The Guardian • Issue #2085


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2085
Weasel Words heading

Class warfare

For people who like pretending that classes and the class system aren’t a thing, Australian centrists and conservatives really like invoking ‘class war’ and ‘class warfare’ whenever there’s any attempt, however feeble, to make the class system in Australia less unfair. Readers with long memories might remember Julia Gillard as Education Minister ‘ending’ class war by guaranteeing funding for private schools. Now it’s David Littleproud’s turn. The leader of the National Party is ropable at the prospect of slightly less unfair Stage 3 tax cuts, and says it’s “class warfare.” If only. There’s always class warfare going on in this country. Right now the National Party’s paymasters are doing alright.

Littleproud also says that $190 grand a year is “not a lot”, so we’re looking forward to a $190 thousand dollar donation to our Press Fund. After all, it’s not a lot.

Disparagement (thinly disguised)

Readers! Have you ever disparaged something by not being super-enthusiastic about it? Nick Cater, columnist for Murdoch’s The Australian thinks that’s what Woolworths did by not having a special section for ‘Australia Day’-themed Australian flag sandals and towels. Woolies had already explained that people weren’t buying the stuff in great numbers, and implied that they’re in business to make money (as their long-suffering customers,staff, and suppliers know all too well) but to no avail. Cater had jumped on the culture war bandwagon and was breaking through the thin disguise of Woolworth’s hatred of invasion-celebration.

Woolworths doesn’t sell Lamborghini sports cars either, so we look forward to Cater exposing their Lamborghini-phobia and anti-Italianism.


Former PM Scott Morrison, the man behind the obscene AUKUS submarine spend, says he’s finally leaving parliament for new challenges. In the weasly sense of challenge (making anything at all that you do sound like you’re off to climb K-2 blindfold), he may be right. In non-weasel language, as a noun, a challenge is a difficult but worthy thing. It’s also a popular euphemism for events, people or jobs which are a pain in the neck. ‘Challenge’ can also make the dullest gig sound a bit like you’re off to run an ultramarathon. Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison, having stuffed up or avoided challenges galore while in office, has finally found someone willing to employ him outside parliament, with a stress on defence. There’s no news on what he’ll actually do. Finding out what Morrison did was a genuine challenge during the bushfires too.

Genuine (tax reform)

Two weasel words for the price of one here! ‘Reform’ is a famously weaselly way of making any political change sound positive, no matter how awful it really is. ‘Genuine’ is something you say when you aren’t, as in ‘genuine savings.’  Together, they’re weaselly squared, or something like that.

For the Australian Financial Review, the newspaper that tells you what the ruling class would like to see, ‘genuine tax reform’ means, among other things, taxing people up to 18 thousand dollars a year so as to ‘ease the burden’ on people who’ve got more than that. Taxing the poor so as to make life easier for the non-poor is genuine something, that’s for sure. Try not to step in any.

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