democracy chit-chat

I do like the way the democracy sausage has teamed up with the democracy lamington, but the democracy cakes and the democracy op shop have a try-hard sound.  Cakes have always been sold at a cake stall. There is no need to climb on to the democracy bandwagon.

 In this election we had the ScoMo express and the Bill bus. This about summed it up. Glitz and glamour with ScoMo, oddly combined with the daggy Dad image, and a rather dull worthiness with Bill.

ScoMo had offered the Canberra bubble just before the elections started. Once the campaign was in full swing he put anything unpleasant into the bubble so that it probably now requires fumigation. 

The Gympie Line was revived but this time ScoMo crossed it and was welcomed into the deep North. Also there was the wombat trail – the name for the National Party election campaign. And the sandstone curtain that divides the east coast residents from the people living in rural New South Wales, with the implication that the metropolitan voters are treated in a much better fashion that the inland voters, and that they have very different ideas about what matters in an election.

There was coal (Barnaby Joyce), there was water (Barnaby Joyce) and there was tax.  In particular there was the renaming of the removal of the franking credits as a retiree tax. The electorate struggled to understand the concepts and history of franking credits and dividend imputation but what they did get instantly was the term retiree tax. There is, however, no such thing as a retiree tax. It was a Liberal switch on the concept of the removal of franking credits. An interesting conundrum for the dictionary. Should it include a term that has currency even though the actual tax does not exist?

 The familiar term the cash splash was rolled out again as candidates vied with each other to promise handouts to electorates that needed encouragement.

Various people were accused of running scare campaigns and there was a brief mention of fake news in relation to the rumour circulated on Facebook that Labor was going to implement a death tax or inheritance tax.

Keating arrived on the scene and talked about coal as a fossil, extending that to ScoMo as a fossil because he supported such a fuel of the past. A fossil with a baseball cap. 

One new word that I found – new to me at least – was the verb to smug.

ScoMo was accused of smugging the electorate.  This is not a word that Aussies in election fever created but one that we borrowed from the U.S. It means to treat someone in a complacently superior and conceited fashion. We also had a number of stump speeches, again a term borrowed from the Americans. And there was an instance of a Gish gallop, a debating strategy that has moved into politics and the media. The idea is to swamp your opponent with as many arguments as possible, never mind whether they have any basis in truth or rationality. It was named after an American political figure who defended creationism using this technique.

I have always found that elections coined something new in Australian English as people strained to give expression to a new idea, but in this election there was nothing. Just a re-run of the old and some smugging.





Sue ButlerComment