whitlam later elaborated: 'He could not understand why, for the first time in all the years he had been speaking in the House, there was instant and loud applause from both sides.” 

Gough Whitlam in later years

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“By way of personal instinct, I have an inherent distaste for grandiose rhetorical statements, which don’t have any substantive dimension to them.”

Kevin Rudd, Prime Minister

Kevin Rudd

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“(Sydney Lord Mayor) Clover Moore couldn’t get a fuck on a troop ship coming home.”

- Paul Keating on leaving a planning meeting

Paul Keating

Clover Moore

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MP Nicola Roxon told the Liberal MP Peter Dutton, while proffering a box of unused Howard Government promotional golf balls, ”I can give you some balls if you want them”.

Nicola Roxon

Peter Dutton

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“If there was a university degree for greed, you cunts would all get first-class honours.”

- Paul Keating, then Treasurer, in 1985 after backbenchers had complained about having to substantiate, for tax purposes, their electoral allowances

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John Gorton, Prime Minister of Australia 1968-1971, was accused of having an affair with his personal assistant Ainsley Gotto. Gorton relied on Gotto for political advice. When Minister for the Air Dudley Erwin was omitted from the Ministry following a reshuffle in 1969, Erwin was asked the reason by media representatives. He famously replied “It wiggles, it's shapely and its name is Ainsley Gotto.”

On one occasion, an MP addressing the House in a speech critical of the Government asked why the Prime Minister was not present and where was he? “He’s gone to Mount Ainslie” interjected another MP, referring to a prominent landmark and tourist attraction in Canberra.

Ainsley Gotto and John Gorton

Mt Ainslie behind Old Parliament House

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"I ask you to carefully consider the record of my government and vote Labor.”

- Liberal Prime Minister William McMahon whilst campaigning in 1972. 

 William McMahon with wife Sonia

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Sir Henry Bolte, 38th and longest serving Premier of Victoria. Is also well remembered as the last Australian politician to approve capital punishment. Ronald Ryan had been sentenced to death by hanging for a prison break in which a guard had been killed. Bolte had the power to recommend clemency but declined to exercise it, arguing that the death penalty was a necessary deterrent for crime against government officials and law enforcement officers.

All calls for clemency, petitions and protests were to no avail and Ryan was hanged in 1967.

A journalist asked Bolte what he was doing at the moment that Ronald Ryan was hanged. “One of the three Ss, I suppose” he replied. When asked what he meant, he responded: “A shit, a shave or a shower.”


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“One of the benefits of global warming is there's not as many icebergs in the North Atlantic.”

- Clive Palmer, MP




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