The best quotes of 2012

Doug Conway reviews Australia's year in the words of those who made the news.


''When I saw the boys running towards me in rugby league, I ran the other way and never looked back. This eventually led to the opening of an envelope in Los Angeles and winning an Oscar.'' - Australian of the Year Geoffrey Rush on how school sport turned him towards a successful career in acting.

''A man selfless in the face of threat, courageous in the face of terror, generous in the face of suffering and humble in the face of an honour bestowed.'' - Governor General Quentin Bryce presents Corporal Daniel Keighran with the Victoria Cross.

''She wasn't impressed to start with.'' - Corporal Keighran on his wife's reaction to him braving enemy fire in Afghanistan.

''The work has to be good, which knocks out about 95 per cent of them.'' - Steve Peters, head storeman of the NSW Art Gallery, on picking the Archibald Packing Room Prize.



''It is corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps.'' - Geoffrey Watson SC, counsel assisting a corruption inquiry involving former NSW Labor ministers.

''A little over 13 years ago, Brooking J commenced a judgment with the statement 'Titus Oates was the greatest perjurer that ever lived'. Self-evidently, his honour was not the trial judge in the present proceeding.'' - Victorian Supreme Court Justice David Beach, criticising businessman Geoffrey Edelsten and an American woman as unreliable witnesses.

''Australia's most wanted man is behind bars.'' - NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione announces the capture of Malcolm Naden after seven years on the run.

''When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons?'' - A tweet from Rupert Murdoch in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting in which 26 people were killed.

''I suspect they will find the courage when Fox News enthusiastically campaigns for it.'' - Opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull responds to Murdoch.


''Enough is enough. Your ill-considered action is now also causing media attention and jeopardising the lives of the family.'' - Mining magnate Gina Rinehart (above) pleads with three of her four children to not pursue legal action against her over the family trust.

''I have all the bad things about having money and none of the good things.'' - Rinehart's son John Hancock.

''This case has been nothing but a destructive display of greed, jealousy and a selfish sense of entitlement on behalf of my siblings.'' - Ginia Rinehart, the youngest child and supporter of Gina Rinehart.

''If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.'' - Gina Rinehart issues a stern rebuke to Australians.


''Speak English or die.'' - A bus passenger verbally abuses a young French woman on a Melbourne bus, in a tirade that went viral after it was posted on YouTube.

''It was meant to be a silly little prank.'' - 2Day FM presenter Mel Greig on a royal hoax which fooled a London nurse who later took her own life.

''The naked negativity, the carping criticism, the assassination of character that now seems to pass for normal behaviour is a scourge both within and between parties.'' - The United Church's Reverend Brian Brown reflects on politics in his 2012 Easter message.

''I don't quite like it when I hear politicians reassuring the Indians there's no racism in Australia. That's bulls--t.'' - Neurosurgeon Dr Charlie Teo claims racism is still alive in Australia.

''The US risks dragging us all into a dark, repressive world in which journalists live under fear of prosecution.'' - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a rare public appearance on the balcony of the embassy of Ecuador in London.

''The closest person to a saint, frankly, in my view.'' - Network Ten chairman Lachlan Murdoch on the death of his grandmother, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, one of Australia's great philanthropists.


''Here's the rub: You don't own the minerals, I don't own the minerals. Governments only sell you the right to mine the resource - a resource we hold in trust for a sovereign people.'' - Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a speech to the Minerals Council.

''Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.'' - The British Culture Committee criticising News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch in its report into phone hacking at the News of the World.

''There is no question in my mind, maybe even the editor, but certainly beyond, that someone took charge of a cover-up which we were victim to and I regret.'' - Mr Murdoch points the finger elsewhere.


''If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia … he needs a mirror.''

- Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Tony Abbott in parliament.

''I won't stand by and let others claim that the man I love, and the father my children adore, has some agenda against women.''

- Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's wife, Margie, stands by her man.

''I did nothing wrong.'' - Julia Gillard on criticisms of her actions as a lawyer for AWU officials in the 1990s.

''A complete imbecile, an idiot, a stooge, a sexist pig, a liar, and his sister has said he's a crook and rotten to the core.'' - Julia Gillard describes former AWU union official Ralph Blewitt, ''according to people who know him''.

''The old man recently died a few weeks ago of shame. To think that he has a daughter who told lies every time she stood for parliament.'' - Broadcaster Alan Jones's controversial comment following the death of Julia Gillard's father.

''A squalid and tawdry deal entirely masterminded by the prime minister to protect her own political position.'' - Tony Abbott on former Liberal Peter Slipper's appointment as Speaker.

''This Ashby seems more rehearsed than a kabuki actor.'' - Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr on allegations against parliamentary Speaker Peter Slipper by his former staffer James Ashby, later dismissed in court.

''It's very hard to put an egg together after it's been smashed on the floor.'' - Labor backbencher Michael Danby says the failed sexual harassment case against Mr Slipper has damaged the former speaker's reputation.

''Australians are looking at this parliament and at the moment they see a dark cloud over it.'' - PM Gillard explains why she asked Craig Thomson to resign from the ALP and Peter Slipper to extend his time away from the post of Speaker.

''I haven't seen what she said, but let me say I support what it is that she said.'' - Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten on whether the PM thinks Peter Slipper should return to the chair.

''It is time to publicly acknowledge that there have been some in our party's ranks with neither political principles to defend nor moral convictions to uphold.'' - Labor veteran John Faulkner.


''I can assure you that this political drama is over.'' - Prime Minister Julia Gillard after winning the Labor leadership ballot.

''The ALP must change fundamentally its culture and end the power of faceless men.'' - Unsuccessful challenger Kevin Rudd takes a swipe at party factions as he steps down from the frontbench.

''The party has given Kevin Rudd all the opportunities in the world and he wasted them with his dysfunctional decision making and his deeply demeaning attitude towards other people including our caucus colleagues.''  - Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan.

''It remains a matter of complete bafflement to me why the Labor Party doesn't put Kevin back. But that just proves why I'm not suited to the Labor Party, because I'm too rational.'' - Former opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.

''Malcolm and I could never agree on the leadership.'' - Former PM Kevin Rudd jokes about why he and Malcolm Turnbull could never form a political party together.

''We need to get out of this idea that Kevin is a messiah who will deliver an election back to us. That is just, I think, fanciful. It wouldn't be good for the country to have Mr Rudd as prime minister again.'' - Attorney-General Nicola Roxon.


''A vile and evil thing.'' - Prime Minister Julia Gillard on child sexual abuse.

''The seal of confession is inviolable.'' - Cardinal George Pell explains church protocol for priests who confess to child sex abuse to another priest.

''The pain of victims has gone on for too long.'' - Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu launches an inquiry into child sex abuse by clergy.


''The news of every loss is as hard as news of the first loss.'' - Prime Minister Julia Gillard mourns the loss of the 39th Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan.

''The five soldiers who died in Afghanistan this week died unnecessarily and Howard, Rudd and Gillard all have blood on their hands.'' - Independent MP Andrew Wilkie blames three prime ministers for military casualties.


''God bless everyone that wrote him off.'' - Green Moon's co-owner Nick Williams on the windfall from the Melbourne Cup winner's $22.50 betting odds.

''I guess I was kind of cheating myself.'' - Israel Folau (below) on his decision to leave AFL after making a high-profile switch to the code from NRL two years ago.

''I want this. It has to be mine. It can't go any other way.'' - Australian sprinter Sally Pearson talks herself into winning the 100m hurdles final at the London Olympics.

''They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger so hopefully I'll come out of this a better swimmer but most of all a better person.'' - Humbled world champion James Magnussen after he had to settle for silver in the men's 100m freestyle.

''I no longer have the passion to continue.'' - World motorcycling champion Casey Stoner, 26, announces his retirement.

''I don't even like the game. I think it's a hopeless game.'' - Clive Palmer, owner of Gold Coast United, slams the A-League before sacking the team's coach.


''I always think of myself as the person with the mop and the broom and the bucket cleaning up the language after the party's over. It was a fairly big party, and what was left on the floor was 'misogyny'.'' - Macquarie Dictionary editor Susan Butler on why a speech by Julia Gillard prompted a redefinition of misogyny.

''It's good to be back in yellow.'' - Greg Page, the yellow member of the Wiggles, announces his return to the group after five years.