Prime Minister Kevin Rudd today said that the Government was moving with “the utmost urgent speed” to fix what might be “perceived as an unfortunate conceptual misalignment” regarding the issue of asylum seekers.

I make no apologies…Artwork: John Tiedemann.

“Up until now we have described our policy as ‘tough but humane’, however from now on the correct designation will be ‘harsh but kind’,” Mr Rudd said.

The Prime Minister looked annoyed when a reporter suggested that perhaps a better alternative might be “sweet and sour”. “Let me say this, do I apologise for saying what I mean and meaning what I say? Not withstanding the various qualifications existent for meeting the dynamic fluidity of changing contingencies,  no, I do not apologise, not in the slightest,” Mr Rudd said.

“In fact, I am unapologetically unapologetic.”

Mr Rudd went on to unveil what he called “exciting new initiatives” in the area of “political to public sphere cognitive signifiers”.

It is believed this means the Government has changed and updated its various catchphrases, slogans and soundbites.

“We have been working around the clock to redefine the architecture of our policy communication formulation to counter what might appear to be the possibility of adverse misalignment in incredibly complex and difficult areas of interconnectivity,” Mr Rudd said.

“If it takes determined and decisive language to achieve the optimum outcome of listener interface, then my language will be decisively determined,” Mr Rudd said.

“If someone doesn’t like that, I say that’s the way the Iced Vovo crumbles, especially when introduced into the porously osmotic agency of a cup of tea.”

A beaming Prime Minister looked up expectantly at this point but appeared crestfallen at the stony silence of the assembled media.

“Oh hold on,” Mr Rudd said shuffling through his notes before finding a postit note marked spot.

“Fair dinkum, me ol’ China plates fair suck of the sav this is what you’d call, well, a full-on shit meteorological event.”

Again there was silence from the media pack, the only sound drifting across being the far off leaf blower being used to clear the mounds of dead bogan moths from Parliament’s outside light fixtures.

The new range of catchphrases follows the concerted attempt last month, spearheaded by Minister for Repetition Peter Garrett to label climate change as “dangerous climate change.”

Mr Garrett’s office has indicated they will be enhancing what they called a successful policy communication revamp by upgrading the phrase to “dangerous, anthropocentric, imminent, we’re-all-going-to-die, look-out-here-it-comes climate catastrophe”.

Due to the improving prospects of a rebound from the GFC, Treasurer Ken Henry is believed to have green-lighted departmental spokesperson Wayne Swan to talk about “light at the end of the tunnel” rather than “not out of the woods”.

Meanwhile academic observers who previously espoused the theory of the military-industrial complex and its public policy ramifications are now beginning to talk of the emergence of the marketing-promotional complex.

Talking point upgrades are now being issued across Government agencies hourly from the subterranean desks of chained functionaries in the fluorescent light buzzing basements of the Ministry of Verisimilitude, which previously under Howard Government was The Ministry of Denial.

Gleaming multi-storey PR consultancy offices have mushroomed around Capital Hill, like the encircling stainless steel and glass fronted encampments of an occupying army

Jostling for space, but much less ostentatiously, are the squat windowless laboratories of marketing researchers.

Unmarked black vans with darkened windows occasionally pull up at the concrete-bunker like structures and disgorge groups of blindfolded voters.

The subjects are quickly hustled into what are believed to be banks of focus-group session rooms.

Whether anyone ever emerges from these clumps of building, now unofficially called Spin Central, is unclear

However there are reports of police picking up apparently severely disoriented individuals stumbling next to the Hume Highway.

One was shown on the local news, mumbling dazed as if in trauma, what sounded to be the following: “Would you say Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s message on tackling the crisis in our hospitals has seemed to you very convincing, somewhat convincing or not that convincing?”

As today’s press conference was finishing the Prime Minister was asked how he had enjoyed his breakfast.

Mr Rudd looked somewhat taken aback and engaged in a quick conference with a media communication strategy advisor who had previously lurked, mostly unnoticed, at his elbow.

After a hurried whispered conversation Mr Rudd squarely faced up to the microphone.

“Let me say this unequivocally concerning the issue of breakfast satisfaction, I believe enjoyment of breakfast is something of great importance to Australians and I join with them in that conviction.”

The strategist was later overheard making the following remarks during a frantic phone call: “Toast or cereal? Get on this now.

“We have to find out what plays with the swinging, inner-outer suburban, aspirational, mid-level mortgage,  two-car,  family-of-four, part-time working mum.

“Eggs? Good god no, that’s too risky. Do you completely want to lose the socially-aware inner-urban vegan-social-morality-marker demographic ?

“Re: immigration, get our Asian community communication analysis unit to do some exploratory work on the impact favourability of the following phrase: ‘sweet and sour’. Yes, in Mandarin is OK.”

Most commented


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    • Eric says:

      07:50am | 04/11/09

      Regarding Rudd’s attempts to be unapologetically tough and unapologetically fair, the following link to a Sri Lankan news site is interesting.


      “A high official of the Australian government has arrived in Sri Lanka to explore the possibilities of recruiting around 200,000 unskilled workers from here. The aim was to stop the influx of illegal immigrants coming into their country in boats, Immigration and Emigration Commissioner P.B. Abeykoon told the Daily News yesterday.”

      Is this true?

      “It was an open secret that the LTTE and their agents were sponsoring people to migrate to Australia as asylum seekers. They charge them 1,500,000 rupees to send them in trawlers or deep sea fishing vessels. Later they also charge around 25 to 50 percent of their monthly earnings, another senior official said.”

      LTTE is a recognised terrorist group.

    • Joel B1 says:

      07:52am | 04/11/09

      ““perceived as an unfortunate conceptual misalignment”
      How anyone could admit voting for that clown is beyond me… As I see it the only rational defence is “He isn’t John Howard”

    • Liz says:

      08:03am | 04/11/09

      You mean Garrett is going to do somehting?

    • Betty says:

      08:32am | 04/11/09

      We haven’t seen or heard from Garrett over the oil spil disaster off WA. I thought he was supposed to be concerned about the environment? He always sang about it? But we do hear today that the Government is launching an inquiry into it. LOL

    • Rocky says:

      09:38am | 04/11/09

      Dave Southwell is the funniest journalist in Australia.

    • Garry says:

      09:52am | 04/11/09

      Mr Rudd has to be a lover of the UK comedy sitcom which included Sir Humphrey Appleby head of the civil service under Primeminister Hacker.  I consider myself moderately educated and I am still looking for the subtitles everytime Mr. Rudd speaks. And yes Mr Garrett, er where are you?

    • ShaneO says:

      09:57am | 04/11/09

      This piece is only SLIGHTLY exaggerated!

    • John A Neve says:

      10:16am | 04/11/09

      Does it really matter if we don’t understand what our pollies say?
      Most of the time they don’t full fill their promises any way.
      Pollie speak is the art of taking a long time to say nothing.

    • Steve says:

      10:54am | 04/11/09

      Rudd is a windbag. Being smart with words is all part of his little world of spin.

    • Louise says:

      10:59am | 04/11/09

      Very funny David!

      Eric, the PM needs to answer your question. Especially as their current excuse for buying votes is to save jobs.  Jobs for whom?

    • E says:

      11:16am | 04/11/09

      Yeah Eric, thats a great piece of info.

      Also the PM needs to answer a question about copenhagen. Part of the proposal (apparently) is to levy a 2% financial transaction tax (aka a Tobin Tax) to pay for stopping global warming. This doesnt sound all that bad in a current bank-bashing climate, but the fact is that Aussie banks get 50% of their funds to loan from overseas, attracting the 2% climate levy. So this international tax, if implemented, would add a couple of percent to the mortgage interest rate. I’d like to know if Rudd supports that.

      The PM is a victim of his education, hes of the school of thought that convincing people to believe something is the same as it actually being true. And that words create the world, and so by changing the words people use to describe their world, you actually change the world they are describing. Total nonsense of course.

    • bullwinkle says:

      11:26am | 04/11/09

      Love you work, David. “Good to be with you.”

    • Bill says:

      12:09pm | 04/11/09

      I voted for him, BUGGA!

    • Gaye says:

      12:48pm | 04/11/09

      Don’t worry Bill I did too, BUGGA!

    • Glen says:

      03:16pm | 04/11/09

      I didn’t vote for him, I’m innocent.

    • ShaneO says:

      03:24pm | 04/11/09

      Bill and Gaye; please don’t make the same mistake twice!

    • Timothy says:

      04:32pm | 04/11/09

      Nice work, laughed my arse off!
      He is the king of political popuarity manouvres, but still the best man for the job.

    • Clare says:

      05:02pm | 04/11/09

      What he said!

    • John says:

      05:04pm | 04/11/09

      That was hilarious.

    • Munt from Mosman says:

      09:20pm | 04/11/09

      Bring back Paul Keating ...

    • David Ward says:

      09:46pm | 05/11/09

      ... But don’t bring back John Howard. A Rudd-bot I can tolerate but not a mean and tricky rodent with an 11-year life span.

    • Not Rudd says:

      01:50am | 06/11/09

      Paul Keating said it best back in 2007 on Lateline when he said Rudd wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning until someone had done an opinion poll to find out which side was the most popular to get out on.

    • Finishbottle says:

      08:12am | 07/12/09

      Pass Alone,exist name inform man gain cost normal largely lot desire additional offence damage discussion responsible place painting including standard seat hang under settle growing earn separate liberal works attack hence show comparison discuss last mother employer criterion trade order emerge transport clearly image border great everybody much occur available thank excellent news gain little send structure statement begin choose row reduction reality me attempt form deputy breath concentration employ itself it rich expectation move and works friend agency works likely appeal action maybe plenty surround surprise however over instead


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