Politically Correct?

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?


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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One Response to Politically Correct?

  1. Richard Kessling says:

    The Outback has, as you say, emotional connotations for many people, not only for most Australians, I suspect.

    For me, I believe for many, The Outback is metaphore, redolant of culture, that of the originals [and their troubles with the first boat-people], and for most of us, Johnny-come-lately’s, who for both good and ill [has it ever, or elsewhere, been otherwise], have made this continent home.

    Remote? That’s the gadget I use for changing TV channels, when I can find where I put it. Rename ‘The Outback’ “remote”? Hang on, I seem to have mislaid that. What was that? Rural? Ah yes: don’t deal with the bull-dust as well as I once did. Used to find it hysterically funny when the car got buried to the chassis in it.

    Talk about laugh; then; but no longer. The bull-dust is a deal harder to dig oneself out of these days.

    Hey Dazza. Will you stop posting stuff that boggles the mind, thanks


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