POLITICS

The Rudest, Meanest Things Said In Aussie Parliament

You can't say 'you are a knob' or 'free trade is bullshit'.

06/12/2016 1:20 PM AEDT | Updated 06/12/2016 4:18 PM AEDT
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Former PM Tony Abbott has a few mentions on the list.

Name-calling and insults are just as much a part of politics as passing laws, making deals and taking questionable junkets.

Now, we've got a handy list of all the terms that are not allowed inside Australia's chambers of power, thanks to a list of all the expressions ruled 'unparliamentary' in 2015 -- and there are some real pearlers, from Nazi references to some good old Aussie favourites.

The Society of Clerks-at-the-Table in Commonwealth Parliaments, a group for clerks of parliament across the Commonwealth, has published its annual report and journal, The Table. Included in its pages are lists of expressions ruled 'unparliamentary' by the various parliaments.

Australia's federal parliament, as well as state parliaments across the country, punch above their weight in zingers, insults and verbal barbs.

The list for the 2016 report includes happenings in the 2015 parliament, which is why we haven't got anything from this current explosive year in politics, which included Peter Whish-Wilson telling George Brandis he was "full of shit" and Derryn Hinch using his maiden speech to tell the chamber that most election campaign slogans are "bullshit".

Among the unparliamentary things said in federal parliament last year:

  • "The cockroach of the Australian Labor Party";
  • "You would think the foreign minister might actually think before she opens her big fat trap and says stupid things in this parliament";
  • "They are the tools over the other side that will be bashed";
  • "You are such a grub";
  • "Here is another muppet";
  • "Free trade is bullshit."

Other words ruled out of order included "hypocrite", "beltway Bill", "balaclava Bill", "bankrobber Bill", "annoying prat" and "goose". Some of them you could say are probably not befitting of the elected representatives of our country. Others, well, we'll let you decide whether they're outrageous or not.

There are some which were very controversial at the time (the twin Nazi references of Tony Abbott calling Bill Shorten "the Dr Goebbels of economic policy" and saying he caused "a holocaust of jobs"), while others might seem a bit of an unfair cop.

Things get a bit looser in our state parliaments, with those politicians not under quite as much media scrutiny as their federal counterparts, and therefore maybe more inclined to be a bit looser:

  • "You are a knob" (Northern Territory parliament);
  • "My question is to the village idiot" (NT);
  • "In the words of the Prime Minister, this budget is crap" (Queensland);
  • "You nitwit" (QLD);
  • "You knucklehead" (QLD);
  • "Demented parrots" (South Australia);
  • "You've got to stop smoking the funny stuff. You've got to stop smoking so much
  • pot" (NSW parliament);
  • "The whimpering member for Canterbury" (NSW).

There are also lists for other parliaments around the Commonwealth. In the British Columbia legislative assembly, someone said they wanted to "bop the members opposite on the head", while in Quebec, words including "malarkey", "shylock", "arrogant persons" and "cowardliness" were not allowed.

In South Africa, "teletubby", "alleged sex pest", "drug lord", "sell out", "moron" and "foreman of thieves" were ruled out.

Check out the Society of Clerks website for more info and the full lists.

H/T @smurray38 for sharing this helpful list.

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