"This nation was built on a cup of tea, a Bex, and a good lie-down. "


"Supermarkets stand condemned as symbols of man's inhumanity to women."


"I love this ripper country
Of funnel-webs and sharks,
With blowies big as eagles,
Where your car gets booked by narks,
Where your team gets trounced each Saturday,
And the pubs run out of beer,
Where there's redbacks on the toilet seat
And you're nagged by Germaine Greer."

PHILLIP, ADAMS - proposed words for an Australian national anthem, the Australian 7 July 1973

"Trees are very good friends. Firm friends. My five year old's tree could be relied upon to be there next day, uncritical and protective. And think of trees' contribution to our lives. They provide boats, buildings, paper, furniture and, for clog-wearers, footwear. As well as contributing toothpicks and chopsticks they give little birdies somewhere comfy to sit. Best of all, they help produce breathable air and lock up that naughty carbon. Why is why I am talking to the Greens about giving trees the vote."

PHILLIP, ADAMS - Trees of life

"It's not for nothing that dog is god backwards. Perhaps He put them on Earth to keep an eye on us, to appeal to the better angels of our being. Perhaps they are angels, wingless and furry ones. With fleas."

PHILLIP, ADAMS - Dog is love

"I regard dogs and trees as superior beings to humans. Trees are reliable and beautiful. They give us shade, timber and oxygen - and the paper on which our books and this journal are published. And, unless set ablaze by terrorist arsonists with WMD's that come in a matchbox, they also store carbon. Give trees citizenship, I say. Give 'em the vote. Governments of oaks, elms and eucalypts would be a huge improvement."

PHILLIP, ADAMS - Dog is love

"The most intense hatreds are not between political parties but within them. "


"This nation was built on a cup of tea, a Bex, and a good lie-down."

PHILLIP, ADAMS - The Unspeakable Adams

"It is greatly to Australia's credit that we are a mongrel nation. None of that Aryan or ethnic purity for us. We benefit from hybrid vigour. Every race and religion - as mixed up as the flora in our multi-horticultural society."

PHILLIP, ADAMS - Dog is love

"Fair Australia, Oh what a dump.
All you get to eat is crocodile's rump,
Bandicoot's brains and catfish pie.
Let me go home again before I die."

ANON, ANON - Old Bush Ballad

"Damn the teamsters, damn the track,
Damn Coolgardie, there and back,
Damn the goldfields, damn the weather,
Damn the bloody country altogether."

ANON, ANON - a Western Australian prospector's toast

"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour."


"It may be that your sole purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others. "


"Before you criticise someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you're a mile away and have their shoes. "


"No one has ever gone blind... looking at the bright side of life."


"If it moves, shoot it; if it doesn't chop it down."

ANON, ANON - National motto of Australians

"Australian Humour. It's different and baked by a Bigger Sun. "


"Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once. "


"A Platypus is a duck designed by a committee. "


"If one has the ability to drink oneself into an alcoholic stupor without falling flat on one's face in front of one's mates, one apparently has then achieved the true blue hallmark of excellence of today's dinky-di Aussie."


"Professor Clark says Barry McKenzie probably represents more Australian men than we realise. 'He's the smart aleck, crude chap with a great gift of the gab but not the slightest bit of interest in romantic love. His only interest is in how to get in.'"

THE, AUSTRALIAN 12 April 1973 -

"Politics is just like being mixed up with a bad woman. You know it's not a good idea, but you just can't let it go. "


"Winning needs no explanation, losing has no alibi. "


"Never was a continent naturally so clean, and made so dirty, as Australia. There was not an animal pest, scarcely a vegetable pest; fools and the old world supplied them all."

RANDOLPH, BEDFORD - Naught to Thirty-three

"For we have here a beautiful land that none could e'er knock down,
The brightest jewel that ever was known in dear old George's crown;
The brightest jewel that ever was known and never can be a failure.
Although the damn Labor party is doing its best to ruin Australia..."


"Australians should not boast of the virtues they haven't got, when there are so many they have."


"Privilege could be as harmful to the future welfare of Aborigines as discrimination."


"Nationalism is both a vital medicine and a dangerous drug. "


"When you play test cricket, you don't give the Englishmen an inch. Play it tough, all the way. Grind them into the dust. "


"It is better to be defeated on principle than to win on lies. "


"This is a life sentence that not even Houdini can escape from."


"It is long accepted by the missionaries that morality is inversely proportional to the amount of clothing people wore. "


"The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy. "


"It's no good crying over spilt milk; all we can do is bail up another cow. "


"A Man of Business is one who becomes possessed of other people's money, without bringing himself under the power of the law. "


"Counting your blessings is a better cure for insomnia than counting sheep - you can fall asleep before you get through half of them."


"If something goes wrong, it is my fault - if something goes right, it is not my fault."


"When God knocked off one night, said He -
'This earth's a rotten failure;
How to improve it? Let me see...
Next day he made Australia."


"God bless America. God save the Queen. God defend New Zealand and thank Christ for Australia."


"We cultivated our land, but in a way different from the white man. We endeavoured to live with the land; they seemed to live off it. "


"To be the most loved woman - I won't say in the world - but to be adored as I am is a responsibility. I wear it lightly, but I mustn't abuse it. I have to check self-abuse very carefully and rigorously."


"Quite frankly, Karl, I was beginning to feel a little bit tired. You wouldn't think so to look at me - lively, animated, all my gynaecological reports are very positive. In fact, my gynaecologist said just the other day, 'Thumbs up Edna.'"

DAME EDNA , EVERAGE - on the reason behind the decision to retire

"Select some sound hearts. Be careful not to bruise them with unfeeling words. Take of milk of human kindness one heartful. Add to this plenty of tact. Warm the mixture with sympathy. Do not let it get too hot at first, lest it only ferment mischief. Knead with plenty of oil of unselfishness to make all smooth. Beware of jars (lovely wording). The mixture should be kept in a warm corner of the heart.
Years only serve to improve the flavour of friends thus preserved"

DAME EDNA , EVERAGE - A Recipe for Happiness

"Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century. "


"I'm an immensely shy and vulnerable woman. My husband has never seen me naked. Nor has he expressed the least desire to do so. "


"In the early days, I was mousy, timid, extremely reticent and above all vulnerable... Then I grew in confidence and authority. I felt I had something to tell the audience, though I didn't know what it was. So I told them about themselves. I described my own home and people listened and they said, 'We know that house, we know that Laminex, we know that lava lamp, we know that picture on the wall, the Chinese girl with the green tinted face. We've got that.' And slowly they began to feel that where they lived was not such a boring place after all because I had enshrined it in a work of art."


"It's been a journey. It began in Melbourne and I'll be achieving closure in Melbourne with this beautiful show. But it will linger in people's minds, like a virus."

DAME EDNA , EVERAGE - on calling it a day

"Hello possums!"

DAME EDNA , EVERAGE - catchcry

"Being Dame Edna Everage is not without it burdens. To be the most loved woman - I won't say in the world - but to be as adored as I am is a responsibility. I wear it lightly, but I mustn't abuse it. I have to check self-abuse very carefully and rigorously."

DAME EDNA , EVERAGE - on calling it a day

"My mother used to say that there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet. She's now in a maximum security twilight home in Australia. "


"Superstars may come and go
But there's no other
That folks identify with their own mother,
To think there's people in this room
Who wish they'd sprung out of my womb
That's what my public means to me."


"Past happiness is an elusive thing, isn't it, Possums? And recapturing it as hard as picking up mercury off a carpet."

DAME EDNA , EVERAGE - Making and Preserving Friends, My Gorgeous Life

"The truth is always libellous."


"Milestones are nice to celebrate, if only because you're still alive."

MAX, GILLIES - on his approaching 70th birthday

"All our best heroes are losers. "


"Notwithstanding, if you are poor in the You Beaut country, it is your fault."

GERMAINE, GREER - Sun-Herald 23 January 1972

"When you left The Lodge, did you get your bond back? "

NORMAN, GUNSTON - to John Gorton

"Is this a travesty of justice? Is this an affront to democracy? (Crowd roars, ?YES!") Oh. Ok. I was just curious. "

NORMAN, GUNSTON - to crowd on steps of Parliament house during Gough Whitlam Dismissal

"The best way to help the poor is not to become one of them. "


"No man is so gullible when it comes to a bit of bulldust sprinkled on the old national ethos than the Australian, who really believes the sun shines nowhere else except out of his arse and his beer is really the best."

FRANK, HARDY - The Outcasts of Foolgarah

"My guess is that most Australians today would vote for Babe. A piglet who dreams of being a statesmanlike sheepdog. Who merely by asking politely, can lead the electorate two by two through the gate where the grass is always greener."


"The Government claims that it's following the will of the people. I didn't even know we'd died."


"Most journalists of my generation died early, succumbing to one or other of the two great killers in the craft - cirrhosis or terminal alimony."


"A determined soul will do more with a rusty monkey wrench than a loafer will accomplish with all the tools in a machine shop. "


"We want to create a sort of linguistic Lourdes, where evil and misfortune are dispelled by a dip in the waters of euphemism. "


"My man, I don't want justice, I want mercy. "

BILLY, HUGHES - to his portrait painter

"Nothing they design ever gets in the way of a work of art. "


"It's an old Aboriginal word meaning 'Let's get together and have fun'. They gave us the word because they had no further need for it."

BARRY, HUMPHRIES - On the meaning of the word 'Moomba'

"I think that I could never spy
A poem as lovely as a pie
A banquet in a single course
Blushing with red tomato sauce
A pie whose crust is oven kissed
Whose gravy scalds the eater's wrist
The pastie and the sausage roll
Have not thy brown mysterious soul
The dark hues aborigine
Is less indigenous than thee;
As round and rich as Zara
As tasteful as Patrick White
With a glass of purple para
You're the great Australian bite."

BARRY, HUMPHRIES - Piece in the Form of a Meat Pie

"The past is so reliable, so delightful and the best place to live."


"Why do we love Australia
Why does it haunt us still
We've got so much on our plate here
The world wants to emigrate here
And one day I'm afraid they will
But still we all love Australia
Whatever Australia may be
Let our voices swell with pride
We are extremely satisfied
Australia you're the land for me."

BARRY, HUMPHRIES - Song of Australia

"I drift along, thinking about the past a great deal. The past is so reliable, so delightful, and the best place to live. I end up there quite often, you know; it's very comfortable and dependable."

BARRY, HUMPHRIES - on himself

"Friendship is tested in the thick years of success rather than in the thin years of struggle."


"I love Australia - I think."

BARRY, HUMPHRIES - Bazza Mackenzie

"I'll tell you where the dead heart of Australia is. It's right back there in the cities. Not out in the sand and the mulga and the stones burning hot under the sun."


"As a work of art, it reminds me of a long conversation between two drunks. "


"I have outlived that care that curries public favour or dreads the public frown - let the hand of law strike me down if it will, but I ask that my story be heard and considered. "


"There are no limits, love, there are no limits."


"Always back the horse named self-interest, son. It'll be the only one trying. "


"We shall never be understood or respected by the English until we carry our individuality to extremes, and by asserting our independence, become of sufficient consequence in their eyes to merit a closer study than they have hitherto accorded us. "


"I've never seen anyone rehabilitated by punishment. "


"Cacocracy - Governmental rule by the worst, the least able, the most unsuitable, despicable and incompetent people. EG: The two tramps sat on the park bench and agreed that if they were in government they would make a hash of it and cause the country to fall into despair, dysfunction, stupidity and a squalid quagmire of petty conflict. 'Lucky we're not in charge of the country mate' said one of the tramps as he swigged from his bottle, 'the system would end up being a bloody cacocracy.'"

MICHAEL, LEUNIG - Word of the Day

"I saw the Bird of Paradox perching in a tree. "Nothing much," it said and that meant nothing much to me."


"Australia is now a nation. We are entitled to call ourselves a nation because we owe several billion pounds abroad and are among the highest taxed people in the world."

LENNIE, LOWER - A New Look at Cook

"The colonial twang was never at the beginning anything better than the twang of Cockney vulgarity. We imported it long before rabbits, sparrows, snails and other British nuisances were grafted on our budding civilisation."

JOHN, MADDEN - The Bulletin 1894

"It's no fun to be a bluestocking in a family of jockstraps."


"Opera is like a day in parliament: love, lust, murder and betrayal, but all in song."


"We are all expatriates here, living an expatriate life in the middle of Alf-land."

CRAIG, McGREGOR - Don't Talk to Me About Love

"Alf is always someone else, the bloke in the bungalow, Fred down the road, dead from the neck up, a talking beer gut from the neck down."

CRAIG, McGREGOR - Politics and Pop

"Australia? She's the You Beaut Country. It's so You Beaut even Olsen has to get out of it every year or so."

CRAIG, McGREGOR - Don't Talk to Me About Love

"Don't come the raw prawn with me! "


"I'll bet each of these conflicting allegations about me comes from an 'unimpeachable source.'"

SIR ROBERT, MENZIES - The Wit of Sir Robert Menzies

"Men of genius are not to be analysed by commonplace rules. The rest of us who have been or are leaders, more commonplace in our quality, will do well to remember two things. One is never to forget posterity when devising a policy. The other is never to think of posterity when making a speech. "


"Never take any notice of anonymous letters, unless you get a few thousand on the same subject."


"One thing about bureaucrats is that they never swallow their young. Leave them alone and you'll find them increasing every year."


"Shakespeare wrote on the Seven Ages of Man, but he didn't write of the Seven Ages of Woman. He couldn't find an age that any woman would admit to."

FREDERICK J, MILLS - Square Dinkum

"A candidate for Parliament has to undergo the pain and ignominy of standing. What does he stand for? He stands for a seat in Parliament; he stands, that is, in order that he may sit. If he succeeds, he becomes your 'sitting member'; sitting is a synonym for success."


"The difference between a stupid man and a wise one is the stupid man's inability to calculate the consequences of the action. The same goes for government. "


"It is expecting too much for a politician to be sincerely interested in the free flow of information."


"These are after all, the provinces, with their complex family feuds reeking of long-time bitterness, and constantly refreshed venoms. On every hand matriarchal and patriarchal domination drives ageing spinsters to decorate sponge cakes for skinny vicars, and middle-aged bachelors to gin-tippling or cat-keeping, or the embroidering of supper cloths. Eccentricity is more noticeable because, one supposes, there are fewer people. There is however, much shrugging-of-the-shoulder acceptance, much closed-circuit forbearance. Stones are thrown tribally; an outsider attempting to throw stones would himself be very smartly stoned."

HAL, PORTER - Hal Porter's Australia

"Encourage your people to be committed to a project rather than just involved in it. You know the difference between involvement and commitment don't you? In a meal of bacon and eggs, the chicken is involved, the pig is committed. "


"Its like the axe that's had two new blades and three new handles but otherwise is just as it was when grandfather bought it. "


"The bigger the hat, the smaller the property. "


"Dog must not steal from dog. "


"There is only one place for any fur coat, and that is on the back of an animal."

PETER, SINGER - on the row over a leopard skin given to the Governor-General, 1982

"I am sure that a lot of busy people would like to read that book [The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey] but they just don't have the time."


"I love a sunburnt kingdom
A land of sheepish brains
Of rugged online retail
Of banks and credit drains

I love her Chinese apples
Her flooding foreign debt
Her shrinking sovereign ownership
Why change her style just yet?"

JOHN, SPOONER - My Lifestyle

"What a fine bunch of people we are, so criminally unrepresented by our politicians. We have to find some way to let this beautiful humanity of ours steer the course of the country."

MAGDA, SZUBANSKI - Magda's funeral at the Melbourne Writers' Festival

"How do you navigate around Australia in a 16 foot boat? You just keep Australia on the left."


"The best renewable energy is between the ears of young people."


"I don't like waiting in airports for my bags. Even worse, I don't like waiting in airports when my bags are lost. "


"Bugger the Whitlams... I'm a bit tired of all the adulation. He's almost reached the beatification stage. I suppose canonisation will come, with the obituaries."

MARGARET, WHITLAM - in 1975 when she thought Gough was getting too much uncritical adulation