Originally published in Time Out Sydney 24 October 2013. At by Robert Polmear
Dear The Internet,
With the news that your immigration minister Scott Morrison has issued an edict that the term “asylum seeker” be stricken from all official departmental communications and replaced with“illegal maritime arrival”, commentators have been making the unfair comparison between the Abbott government and the “newspeak” adopted by the dystopian ministries of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
Such hyperbole is obviously ridiculous, since a) creating a standard term of reference for all staff will help streamline the dissemination of policy in a clear and accessible manner, and b) we have always been at war with Eastasia.
It’s only one of a raft of new terms and with that in mind, we contacted the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and communications minister Malcolm Turnbull graciously faxed us a copy of the government’s forthcoming official glossary.
Keep these terms in mind in all communications going forward, including your personal correspondence. Remember: ASIO and therefore the CIA will be taking notes, and you really don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of them.
Seriously. You really, really don’t.
|Former Term||New Official Term|
|Asylum seeker||Illegal maritime arrival|
|Australia (in context of Federal Constitution)||Australia|
|Australia (in context of dinkum fair-go mateship)||‘Straya|
|Australia (in context of human rights obligations)||Papua New Guinea|
|Love||Penis-in-vagina intercourse conducted exclusively in the marital bed|
|Homosexual woman||Lady bachelor|
|Single mother||Careless slattern|
|Student||Mr/Mrs Fancy who thinks they’re so big with all their la-di-dah book-learnin’|
|International student||University funding|
|Medicare||Financial sickness/injury incentive|
|Unemployed person||Domestic terrorist|
|Increased Federal borrowing limit (Labor)||Economic disaster|
|Increased Federal borrowing limit (Coalition)||Prudent fiscal strategy|
|Climate change||Positive temperature growth|
|Environmental scientist||Pervert voodoo priestess|
|National park||Future mine|
|Marine sanctuary||Future mine|
|Lower socio-economic area||Future second airport flightpath|
|Press (non-Murdoch)||Mewling naysayers|
|Press (Murdoch)||Clarion call of truth|
|Area ravaged by bushfire||Economic combustion opportunity zone|