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Extracts  from Australian colonial newspapers, with modern links


From The Portland Guardian, Victoria, 1868.

The following eloquent address was delivered from the balcony of a certain hotel after Mr Butters had returned thanks and all the election business was settled.

The address was thus delivered: - "Shentlmn! gotopot!!" (we may here observe that during the delivery of the address some friend of the speaker was trying to prevail upon him to come into the house). "I'll shpeak to you likea bird; had toomushdrink; don cararap! (here the speaker was melted into tears). I wontgo in! beoff! I'm quiet man liklamb! (here speaker struck fiercely at a friend who was trying to force him into the house) but I carnt bear t'see men going wrong!"

Here the speaker gesticulated violently and commenced to denounce the general public in an unknown tongue.

In the meantime, several of his friends were in deep consultation as to how they should get the orator away.

At length one of them happened to call to mind two pictures which he had seen, one representing a boy on a donkey which was tearing along at a slapping pace under the seductive influence of a bunch of vegetables tied to the end of a stick, which the rider held before "Jenny's" nose.

Taking a lesson from these pictures, the anxious friends mixed a stiff glass of brandy punch, which one of them took outside and held to the windward of the colonial Demosthenes.

As the fragrant steam from the tumbler curled around his nostrils, the high spirit of patriotism which had hitherto upheld the orator gave way, and giving vent to a howl expressive of rage, sorrow, pity, benevolence, anger, merriment, remorse, revenge, fear, jealousy, joy and misery, the eloquent gentleman retired into the house.

To read about an earlier election as reported by the Portland Guardian, click on Portland Recollections and Verse, 1851


On November 11, 1975, Australia's Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Whitlam government

Sir John Kerr. Well known for his speech at the Melbourne Cup when he slurred his words and stumbled during the prize giving ceremony. When he was G.G. he often popped round to Kirribilli House [Prime Minister's Sydney residence] to replenish the bar stocks at Admiralty House [Governor-General's residence] - Dinkum Aussies

NOW! Some Russian politicians have made careers out of issuing insults, perhaps most famously the head of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovskii. Russian television recently showed video footage of a drunk-looking Zhirinovskii cursing U.S. President George W. Bush. He used the informal Russian form of address while warning Bush not to launch a war against Iraq. "All the world's Arabs, all the world's Muslims, all Eastern Europe, [and] Moscow are against you!" Zhirinovskii cried. "Moscow doesn't want this war, and our president told you clearly in Russian: 'Don't dare attack Baghdad!' It's better to attack [expletive] Tbilisi together...George, you're a cowboy. You stop [expletive]. You end it. Put your cartridges away in storage and forget about your daddy." - Russia: Politicians Spark Uncivil Debate On Public Decency, by Gregory Feifer

See also Alcohol is often the invisible lubricant of Polish politics.

Copyright 2003

Eric Shackle

Story first posted March 2003

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