Back in Newsletter #46 (August 2011), I wrote about the terms that have traditionally been used to refer to the four regions into which Australia is notionally divided: the city, the country, the bush, and the Outback.
After hearing a politician speaking recently, I suspect that – apart from “the city” – these terms may no longer be “PC”. He spoke of “regional Australia”, “rural Australia”, and “remote Australia”. (The alliteration is nice.) The context made it reasonably clear that “regional” corresponded to “the country”, “rural” to “the bush”, and “remote” to the “Outback”.
Maybe there has to be a periodic refreshing of some terminology in order to throw off any undesirable value judgements that have become associated with the older terms. For example, although many of Australia’s “bush” dwellers would be happy to own that description, some city dwellers may well think of “bush” as implying a lack of sophistication, whereas “rural” does not carry the same baggage.
PC or not, I don’t intend to start referring to “remote regions” instead of “the Outback”. The Outback is by its nature remote, but to my mind also has a rich heritage of additional meaning, to do with matters such as exploration, climate, and lifestyle.
Do you agree?