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.


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