An original FurphyThe word is derived from water carts made by a company established by John Furphy: J. Furphy & Sons of Shepparton, Victoria. Many Furphy water carts were used to take water to Australian Army personnel during World War I. The carts, with "J. Furphy & Sons" written on their tanks, became popular as gathering places where soldiers could exchange gossip, rumours and fanciful tales.
It is possible that the word was also influenced by John Furphy's equally prominent brother, the popular 19th century Australian author, Joseph Furphy (1843-1913). However, Joseph was generally published under the pseudonym "Tom Collins".
Originally it was synonymous with "rumour" and "scuttlebutt", but the modern meaning (especially in Australian politics) is "an irrelevant or minor issue raised to specifically divert attention away from the real issue".
This definition is from Wikipedia.com