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We're told we're a nation divided by deep differences and disagreements. So in the wake of the unsuccessful Voice referendum is there any hope Australians can agree on anything?
Apparently not, according to the latest breaking news...
A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT push to adopt the phrase "Bee's Dick" as the official term of measurement for any length below one-tenth of a millimetre seems doomed to fail, with a new poll revealing an overwhelming 64 per cent of Australians preferring to stick with the traditional "smidgen". Only 25 per cent of those polled supported the government's proposal, while 11 per cent cited "a Tad", "a Poofteenth" and "Diddley Squat" as alternatives. Opposition leader Peter Dutton described government support for "Bee's Dick" as "a mistake of ginormous and even humungous proportions".
RIVAL PROTEST GROUPS clashed across the country yesterday amid a fiery national debate over whether household items with names you momentarily forget should be referred to as "Thingamajigs" or "Thingamabobs". Several polls show Australians are split 50-50 on the issue. But the High Court is likely to have the final say, with the Confederation Of Roberts lodging a legal challenge claiming "Thingamabob" was demeaning and discriminatory. "A 'Bob' is a person with dreams and ambitions like everyone else," said a spokesman. "A 'Bob' is not a spatula or wrench or any other thingamajig or whatsitcalled."
THE FEDERATED UNION of Teachers has banned teaching the method of division in high school mathematics, claiming "it is time to eliminate activities that actively encourage society to divide and be broken up into smaller parts". But the decision, while welcomed by an enormous number of students, was condemned by mathematicians who want division retained "because if you subtract it, things don't add up".
A RULING BY the Union of Television and Radio Newsreaders to ban difficult-to-pronounce words including "peculiarly", "rural", "colloquialism" and "Worcestershire" has divided the nation. SBS viewers overwhelmed the public broadcaster's switchboard last night demanding to know if the decision meant they would no longer hear news from the Welsh village of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, sports results from the Hawaiian community of Kaumalapau or weather forecasts for Greenland's municipality of Qeqertarsuatsiaat. The Association of Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists said it would protest against the move by reverting to the organisation's original title, the Association of Occupational Otorhinolaryngologists.
PRIME MINISTER ANTHONY Albanese is under pressure to apologise after supporting moves by the United Nations' International Dough Topping Standards Committee to ban pineapple as a pizza ingredient. Albanese told Parliament he was proud of his Australian-Italian heritage and that blending pineapple with melted cheese was "a wretched bastardisation of everything pizzas represent. It's a food crime comparable to microwaved eggs or injecting tomato sauce under the lid of a meat pie instead of smearing it across the top." Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Albanese had signed the death warrant for thousands of jobs in the Queensland pineapple industry. "The PM is out of touch," Dutton said. "Albanese and his inner-city mates think pizza is about prosciutto, goat cheese and truffle oil. But three-quarters of Australians rank the Hawaiian just behind the ham, egg and cheese-loaded Aussie as their favourite."
ROAD SAFETY EXPERTS are opposing a trial of new roadside signs in the Australian Capital Territory aimed at being "more user-friendly for Australian drivers''. The controversial signs advise motorists wanting to suddenly change direction to "Chuck A Random U-EE Here" while others such as "Don't Drive If You're Full as a Goog" and "Bog Standard Bingle Ahead: Brake Suddenly If You Want to Have a Good Squiz at This Dog's Breakfast" have also been condemned as confusing. An ACT spokesperson denied the signs would bewilder drivers unfamiliar with Australian jargon, claiming they were modelled on a recent successful initiative by motel owners to scrap neon "No Vacancy" signs in favour of "Currently Chockers".
BUDGET AIRLINE JETSTAR has been threatened with industrial action and faces weeks of public demonstrations as backlash grows against its decision to remove armrests from planes because of safety concerns. The carrier claimed a study of physical altercations on its planes over the past year indicated 74 per cent were caused by passengers sitting in the middle seat and thrusting out both elbows on to the adjoining armrests. In a rare show of unity, Jetstar customers who said they identify as window and aisle seat passengers joined forces at several major airport protests yesterday, demanding the carrier reinstall its armrests and impose harsher penalties on "that overly smug 33 per cent in our community who create division by occupying the middle ground".
HAVE YOUR SAY: Pineapple on pizza - food crime or work of genius? Thingamajigs or Thingamabobs? Bee's Dick or Smidgen? What words do you find difficult to pronounce? Do you have a favourite Australian slang word or phrase like "full as a goog" that you rarely hear these days? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
- While AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw fronted a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra, some of his most senior officers were planning a series of carefully coordinated raids to dismantle what they say is one of the country's biggest money-laundering operations. The "go" decision came early on Wednesday morning when police raided offices and expensive homes across Melbourne and around the country to dismantle an alleged huge money-laundering operation worth $229 million over the past three years.
- One of Australia's biggest automakers has teamed with a Melbourne firm to develop ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle electric vehicle batteries when they start to run out of puff. Kia Australia announced its partnership with Infinitev on Thursday, in a deal the companies said could "preserve valuable resources" and address a sustainability sticking point in the industry.
- Australia has blocked the export of hand tools to Russia, including for milling and screw driving on top of nuclear reactors. Sanctions on machinery and related goods also include tools used to drill, press, stamp, punch or press, as well as television and sound recorders.
THEY SAID IT: "The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane." - Mark Twain
YOU SAID IT: Albanese's state visit to Washington was not exactly the best timing. And he couldn't shake the demeanour of a fanboy rather than a statesman.
"John's editorial summary on Albanese is spot on," writes Jennifer. "While Albanese is not a showman, nor a salesman, or even a good speaker, he and his government have done a lot of good in international affairs, all of which impacts on our domestic security and economics. These impacts need to be recognised. Additionally, the government mustn't forget to focus (both practically and vocally) on the different groups of people suffering here. Others besides Clare O'Neil must highlight Dutton's border/immigration failures. They need to stop allowing him to set the narrative, by just reacting to him and other detractors. Albanese's team needs to lead the nation, so it's not left up to him to be the spokesperson, as this is not his forte. They need to be more vocal in his absence as well as when he's here, showing they're in charge of all domestic affairs."
John writes: "Your article backs up what I have said since Albo's election: an ordinary bloke who is way out of his depth, especially when overseas."
"I think you are too kind about @KneesieMP," writes Christopher. "I refuse to call the man Albo as though he's some kind of friend or bloke round the corner. If he were either we'd have ceased to be on speaking terms fairly soon after the Labor government became spineless after the election. Secret NACC, corroborating the awful AUKUS, not immediately scuttling stage three tax cuts and refusing to do the right thing about about income security, letting the Reserve Bank get away with punishing the wrong people for inflation, doing nothing about the continuance of COVID amongst us killing thousands without a bleep, continuing the shocking school funding disparity ... the list goes on. Pathetic, servile, obsequious wimp leading a government that declared its right-wing views by having Marles as deputy leader."
"Fair suck of the sauce bottle, John," writes Susan. "I'm a supporter of who does the best job in politics and Albo had a lot of darning to do. Internationally, he seems to have genuinely cut through with many world leaders and we all have to live as citizens of the world now. Economies are rocking and rolling all over the world now - his job is a hard gig. But at least he comes through as genuinely trying and decent. If not him, who? I'm a floating voter."
John from Newcastle is not as charitable. "Albo more reminds me of the Warner Bros Looney Tunes character, Elmer J.Fudd. Mr Albanese may have got himself into the leadership role of prime minister, but his handling of the Voice referendum, climate change emergency and the AUKUS submarine debacle shows that he is no leader. Thankfully, he does have some competent ministers around him to prop him up."
Alan writes: "Harry Potter-esque is a very apt analogy of Albo. Harry was a person who was initially out of his depth and pushed well beyond his self-perceived capabilities ... but even Harry won in the end; once he grew up. Australian PMs generally feel over-awed when they find themselves being allowed to play with the grown-ups. ScoMo was a cringe-inducing case in point. The world doesn't really regard us as of being of much significance but politely invites along just to give us a semblance of inclusion that isn't really considered. It only wants our raw materials and strategic positioning, not us for ourselves."
"Wonderful!" writes Sue. "I thought an earlier reference to Harry Potter provided a delightful visual of Albo but you have surpassed it with the cosplay reference. Australia's image probably does need quite a bit of work at present which would require some personal presence, but it might be better for Albo to spend more time on what is happening at home, to head overseas a little less frequently and to take Penny Wong, who has more presence and gravitas, with him."
Bob writes: "Yes, 'Airbus Albo" is spending way too much time away from his desk. Many more important things to do than travel the world (along with an army of bureaucrats) at taxpayers' expense, cost of living and inflation problems being at the top of the in-tray."