aussie english, the pouch, pete smissen, canvassing

AE 681 – Aussie Politics: Canvassing

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

Transcript of AE 681 - Aussie Politics: Canvassing

G'day 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.

Let's bring it back. We've got the next term here. Number three, 'canvassing'. What is canvassing?

Canvassing is on Saturday morning when you need to take your trash to the tip and you realise that you don't have a canvas tarp to put over the trash, so you have to go down to the local hardware store to ask him for a good sized tarp canvass to...

You're going to be confusing a lot of people right now.

A lot of undoing to do.

One thing that we should probably clear up is that Jake is one of the kings of sarcasm. It is very difficult. Whatever he says today, just take it with a grain of salt, read between the lines.

Donald Trump is calling him up for advice. That's how good he is.

Jake should have a T-shirt that just says, "I'm the definition of 'yeah nah, nah yeah.' Take whichever word he said last, and that's the one that you should go with.

I love that idea of being the adviser to Donald Trump. He calls me up and I say, "Oh yeah, Donald, you should totally inject it."


Yeah. So canvassing is when you essentially go out as a prospective member of parliament, so you want to get voted for. You paid your fee in order to be counted in the next election. And you go out and you meet the people in that electorate, whether it's council, whether it's for state or whether it's federally for that electorate. You go and knock on doors, you kiss babies, etc. You say, "Hey, I'm great, here are my policies," or sometimes just, "Hey, I'm great. Vote for me." But, you know, you like to think that they'll say, "Hi, I'm great. Here are my policies. These are why these policies are important to you. And, you know, if you vote for me, we'll get it done."

I think there's a classic video, right, of Tony Abbott, who was one of the ex-Liberal prime ministers that got stabbed in the back by Turnbull, walking through... I think it's Woolworths.


And he's going around trying to shake everyone's hand. And the old man just like walks past, won't look at him and he's like, "How are you, sir?" And he's like, "Piss off, you dickhead." That's not very nice.

You take you take that risk, don't you? I think it is Australia in particular. You do. You take that risk because people are quite blunt about the fact that they don't want to shake your hand and, you know, we saw that during the bushfires as well with Scott Morrison. I mean, he, you know... Just that sort of terrible timing from a political perspective. I think we've seen a different side to him now, of course. But I think that, you know, from... At that time, that was really bad. So, yeah, you do run that when you are canvassing, especially if there's cameras following you around, you run the risk of looking like a bit of a tool.

Would you want to give context to what happened there? So with Morrison, he went to a... I think it was a town in Victoria, eastern Victoria, near Gippsland. I'm not sure. I can't remember exactly. But he went round and it was pretty much after he'd come back from Hawaii, right. And he was trying to...

"Hey, guys, wearing my Hawaiian shirts. I've learnt how to do a louhow." Well, whatever it's called.

He was trying to get some brownie points, right?

Yeah. I mean, look, you know, that was a really challenging time, right. It was a challenging time for our nation. It was a challenging time politically. It was a challenging time for the people who were being affected by the bushfires. And essentially, you're right, he just mistimed what the public wanted and what the people wanted in the towns that he was visiting. So the prime minister came back from overseas. He cut his holiday short, came back from overseas and tried to... You know, I mean, look, you could argue from, let's say from a political.... Why not both, right? So from a political perspective, he was trying to get a bit more support from the Australian people, so he thought he would go out and on cameras and see some of the sort of bushfire ravaged towns. And on the other hand, he was probably genuinely pretty, pretty keen to get his feet on the ground after everything that happened here, because it happened quite quickly. And so he went to a particular town, I think he might... What town did you say it was?

I said Coburn but I could be wrong. Coburg.

I forget, too. And the townspeople were less than welcoming, yeah. Let's just say that if they were on your podcast, you wouldn't have to bleep them out with everything that they were saying.

They were pretty much just refusing to shake his hand. And the cringy thing there was that he was sort of just grabbing their hand and trying to get his moment in front of the camera being like, "Look, I'm shaking everyone's hand." One of the firies who spent a day, you know, putting fires out. He just says, "Look, I don't want to shake your hand, mate." And he still grabs his hand.

It was poor strategy, you know, instead of essentially coming in there, into that town that had been cut off by fire to meet a group of people who had been ravaged by the bushfires for several days in a row, instead of coming in there with water and tins of food or fast food or whatever it happens to be, something to lift the spirits, he came in there with a camera crew to shake hands and essentially score some political brownie points, or at least try to score some back after being on holidays.

Cobargo was the name.

I was so close.


Look, I do think that there was a genuine... I mean, obviously, like, you know, he would've been tired. He would have been affected.

It's a long flight back from Hawaii.

We do say that it was a bad move politically. But I think it was a bad move humanitarianly, as well. You know, like, it was just a wrong time to be doing things.

Well, that was Scotty from marketing, right. He was doing all of his marketing stuff. He wasn't actually using his heart to think about, "What do these people need?" It was more, "How do I save my political capital?"

It was Scotty the control freak, trying to essentially edge his way back into positive prominence.


And, you know, if you were to contrast, you know, our prime minister, Scott Morrison, then and today during the coronavirus response, he's a completely different guy, I would say. And I think he has earned back every point that he potentially lost, frankly, and probably earned a little bit of interest. The question now will, of course, be how well he reintegrates us back into society and back into an economy that works, hopefully, and flourishes in the future. And, you know, specifically which programs, like things like the free childcare for everyone, you know... Just how on earth you roll that back, you know?

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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