Sunday, February 4, 2018

100 Greatest Replies, Responses and Comebacks


Originally this segment started as 100 Greatest Replies but I have changed the title to reflect that sometimes the comments made are responsive to situations, not just to comments by other people.

I have had positive feedback in conversations about this continuing series so here are some more memorable ones. The theme is Australian politicians.

Caution: risque content included.


16. Gough Whitlam:

From an article “Kiss Me Kate and I’ll Vote Royal” by former Member of Parliament Barry Cohen in The Australian, Friday 13 July 2012:
Philip was no friend of the Left, British or Australian. He was reported as having described Gough Whitlam as “that socialist arsehole”. I rang seeking Gough’s view of the duke. After a prolonged pause came the breathy response, “He married well.”

17. Bob Katter Snr:

Robert Cummin Katter (1918 – 1990), commonly known as Bob Katter and the father of the current parliamentarian, also known as Bob Katter, was an Australian federal politician and Minister for the Army. He was a National Party member of the Australian House of Representatives for over 23 years.

Whilst quoting Barry Cohen, here is another, from his book Whitlam to Winston, a collection of political anecdotes:
A fire-and-brimstone speaker in the House whenever the Labor Party raised his ire, Bob Katter Snr was nevertheless well-liked by his colleagues on both sides of the House. Many of us, however, were surprised when in a Cabinet reshuffle by Sir William McMahon on 2 February 1972 he was appointed Minister for the Army. At about the same time, his wife died. Although I sent him telegrams on both occasions, when I found myself standing next to him in the men’s urinal in parliament House some days later, and not sure whether he had received the telegrams, I decided to raise both matters with him again.

“Bob.” I said, “congratulations again on your appointment and my sincere condolences on your tragic loss.”

Yes.” he sighed, looking wistfully towards the heavens. “It took a bit of the gloss off it.”

18. Billy Hughes:

Billy Hughes, 1908

William Morris Hughes (1862-1952), commonly known as Billy Hughes, was an Australian politician who served as the seventh Prime Minister of Australia, in office from 1915 to 1923. He is best known for leading the country during World War I, but his influence on national politics spanned several decades. Hughes was a member of parliament from 1901 until his death, the only person to have served for more than 50 years. He represented six political parties during his career, leading five, outlasting four, and being expelled from three.

Hughes was widely read, thriving on the Bible and Shakespeare, a prolific columnist and a compelling orator with a grating yet penetrating voice. He deployed language like a chainsaw and his vituperative tongue is unmatched in our politics.

Alfred Deakin

Alfred Deakin (1856 – 1919) was an Australian politician who served as the second Prime Minister of Australia, in office for three separate terms – 1903 to 1904, 1905 to 1908, and 1909 to 1910. Before entering office, he was a leader of the movement for Australian federation.


In 1909 Deakin completed the fusion of the two rival non-Labor parties into a united Liberal Party, thereby destroying the then Labor government. During Parliamentary debate, someone interjected, calling out “Judas” at Deakin.

Hughes referred to that interjection in his address to Parliament:
“He (Deakin) has persuaded the reactionaries for the time being, to cover their vulpine faces with the wool of sheep. I heard from this side of the House some mention of Judas. I do not agree with that; it is not fair – to Judas, for whom there is this to be said, that he did not gag the man whom he betrayed nor did he fail to hang himself afterwards.”

Hughes’ above comment resulted in cries of "Dreadful! Dreadful!" from the Speaker of the House who collapsed in shock and died, never regaining consciousness.


19. Bob Katter Snr, again:

On one occasion Katter Snr was driving through the dusty wastes of outback Queensland when he met a car coming the other way, being driven by a woman. The bush tracks usually consisted of two ruts corresponding to vehicle wheels. Katter had given way on a number of earlier occasions and decided that this time the other vehicle should give way. The other driver slowed down and went off the track, wound down her window and yelled at Katter “PIG!” Grossly insulted, Katter yelled “Bitch” and sped off. Rounding the next bend he drove full speed into an enormous wild pig squatting in the middle of the road.


20. Gough Whitlam, again:

Sir Winton George Turnbull (1899 – 1980) was an Australian politician. In 1946, Turnbull was elected in a by-election to the federal seat of Wimmera for the Country Party. He was subsequently discharged from the army in order to sit in the Parliament. Turnbull was a dedicated parliamentarian who never missed a parliamentary sitting and was appointed Country Party whip in 1956.

The Australian political party now known as the National Party of Australia, also The Nationals and The Nats, representing graziers, farmers, and rural voters generally, began as the Australian Country Party. 


From Gough Whitlam in a debate at Sydney Town Hall in 2000 on the subject "That Politicians Have Lost Their Sense Of Humour":
"When Sir Winton Turnbull was raving and ranting on the adjournment and shouted 'I am a Country member', I interjected 'I remember'. 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."

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