AE 675 – Aussie Politics: A Donkey Vote

Learn Australian English in this Aussie Politics episode where I chat with Gregg and Jake from The Pouch about what A DONKEY VOTE is.

Transcript of AE 675 - Aussie Politics: A Donkey Vote

G'day you mob and welcome to this episode of this series that I'm doing with Jake Farr-Wharton and Gregg Savage from The Pouch The podcast on political expressions. So today we're going to explain for you a political expression that is used in Australian English all the time. Don't forget to go and check out their podcast The Pouch if you want to learn about all things Australian politics. So, guys, I hope you enjoy this informal, fun discussion. Three guys getting together, having a bit of a laugh whilst talking about Aussie politics and also trying to teach you some Australian English at the same time. Alright, guys, so tap the Currawong and let's get into it.

G'day you mob. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today, I have special guests, Jake Farr-'Wu-Tan' and Gregg 'Savage'. How are you guys going?

Well, that's offensive.

I like it. I think I quite like that. We've come up with a different name for every episode of our podcast, but we... It's like our middle name. So I'll be like, "Gregg 'I'm sure there's a virgin joke in there somewhere' Savage." But it's just my middle name. But I like 'Jake Farr-Wu-Tan'.

Yeah. "Do not fuck with Wu Tang Clan."

Do you swear on your podcast?

Yeah. 100 percent. It's meant to be natural English, you know, so you guys have at it. There's been plenty of shows with swearwords on iTunes already, so they're already not getting delivered to whatever countries don't allow that, so it's been a laugh.

Well, I'm excited about not swearing.

That moral high ground, huh Jake?

Oh, yeah. I like to look down from my high horse on everyone.

Exactly. Anyway, alright. So I've got you guys on today because you guys have recently started a new podcast called The Pouch. I don't know if it's called The Pouch The podcast or if it's called The Pouch.

On iTunes, on the Apple podcast, it's just called The Pouch. But when you say The Pouch The Podcast, it's a bit more fun, you know. And we like to have a bit of fun on The Pouch The Podcast.

So tell us about it. How did you guys come up with The Pouch? What's the idea? The main reason for you two getting together on a weekly basis and having a chinwag?

That's you, Gregg.

Yeah. Look, it honestly started because I was really interested in American politics and I sort of... I became really, really obsessed with what was happening in America. I kept checking the news all the time, seeing what was happening with, like Rudy Giuliani and seeing, you know, whether or not Donald Trump was going to jail yet.

Spoiler alert!

Still out.

Yeah. And I just sort of... I suppose I just became a bit distant from what was happening here in Australia and I thought, well, what a great way to sort of get back into it would be to chat to someone super knowledgeable. So I rang one of my other friends who wasn't Jake.

I haven't heard this part of the story.

And I said, "Do you want to do a podcast?" And he said, "Who are you?" and hung up on me, and so I called Jake. I went through my phone and I called Jake and I said, "Man, do you want to do this podcast?" And literally within about... I think it was three or four days, we already had episode one up and running. So it was just about... It was really just about me asking some questions about Australian politics and trying to get back into it, and Jake being the sort of knowledgeable other. So the premise is that he's bringing me back to Australia from America in a pouch and we're in a kangaroo pouch, so it's safe. It's a safe place to talk about politics.

And so he's giving you an update on the way back, is he?

That's right.

Assimilate you back into Australian political society.

But that's the general gist. Yeah. So we do that once a week and we release it roughly on a Sunday. And then we thought, well, we're probably going to run out of material because Australian politics isn't that interesting.

Shit just got real.

And I think the week after...

Well, we had the leadership spill. We had the pork barrelling. We've had so many exciting things, and then we had the bushfires and we had the coronavirus and the stimulus. And it's just it's never ending.

The sporting rort.

Yeah, we had like about two weeks into our sort of first... Well, we had our first episode, then two weeks later, we were literally doing this sombre, serious bonus episode about the Australian bushfire and about the impact of that, because I was in the Blue Mountains that were impacting me directly. You know, Jake was being affected by our smoke or something like that. I don't know.

How funny was that with Canberra, though, right? The bushfires were, you know, tens of kilometres, hundreds of kilometres away from Canberra. But the smoke got there, sunk into this little bowl that is the geography of Canberra and stayed there for weeks.

And then they also had quite bad fires there also.

Ah, okay.

At the end.

At the end, yes.

Yeah. There was a lady who passed away, an elderly lady passed away from the smoke. She got off a plane in Canberra and died. She was...

From asthma or something?

Respiratory issues.

Far out. Well anyway. Yeah, guys, we have a bit of a history because we've been on podcasts together. I think, in fact, I should probably say thanks to Jake because he is the one who first got me into podcasting. All the way back in 2011.

And your listeners should say sorry! I mean I should say sorry to your listeners.

That's it.

We got there eventually.

Anyway, so today we want to be talking about, what, 11 different expressions in political... In the political space, in the political sphere in Australia?

Well, we thought a lot of your listeners, a lot of the people who listen to your podcast, are probably either thinking of, you know, at least coming to Australia or at least, you know, may even becoming citizens of Australia, in which case we've got compulsory voting. So we thought, well, you know, to sort of get a bit of a handle on some of the the random words that are thrown out there, might be a good idea.

Oh, man. We could start already. What's a donkey vote?

Oh, a donkey vote... A donkey vote's fantastic. Donkey vote is for the miscreants in our political system who decide to vote by not voting. So a donkey vote is essentially... Oh, classic!

I've only ever done it once and it was recently.

A donkey vote is essentially when you pick up your ballot. So you pick up your ballot paper to make your vote. And instead of voting in the correct way, that would see your vote count towards the election of one party, one person or another, well, one party or another, you essentially either deface it or you don't mark it up or you write your name on it. "This was from Pete."

I call it 'Abstain, but don't complain.'

It rhymes. It must be true.

That's it. I didn't even do that. I walked up and I literally... I can't even remember why. I'd come back from Canberra. We were doing the local election and I was like, "Look, I literally just have no idea. I don't care. I'm I'm out of it. I'm just so out of it. So my vote shouldn't even count." So I just walked up, have my name ticked off, and she was like, "Here's your ballot." And I'm like, "All good. Thanks. See you!"

Oh, wow. Okay. You didn't even pretend. I didn't even waste the paper. That's how green I am.

I have heard some pretty good excuses for why people do a donkey vote. I know that we've got a news presenter here in Australia, Virginia, who was on ABC News Breakfast. I forget her...

Virginia Wolf?


Virginia Trioli. That's right. She's a Brisbanite.

Yeah. So she is on the news and because she interviews politicians all the time, because she's quite politically active when it comes... She admits that she doesn't vote. And I sort of... I've always been... It all just always gets me a bit cranky, I suppose, if I hear about people who do donkey votes. But when she explained it, I was like... This is me, this is my cranky face. But I sort of thought that's pretty reasonable, you know, like at least that when she's interviewing people, you know she doesn't have a particular bent or anything like that. So I thought that was good.

I think you could do both things, can't you? You can you can be both political in your private life, and apolitical in your... I mean, everyone does it right. If you go to a job you can't talk about, you know, this political issue or that political issue, that's...

You remember the rule that we talked about, Gregg? When you first go into professional life, there are a few things that you cannot talk about: Sex, politics and religion.



Never talk about them at work.

That's basically the catchphrase for our podcast. We get it all out. We get it all out.

You get it out of your system at the end of the day, right? It's a good flush.

Absolutely. Yeah.

Anyway guys, oh man, I've almost kept you guys for two hours, so I think we're going to have to turn...

I was just getting warmed up.

I know because I really have to go to the toilet. Anyway, Jake Farr-Wharton and Gregg Savage, not 'Savage', right?

It's either, or.

Yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, guys. I really appreciate it.

Check out The Pouch.

Yes, exactly. Do your plug. Give me the plug.

We've got a catchphrase now. It's "Australian news and politics, not so seriously."

So who would listen to your podcast and why?


Like, seriously, give me the down low. It's light-hearted, fun political jargon.

I think the reason that we started the podcast is is still entirely valid. You know, essentially, Gregg wants to learn about politics. I love researching, you know, love researching, particularly Australian politics. It's the, you know, this is the place that we live. The decisions being made in Canberra, or in every state at the moment, affect the individuals living within those areas. And it's, I think, personally intensely important that we have a good grasp of those those core concepts and even the more nuanced ones. So for me, you know, being able to ask those questions and answer them in a way that is both engaging, and at the same time we don't take it so seriously. We try to have a joke and we try to keep it as light-hearted as possible whilst being as informative as possible.

Yeah. It's for those people who maybe don't spend their days thinking about politics but are curious about certain things and wouldn't mind, you know, as sort of a lower level discussion about what's happening in Australia. I think that would be our target market. If, you know, if you're reading Guardian Annuals every single day, I'm not sure we're for you, but if you're just sort of hearing about the news, you think, "Oh, I'd like to know more about what an electorate is," or, "I'd like to know more about what happened with Fraser running or what happened in the last election." They're the sorts of questions that we sort of probe more deeply into. But just in a not so serious way.

Well, one of the questions that we're asking this week is, "Where does all the money come from for the stimulus?"

Yes. "How do we pay all this back?"

"How do we pay it back? What's going to happen?"

Well, and so when can people find out about that episode? Is it going to be up any time soon?

Every Sunday.


Every Sunday we release an episode unless I don't feel like releasing it on that Sunday, I might release it like on a Saturday, because I'm edgy like that.

But every week.

I think Scomo's a legend, compassionate, and sometimes I release my podcast on a Saturday.

Love it.

Awesome, guys. Thank you so much for coming on, guys. Go check out The Pouch.

Thanks, Pete.

Thanks, Pete.

Thanks for joining me today, guys. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I hope you learnt a little something new. And I hope that you improved your listening comprehension, as I know that sometimes it's difficult to listen to three native speakers all talking over the top of each other about a certain topic in conversation. But that's the whole point of this sort of series. It's to give you exposure to advanced English discussions, chats, everything like that, so that you can work on your listening comprehension whilst also learning about Australia, Australian politics and some English vocab about politics. Don't forget to go and check out Jake and Gregg's podcast, The Pouch. You can find this via any good podcast application for free. They publish an episode every weekend about Australian politics. Anyway, until next time, guys, I hope you have a killer week and I'll see you soon.

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