Skip To Content
  • Australia Votes 2016 badge

11 Political Terms Explained In Words You Can Actually Understand

All the words you're too embarrassed to ask the meaning of.

1. Negative gearing

BuzzFeed / Via

So negative gearing is where you buy a house, rent it out for less than what your mortgage repayments are, and deduct the difference on your tax return.

Basically, you deal out cheap rent so that you can make your tax return a little juicier.

2. University fee deregulation

BuzzFeed / Via

At the moment the cost of uni courses is regulated, meaning if you hit up the University of Sydney for that Health Science degree, it'll cost roughly the same as if you did that course at say, La Trobe.

Deregulation of these fees means that universities could start charging more for courses, especially those more ~prestigious~ ones, ya feel?

Also with this increase in the cost of uni courses, you might start having to pay your HECS debt a lot earlier as the threshold to pay goes down. Basically, even if you earn shit-all, the government is going to want its money back. 💔

3. Coral bleaching

BuzzFeed / Via

As the term would suggest, coral bleaching refers to the loss of colour in coral. The Great Barrier Reef is in the middle of a massive coral bleaching episode, where rising water temperatures have caused the coral to turn white, essentially killing it.

The principal cause of it is climate change. Experts say that to begin fixing the issue, more funding into coral bleaching research and water quality needs to be done, but also, we need real action on climate change.

4. The privatisation of Medicare

BuzzFeed / Via

Medicare works to make health services cheaper for Australians and is paid for by taxpayers through the Medicare levy - but that isn't enough to cover the cost of running a whole health system, so the government needs to find other ways to pay for it.

The talk of privatisation is essentially the idea of selling off Medicare (or at least selling off parts of it), taking it out of the control of the government, and giving it to whoever decides to buy it. If this is the case, the owners of Medicare would probably want to make a profit, which could make it more expensive for people to go to the doctor.

Bill Shorten keeps saying Malcolm wants to sell Medicare, which Turnbull has repeatedly promised not to do, but his government ~has~ done things (and tried to do others) that make going to the doctor more expensive.

5. Plebiscite

BuzzFeed / Via

OK, real quick: a referendum is a proposal put to the Australian public for a vote, that affects the constitution. A plebiscite is a vote that does not affect the constitution, and is really just held to get the public's opinion on a certain issue. The result of a plebiscite doesn't need to be acted on, unlike referendum results.

The same-sex marriage plebiscite is basically a vote to see where the Australian public stands on same-sex marriage being legalised. The notion of a plebiscite is criticised as it is costly ($160 million) and opinion polls essentially provide the same information. It’s also kinda unnecessary because whatever the outcome is, the government doesn’t have to follow through.

6. Offshore detention

BuzzFeed / Via

Offshore detention is basically the process of taking asylum seekers who try to make their way to Australia by boat, and placing them in centres that aren't in Australia (such as Manus Island and Nauru). The policy has worked as a deterrent to stop the boats, but it's an expensive process and isn't great for the asylum seekers mental state.

The issue with offshore detention is that the people there (including children) are stuck, have no choice in going, and really, have no set time for them to be released.

7. NBN - National Broadband Network

BuzzFeed / Via

Quite literally everyone has heard of the NBN before but no one really knows much besides it being about the internet.

The NBN is supposed to be a way to deliver faster internet to Aussies.

The big issue is that in rural Australia, the internet is just really, really, fucking slow. Like painfully slow. Plus, beyond the country, there are some blackspot areas with little to no internet access at all.

The NBN uses wireless and satellite broadband internet over existing copper cables, but those cables are pretty old and have a lot of issues (like being affected by water).

Labor wants to install fancy new fibre cables, which would give us heaps faster internet, but would also cost us a shitload. The government says the current plan - fibre cables that lead to copper cables that go to your home - is good enough.

It's basically just really shit because the NBN promised super-fast internet for all, and it isn't really happening.

8. Coalition

BuzzFeed / Via

A coalition is actually real simple. It's just when two parties with the same kind of views band together so they can be more powerful. This is like the Liberal and the Nationals' coalition.

A coalition basically ensures you have more seats on your side when it comes to voting for things in parliament.

9. Jobs and growth

BuzzFeed / Via

"Jobs and growth" is the Liberal party slogan that's all about decreasing unemployment rates and growing Australia's economy.

They plan to do this mainly by reducing tax and focusing on youth employment.

10. PaTH

BuzzFeed / Via

The Liberal party is all for "jobs and growth", which is why they have PaTH, a plan to ensure that young Australians are prepared to work.

PaTH stands for Prepare, Trial and Hire. Preparation is through training (six weeks), trialling through an internship (four to12 weeks, $200/fortnight) and hiring by giving businesses a fee for employing the young person ($1000).

Basically it's just a new training program with incentives for businesses to hire young people to make sure unemployment rates aren't too low. But some critics say it turns young people into "human fodder", aka cheap workers, for businesses.

11. 100 positive policies

BuzzFeed / Via

Labor's slogan "100 positive policies", is quite literally what you imagined - just 100 policies. Actually a few more than 100, but that is it.