By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
A Dictionary of Australian Politics
By Robert Corcoran & Jackie Dickenson (Allen & Unwin, $29.99, softcover, 240 pages)
A comprehensive guide to Australia’s unique political language, this dictionary is designed not just for those moments when politics intrudes into your lives.
Greek statesman Pericles was so right when he said: “You can ignore politics, but politics will not ignore you”.
Many citizens are apprehensive about the intricacies surrounding modern government, but this constructive handbook assists in clearing the maze.
Compiled with ‘serious students’ of politics in mind, it endeavours to promote a better understanding of the “uniquely Australian” form of democratic government, and then defines its place in Australian culture.
Robert Corcoran and Jackie Dickenson claim that “our system is unique: eminently sensible combination of the representative democracy of the lower house of the British houses of parliament with the elected upper house of the United States of America”.
Conceding that no nation is completely independent of the rest of the world, this is a robust book with an unusual format.
Set in alphabetical order, you will find out why the Australian political language is “sometimes irreverent, but always colourful, economic and … highly expressive”.
Even our political culture is one of a kind that is “characterised by practices, processes and political language that have developed over time through the prism of the broader Australian society”.
From ‘chardonnay socialist’ and ‘xenophobia’ to ‘barbecue-stopper’ and ‘washminster’, A Dictionary of Australian Politics is a spirited guide that can be described as both interesting and exciting.
The handy ‘quick grab’ definitions are backed by in-depth explanations of the history and usage of important terms.
This authoritative reference tool also highlights a range of political terms and expressions (including international) that over time have entered the vernacular.
Even though the focus is mainly on Australia today, it uses reference to history to explain current events. Helps enormously!
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.