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Articles by Piers Kelly

Ballot papers by the balls

The strange rites that go on behind closed doors at the AEC.

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What’s in a name? For the Timorese, quite a lot

How to refer to our young neighbour to the north? Is it East Timor, Timor Lorosa’e or Timor-Leste? Gordon Peake and Piers Kelly investigate.

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Word of the year?

It’s been a helluva year so far. Three prime ministers, devastating bushfires, Clive Palmer. The Australian National Dictionary Centre wants help from the public to decide on a Word of the Year for 2013. It doesn’t need to have been coined in Australia and it doesn’t even need to be new. What they’re looking for [...]

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Jessica Mitford and a star-spangled language

In 1939, writer and activist Jessica Mitford learned that in America, “if someone pays you a compliment—you’re looking well, what a pretty dress, and so forth—you are supposed to say ‘Thank you,’ instead of just mumbling inaudibly.” Piers Kelly observes that in 70 years, certain differences between U.S. and British styles of communication have stood the test of time.

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Magic pudding economics

The Magic Pudding metaphor has become a mainstay of economic discourse in Australia. The idea of an ever-replenishing resource is too tempting a motif to pass up. But how recent is it? Piers Kelly looks back through the annals of Australian political discourse to find its earliest use, and finds some surprising sub-plots.

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Commenting or commentating on the polls

The prime minister doesn’t ‘commentate’ on opinions polls. Or should that be ‘comment’? Piers Kelly investigates the history of these distinct meanings.

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Improvising in Spanish

Recently spotted on Lamebook:  

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Lingua Franca

Piers Kelly writes: I’m on Lingua Franca this Saturday talking about Fully (sic) and why it’s … fully sick (and reading this post). I’m afraid that under pressure I revert to a monotone, like cornered prey trying to blend in with in with the sound of the circling wasps. For best results, I suggest you [...]

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Down with detailed programmatic specificity

In case anyone missed it, here’s the HappyLittleVegemiteKR clip that’s been doing the rounds: It seems the Courier Mail was the first to get hold of the story and described it hilariously as a “tax-payer funded video”. (Yeah, Kev, if you want to swear at the camera do it on your own dime.) There’s nothing [...]

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When will Teresa Gambaro assimilate?

Piers Kelly scrìvi: Ridiculing Teresa Gambaro is no fun at all. Her advice to immigrants, first on hygiene and last week on how to avoid racist slurs by learning English, are so elegantly moronic as stand on their own comic merit. It’s as if Gambaro is a kind of dead-pan performance artist, with some pundits doing [...]

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Womens Agenda

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Smart Company

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StartupSmart

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Property Observer

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