Patricia Greig: Unparliamentary language banned from use during debates

By Patricia Greig

'Shut up yourself, you great ape' is a phrase banned from Parliament debates. Photo / NZ Herald
'Shut up yourself, you great ape' is a phrase banned from Parliament debates. Photo / NZ Herald

Fast times in Parliament usually end in heated debates, but not everything goes in terms of what can be said.

Insults, "unbecoming" language and accusations of dishonesty are banned, according to a list on the New Zealand Parliament website, but we're seriously considering getting some of these phrases back into circulation in the newsroom.

Some of our favourites include the 1936 term "Fungus Farmer" which may have been rude in 1936 but is a perfectly legitimate occupation today.

Another favourite is the 1949 banned phrase "His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides."

Have a read of (and a laugh at) this selection of 'unparliamentary language' from the indexes of the New Zealand Parliamentary Debates, you hypnotised rabbit.

1933
Blow-fly minded
Financial Frankenstein
Shrewd old bird

1936
Fungus farmer
Pipsqueak
Stonewalling

1943
Members hated the sight of khaki
Retardate worm

1946
Clown of the House
Idle vapourings of a mind diseased
I would cut the honourable gentleman's throat if I had the chance
Quasi-parsonical
Skite

1949
His brains could revolve inside a peanut shell for a thousand years without touching the sides
Hoey
Humbugs
Hypnotised rabbits

1954
Bluebird

1957
Kind of animal that gnaws holes
Trained seals

1959
Kookaburra
Member not fit to lick the shoes of the Prime Minister

1963
Energy of a tired snail returning home from a funeral
Member a vicious woman
Sits on his behind

1966
Labour Party is dominated by an outside body
Shut up yourself, you great ape
Snotty nosed little boy
You are a cheap little twerp
Ridiculous mouse

1969
Commo (allowed)
Duck shoving
Like a snail leaves a slime behind him

1974
Scuttles for his political funk hole (allowed)
Soft-soaping (allowed)
Could go down the Mount Eden sewer and come up cleaner than he went in
Dreamed the bill up in the bath
Greasy hands
Grubby little man
Intestinal fortitude
Low style
Mealy mouthed
Slinking off to another part of the House
Frustrated warlord

1977
John Boy
Silly old moo
Racist
Sober up

1980
Ayatollah
Ditch the bitch
Fascist dictator
Heil Zeig
Marxist or neo-Marxist
Member for Pretoria
Merv the Swerve
Papanui Parrot
Quigley Wiggly
The Arapawa Goat

- NZ Herald

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