For North American readers, some Australian terms may need explaining:

Australian term
Canadian term
barbecue grill
benchtops  (kitchen & bathroom)
counter tops
a building lot,  an apartment building
Body Corporate condominium corporation
Body Corporate Committee (BCC)
Board of Directors
building surveyor building inspector
Body Corporate Manager (BCM) Property Management Company
Central Business District (CBD)
downtown business district
Committee members Board of Directors
dilapidation report
a report on the condition of a property at a given point in time. It records any existing damage, and the state of any particular aspects of the property that are likely to be affected by construction work, excavation or demolition.
Executive Committee
Board of Directors
an unrelated person sharing an apt.
letting agent
rental agent
lounge room
living room
next guy culture
the next owner can pay for major repairs
owners corporation
condo corporation
removalists movers
condo or co-op corporation
secondary market
serviced apartment
furnished rental apartment
sinking funds
Reserve Funds
Strata Management Company
Property Management Company

Unique Australian political terms
Oxford Dictionaries

Our lexicon is historically rich with political terms, and new ones continue to be added. Just a few of our favourites are listed below:

Barbecue stopper
‘A topic of great public interest, especially a political one.’ To call something a barbecue stopper is a measure of its profound significance to ordinary Australians.

Captain’s pick
‘A decision made by a party leader without consultation with colleagues.’

One of the newer terms in the political landscape, captain’s pick is a term borrowed from sport to denote a leader’s unannounced, unilateral decision. It first came to notice in 2013, when Prime Minister Julia Gillard ignored convention by announcing her preferred candidate for a Senate seat over an incumbent Labor senator, enraging some in her own party.

Democracy sausage
‘A barbecued sausage served on a slice of bread, bought at a polling booth sausage sizzle on election day.’

Australia has a carrot and stick approach to voter turnout. The stick is compulsory voting (you can be fined if you don’t).

The carrot is the democracy sausage. Many of us regard the polling booth sausage sizzle fundraiser as the best thing about election day. If you have to queue up to vote at the local school, you might as well have a sausage in bread with fried onion, bought from the ubiquitous fundraising stall, while you wait.

Dorothy Dixer
‘A parliamentary question asked of a Minister by a colleague to give the Minister the opportunity to deliver a prepared reply.’

The Opposition, if they can help it, will never give a Minister a free kick in parliamentary Question Time. The solution is the Dorothy Dixer, the pre-arranged question asked by a colleague, allowing a crafted response.

Dorothy Dix was the pen-name of US journalist E.M. Gilmer, author of a popular question-and-answer column syndicated in Australia from the 1920s to the 1950s. Some suspected Gilmer wrote the questions as well as the answers, and this is how the Dixer got its name.

Feed the chooks
‘To hold a press conference; to give a doorstop interview to journalists; to ‘feed’ the media.’

This phrase was popularised by Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen (in office 1968–1987), whose authoritarian style was often expressed in the refrain ‘don’t you worry about that’. He kept the upper hand in his dealings with journalists, describing his daily press conferences as ‘feeding the chooks’.

Keep the bastards honest
A slogan of the Australian Democrats alluding to the party’s role in holding the balance of power in the Senate. Now often used of politicians in general.

Magic pudding
‘An endlessly renewable resource.’

A connection between political promises and stories for children may not seem far-fetched to jaundiced voters, and it is realised in the term ‘magic pudding’.

The Magic Pudding (published 1918) is a children’s book by artist Norman Lindsay, in which a pudding instantly renews itself as slices are cut out of it. In recent times many politicians have been accused of attempting to deceive the public by conjuring a magic pudding, especially around Budget time.

‘In figurative use, to challenge or confront a person.’                

Wombat trail
‘An election campaign trail pursued by leaders of the National Party. ’

The National Party is the party of rural and regional Australia, broadly described as the bush. During elections the leader traditionally campaigns across a vast area to reach voters in remote places: beyond the black stump, back of Bourke, and behind the sunset.

The trek is called the wombat trail in honour of its rural setting – National Party leaders have their electorates in the bush, a wombat’s natural habitat.

Understanding Australian English
Australian Oxford Dictionary

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