aussie english, blue-ribbon seat, the pouch, gregg savage, jake farr-wharton, pete smissen

AE 679 – Aussie Politics: A Blue-Ribbon Seat

Learn Australian English in this Aussie Politics episode where I chat with Gregg and Jake from The Pouch about what A BLUE-RIBBON SEAT is.

Transcript of AE 679 - Aussie Politics: A Blue-Ribbon Seat

G'day you mob, and welcome to this episode of the 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.

Right, where's number two? Blue ribbon seat. What is a blue ribbon seat?

Well, a blue ribbon seat is generally thought of as a safe seat. So it's a seat that... Well, in many cases is thought that the person who currently retains that seat can do anything and still keep that seat.

What do you mean by seat, Jake? What's a seat?

That's a great question. It's a literal seat. Yes. We were discussing that early on in the podcast.

I remember. I fell for it like five seconds and it made for a pretty good podcast. I was like, "Why are they called seats?" And Jake goes, "Oh, there's a literal seat. There was a literal seat like historically." And I was like, "There wasn't, like there's no way."

You'd have to sit in the corner of the state.

I'm out of the loop, but I'm not out of the loop that much.

Well, I mean, there is actually a literal seat. It's within the House or the Senate or the Council, essentially, that you hold your position. And so when you're elected, you hold what's called a seat, and it is, you know, quite literally a seat in the House of Representatives of your state, or federally in the Senate.

And that correlates to a like a geographical space in Australia.

Correct. To an electorate within Australia.

Yeah. Interesting.

So are your electorates all blue ribbon seats or do they tend to be like in flip?

Well, mine is. I've got a very, very blue ribbon seat. I live in in rural Queensland, which means..?

Bob Katter!

No, I did actually... I ran into Robbie Katter last year. He's a parliamentarian in Queensland politics. He has a... He runs for the, or he's in the Bob Katter Alliance, I think it's called, the party, the Bob Katter Alliance. And he is the son of Bob Katter. And he's an interesting chap. Interesting chap. Very, very right wing. Very interesting issues.

I've got one political bent, and that is just 'kill the crocs'. Everyone, kill the crocs.

That's his dad. That's his dad...

Bob Katter does not like crocodiles.

They don't. Yeah, he doesn't. They're killing too many people.

Mine's not a blue ribbon seat. I live in Macquarie, who's Sue Templeman, who no one really knows unless you live in the Blue Mountains, because she fights for the NBN. So that's great. But I did live in a blue ribbon seat. I lived in Kevin Rudd's seat in Brisbane and there was just no way he was losing that.


How do you feel about him, to get into sort of the questions without just continuing with the vocab? But do you feel like he... He feels like a baddie from Star Wars that was on like... He was on the Force and then he went to the Dark Side because he seems to have this real... There's something behind his eyes whenever he's in interviews about after he was backstabbed by Julia Gillard, that seems to have really turned him, right? He seems bitter.

I love him with a passionate fire that will never extinguish. No, I... No, I disagree with you from the premise that he might be, or could be considered bad or negative in many ways. I think he is... In many ways he is the... I'm trying to use parlance that will come across well... Essentially, he is the left of the left, you know, so he is a very progressive member of a party that used to be very progressive and is now, you know, staunchly centrist. So I feel like he has retained those progressive values and as a consequence that puts him in opposition with many of the vocal members of his party who are, again, quite centrist now and, you know, essentially having to rebuff his progressiveness.

I find him an interesting character.

I just love the way that he is such an elitist, whilst still, you know... We were having this conversation last week, Gregg, about Malcolm Turnbull, that, you know, he... Malcolm Turnbull, I like him for some parts of his political ideology because he, again, is quite a progressive individual whilst maintaining that sort of fiscal conservatism that is a part of the conservative agenda of Australian politics. But Malcolm Turnbull puts a lot of people off because he loves being an elitist. You know, he was a very high powered lawyer. He fought for very extraordinarily wealthy billionaires and as a consequence is a very wealthy individual himself.

He would be one of the richest prime ministers we've had, right, if not the...

Well, he paid 200 million dollars to keep the liberals in power. That's almost as much... Well, sorry, actually, that's four times as much as...

Clive Palmer spent on his ads.

Clive Palmer spent 50 million.

69, I think it was. It was ridiculous.

It was a great success, just ask anyone.

I got to look forward to seeing his face every day...

He didn't actually want to win a seat.

Well, he got 100% of no seats, so it was a success.

There is a great... If anyone's interested in that sort of history, there is a great sort of little mini series called The Killing Season, which you can get on ABC, and it is a great watch. Like, it's just sort of, you know, it gives you a bit of knowledge around that time and you get Julia Gillard's perspective, you get Kevin Rudd's perspective. Yeah.

I feel like Kevin Rudd is an antihero, you know, like that classic antihero archetype where he is... He's good, but he does good by doing a couple of, you know, not so good things.

I suppose, to think about you're audience Pete, too. Like, I imagine that Australians have a bit of a history, an unwanted history, about the fact that we change leaders all the time. You know, we have a bit of a reputation for that.

Well, we do now, right, because in the past we didn't. We had Howard for what? 20 years or something ridiculous.

And Bob Hawke and Paul Keating, they were both very long-serving prime ministers.

But that Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd sort of wrangle, was the first part of that. It was the kick off of the football game of prime ministers.

We had Rudd win 2007, took off from Howard and then got started all the i- house politics with the flipping and flopping leaders, right. And that...

Sorry, go on.

That's something that people don't really understand, right. They see that Australians vote for a local person or a political party, right, but we don't actually vote on the leader the...

At least wave hi.

Jake's wife's in the background.

We don't for the leader of the... Like we don't vote for Scott Morrison. You don't go to the polls and, you know, you tick off Scott Morrison. You tick off the person who is your what we call the local member, and so for me, that person might be Sue from the Liberal Party or whoever else is for the Labour Party. I tick off those people and if they win enough seats, then that... Generally I mean if they win a majority of the seats in the parliament, then that party wins government. And the leader of that party is the prime minister. How did I do, Jake?

Let's bring it back.

You did really well, and I actually scripted a section on that, so...

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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    1. That’s been really an interesting one and you know mate I’ve never been good at all the political stuff but at least I’ve got something regarding Malcolm Turnbull, thanks mate, great job