In their own words


“Disappointing.” — A spokesperson for federal energy minister Martin Ferguson commenting on October 15 on the failure of the PTTEP drilling company to stop an oil leak off the north-west coast that has been emitting at least 400 barrels of petroleum a day since August 24.

Either you’re with Obama or you’re with the terrorists

“The Republican Party has thrown in its lot with the terrorists — the Taliban and Hamas — this morning in criticising the president for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.” — US Democratic Party national communications director Brad Woodhouse.

War is peace

“I don’t expect that we’ll see any major changes in the negotiations over how to deal with the Afghanistan war.” — Kristin Lord, a US expert on international diplomacy, commenting on the awarding of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama and negotiations between the White House and the Pentagon over the US military’s request for an extra 40,000-60,000 US troops for the war in Afghanistan.

Psy-war operation needed

“[US/NATO] personnel must be seen as guests of the Afghan people and their government, not an occupying army.” — August 30 memo to the White House from US General Stanley McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, requesting up to 45,000 additional occupation troops.

As usual

“The lunatics are in charge of the asylum and they’ve got the keys to the drug cabinet.” — A federal Liberal MP on Liberal opponents of Malcolm Turnbull, quoted in the Sydney Morning Herald, October 1.

Ought to be committed

“The Labor Party went to the last election with a commitment to maintain a system of mandatory detention and offshore processing on Christmas Island for all irregular maritime arrivals, and these commitments are being met.” — Federal immigration minister Chris Evans, responding to a report of the human rights commissioner pointing out that the Labor government hasn’t ended the Howard government practice of jailing refugees who arrive by boat, contrary to Australia’s international treaty obligations.


“Mr. [Gordon] Brown has always supported this process and will cooperate fully and make the necessary repayment.” — The British New Labour prime minister’s office, after a review found Brown had charged taxpayers £12,415 too much for cleaning and gardening at his second house.


“We are very focused on what is going on in the world.” — David Viniar, chief financial officer of the Goldman Sachs bank in the US, which a year ago was rescued with billions of dollars in government hand-outs, defending its plan to distribute US$5.35 billion in bonuses to executives this year.

In all modesty

“I believe there is no one in history to whom I should feel inferior.” — Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.