ONE word that transfixed a nation yesterday

FOR a brief point in time yesterday, record numbers of Australians suddenly stopped what they were doing to focus on our federal politicians in Canberra.

It was a historic moment.

Never before have so many Australians given a damn about politics.


Twitter was ablaze; Facebook was in meltdown; the experienced journalists in the Canberra press gallery were beside themselves.

Not because of the continuing fallout from a cruel and divisive budget.

It was not even revelations from the numerous commissions of inquiries going on around the country.

And it was not the fact that Treasurer Joe Hockey thinks you can get two beers for less than $7.

What stalled debate on the budget and sent veteran journalists rushing to their videos was a claim that Education Minister Christopher Pyne had called Opposition leader Bill Shorten a c…t in Parliament.

The video of the exchange was paused, slowed and rewound again and again all over the country.

And, I have to admit, it certainly sounded like he dropped the C-bomb – the last, truly forbidden swear word.

But the mild reaction of Mr Shorten and others around him was telling.

Schoolmarm Speaker Bronwyn Bishop hardly twitched: “The minister will refer to people by their correct name.”

But on social media it was: “He totally said the C-bomb!”

“Pot. Kettle,” someone else tweeted.

Cue the outrage of the outraged.

Reporters raced to Mr Pyne’s office where a rather confused assistant checked with his boss and came back to state he had in fact called Mr Shorten a grub. Not a c…t.

Mr Shorten said he also could not remember being called a c…t.

And you would remember something like that.

University linguists got into the act, studying the spectrogram of the sentence Mr Pyne uttered and coming to the conclusion the word was grub.

But by last night the video had gone viral and global on social media with many wishing their politicians would call each other names like that.

“Ed Miliband would win so many votes if he called Cameron a c…t,” said one English Twitter user.

So basically it is now going to be on the record forever that Mr Pyne said the C word.

What a way to end this week.

The Meddler

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