The Australian Political Dictionary

Courtesy of The Chaser

Address in Reply - The opportunity for the Opposition Leader to pretend that he has substantial policies to put forward, even though modern politics demand that he doesn't.

Backbencher - Someone who badly wants to be a minister.

Bicameral - Refers to the system of having two Houses. Used by the Commonwealth for parlaiment and Helen Coonan for tax evasion.

Cabinet Solidarity - The convention that ensures the total lack of solidarity between Ministers is only revealed to the public by incessant leaks.

Censure motion - A motion which confirms that a Minister who's been caught in a clear case of wrongdoing has gotten away with it.

Conscience vote - A free vote where a majority of politicians decide that their conscience dictates that they toe the party line.

Cross the floor - What Andrew Bartlett does when the Liberals stash all the good booze.

Executive - The arm of government dedicated to implementing the policies demanded by the nation's business executives.

Fillibuster - When a politician talks too long. Especially happens in parliament, on television, radio, and in the members bar.

Independent - A politician who resists the two major parties' domination of the political process by making themselves completetly irrelevant to it.

Maiden Speech - A list of principles to be ignored for the rest of your political career.

Ministerial Responsibility - The responsibility of a minister to remain uninformed about anything going on in their department to avoid blame later.

No confidence - A term used to describe Simon Crean's personality.

Out of Order - A sign sometimes seen on parliamentary bathrooms. When this happens, motions cannot be passed.

Parliamentary bar - The most boring pub in Australia.

Party discipline - What happens at a party when the Parliamentary Whip arrives.

Politics - Canberra's second biggest industry after porn.

Portfolio - Something given to backbenchers to shore up support in a leadership spill.

Quorum - A token measure to get MPs to show up to work.

Redistribution - A process by which government marginal seats are converted into safe seats.

Referendum - A means of failing to change the Constitution.

Reserve powers - fearsome powers the Governor-General can use when he's not addressing a nursing mother's convention.

Right Honourable - An ironic term.

Second reading - something no one will ever give to Mark Latham's books.

Separation of Powers - A system of distributing government power that allows everyone to blame everyone else.

The Speaker - A long serving, talentless hack given ceremonial position to compensate for the looming end of their career.

The Usher of the Black Rod - Classic pornographic film made in 1978.

Election 2004 Hangover

What words can be used to describe how I feel right now?

Devastated. Inconsolable. Gutted.

Sitting in an internet cafe bawling, and I can't help it.

An increased majority. Not just that. Control of the Senate. Can anyone remember that before?

Last night, as the news came through, I kept up a pleasant face because I didn't want to spoil Brooke's birthday (otherwise a great night; I'll tell you about it when I calm down). But this morning, listening to the radio I just couldn't help myself, startling my cat by punching the wall and sobbing. I just wanted Labor to win so badly. I want to go to the house of every person who voted Liberal, shake them and ask WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? For once I just wanted us stiffs to get a break. I want to yell at everyone else in the boiler room here, who are playing games as if everything was okay.

Goodbye Xander. When their winter is over, I'll be looking for the number for Aer Lingus.

Election Day 2004

Let's get right down to it.

I am so worried I feel almost ill.

Three more years? Peter Costello PM? Unbearable. I am handing out how to vote cards this afternoon for Jill Hall, sitting ALP member for Shortland. This is a safe Labor seat, but I have to do something.

Look, I feel so strongly about this. Dole diaries? Pre-emptive strikes? Mandatory detention? I confess I have become ashamed of my adoptive homeland. So much so, that if the Coalition gets back in, I will most likely move back to Ireland.

This will be an enormous wrench. Leaving behind the city I adore, where I have almost everything to stay for. My friends, my beaches, sour fruit roll-ups, I'd abandon them all, to go somewhere cold that I've spent barely a month in since we emigrated in '81? Yes I would do this. I just couldn't live with myself otherwise.


The Soundtrack of My Life


This took awhile. These are not just songs I like; they had to mean something to me to make the cut.

You Am I - Heavy Heart

Nirvana - Well, anything by them

Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Sikamicanico

INXS - Don't Change

Local H - Bound For The Floor

Porno For Pyros - Tahitian Moon

REM - The Great Beyond

Big Audio Dynamite - Rush

Cordrazine - Memorial Drive

Elton John - Song For Guy

Soundgarden - Blow Up The Outside World

The Tea Party - Halcyon Days

Supergrass - Moving

Alex Lloyd - Lucky Star

Jeff Buckley - Dream Brother

Jimmy Cliff - I Can See Clearly Now

Elliot Smith - Waltz No.2

Hole - Violet

Sant-Sens - Danse Macabre

Nick Cave - (Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?

Blur - To The End

I could go on and on. But it looks like we might have made it to the end of this list.

On (Hating) Camping

So I agreed to go camping. I don't know why. I have a lot of emotional problems. But camping? My idea of travel is where they fluff your pillows, smooth out your towels, and recommend a wine to accompany madam's entree. But somehow I found myself sleeping on a mattress in the back of a station wagon (there was no room in the tents) at the Allyn River north of Newcastle.

Anyway, I kept a diary, so you can see how the whole thing turned out...

Thursday Night

I've just set my alarm for 6am. This has to be the worst idea anybody ever had. And now I have to pack. I HATE packing. I haven't moved house in five years for a reason.

Friday Afternoon

Well here we are at the lovely Allyn River. The journey began at an hour when surely no decent human being would be awake. Boof & I went in the station wagon, Funky and the Nanny in a 4WD. Both vehicles were packed...To think that when we were 19, five of us would go camping with all our gear in a hatchback. Well, the older you get, the more stuff you acquire and the longer everything takes. As we headed up the mountains, it rained so hard we couldn't see the road. We sang snatches of "Weird Al" Yankovic whilst Boof's mad jack russell growled at the cows. Cows everywhere! Not something you see much at Charlestown. The skies cleared upon arrival. Set up took over two hours. Funky watched my pathetic attempts to raise my tent before laughing and offering to do it himself.
Later. Well, now we're sitting and having a drink. You can hear the river rushing by, and the wind in the trees.

Saturday 8am

I will be home tonight, warm and clean in my house.Must hold onto that thought, or I'll drown myself in the portable camping toilet. Yes, it is that bad. I'm so wet and cold and filthy and miserable, I am being driven to Dungog to get the train home. I'll have a long wait at Dungog, I don't care; I want out of here so bad.

Saturday Afternoon

Here I am in Dungog.Not exactly a thriving metropolis, but I can at least use a toilet that flushes, wash my hands afterwards, and have a hot breakfast.There are alot of people here pushing prams and wearing ugg boots, let me tell you, and I've met every damn one of them. The ugg-booted lady at the visitors centre directed me to the local museum. As I made my way there, I noticed that the funeral parlour also advertise that they sell furnishings and manchester. Nothing like diversifying your business empire. The pleasant elderly man at the museum was so pleased to have a visitor, he insisted on giving me a personal guided tour.

Then - three hours waiting at Dungog station (there was simply nothing else to do). The XPT stopped and a passenger was taken away by ambulance (they must have eaten the food). Finally, finally, the train home arrived. Nothing to cheer up a train journey like a bunch of young guys doing impressions of Flynn from Australian Idol though to be fair they did offer to help me with my bags.

Back Home

Have taken three showers and noticed a nasty insect bite on my stomach. From now on it's only nice hotels for me. Camping - you can keep it.

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