Saturday, December 31, 2011

Queensland has its own slang?

Not mentioned below is that Queenslanders say "port" instead of "suitcase" and in the far North a bath is a "plunge"

THERE are many words which define us as being Queenslanders, some are on the way out, while others are travelling.

BEVANS are dying out in Queensland, replaced by their southern cousins, the Bogans.

Language expert Professor Roly Sussex says it is difficult to pinpoint why the southern insult is moving north, but suggests it might be due to the bulk of television programs being created in NSW and Victoria and exported to Queensland.

He says Queensland has done reasonably well to hold its own in the Strine stakes, propped up by popular words derived from our indigenous languages, including yakka (hard work), bung (dead or broken) and yabber (chat).

But there are others that are slipping out of use, such as by jingo to describe an ice block and pony for a small beer. Even smoko seems to be losing its grip.

And unless the term "Bernborough finish" - named after the mighty Toowoomba racehorse of the 1940s and meaning to come from behind to win - can mount its own revival, it too could slip away.

If that upsets, going for a glass, or bag, of goom, or goon, is proudly Queenslander ... particularly if it's XXXX or Bundy [beer or rum].

Prof Sussex says Queenslanders, particularly in the north, are hanging on to terms such as Windsor sausage to describe the processed meat popularly used in sandwiches despite the southern usage of Strasbourg, fritz or devon.

And it is still possible to add "eh" or "but" to the beginning or end of sentences without scorn in the Sunshine State, even if the rest of northern Australia does likewise.

Also "duchess" to describe a dressing table, is uniquely Queensland after being introduced into the lexicon in the 1970s, Prof Sussex says. [Rubbish! I remember it in routine use in the '40s]

More broadly, Prof Sussex said Australia's most popular linguistic gift to the world was the rising inflection, growing in use across the UK and US, particularly among youth. [I first heard it among Kiwis]

Making every statement sound in the end like a question is believed to have originated among Victorian women in the 1970s but has rapidly spread across Australia, Prof Sussex says, and now is heading overseas fuelled by popular television programs Neighbours and Home and Away.


School fees rising

Fees at Adelaide's elite schools will top $500 a week in 2012 as they are forced to cover rising costs. Since 2007, yearly fees at many of the state's top schools have risen by between $5000 and $6000, or 30 to 40 per cent, with at least five now charging more than $20,000 for Year 12.

About one in five SA students attended one of the state's 94 independent schools, many of which are in outer metropolitan and country areas and which charge low to moderate fees.

About the same number of students attended Catholic schools. Mercedes College and Rostrevor College were among the highest-charging schools in that sector.

Association of Independent Schools of SA executive director Garry Le Duff said the average fee rise was between 5.5 and 6.5 per cent.

He said the increases differed across year levels and at each school depending on their level of growth. "It's not in the interest of schools to set excessive fee rises but schools have a responsibility to remain viable," Mr Duff said. The fee rises ensured improvements that met parents' expectations and attracting the best teachers, he said.

Mr Le Duff said the latest Education Resources Index revealed costs had risen by 6.7 per cent for pre- and primary schools and 7.3 per cent for secondary schools.

He said the drivers included updating IT, teacher salaries especially with the roll-out of the national curriculum and the new SACE. "The cost of utilities - electricity, water and insurance - are imposing increasing burdens on schools," he said.

At Prince Alfred College the average fee increase was 5.5 per cent, but differed across year levels. Headmaster Kevin Tutt said the school worked to cut staff to deliver extra classroom resources.

"The fee structure next year reflects the increases in our operational costs and the rising cost of salaries and tuition expenses," he said.

St Peter's Girls principal Fiona Godfrey listed teacher salaries, technology upgrades and the school's preparation to implement the International Baccalaureate Diploma from 2013 as key reasons for the fee rise.

Private schools generally offer discounts for siblings.


Another Victorian hospital 'turns away' bleeding mother-to-be

A HEAVILY bleeding pregnant woman was turned away from Geelong Hospital and later found she had lost her baby, her husband says.

It is the second such case uncovered by the Herald Sun in a week.

The husband said: "I would have thought someone ... bleeding uncontrollably would have been enough of a priority to be seen by a doctor. Their lack of action ... could have contributed to my wife's subsequent miscarriage."

Guidelines say medical care won't change the odds of a threatened miscarriage ending in pregnancy loss.

The six-week pregnant woman, 28, began bleeding heavily on December 20. The man explained a nurse said the case was not a priority and that she should see a GP. "We left the hospital in absolute disgust, with my wife still bleeding and in tears," he said.

A Barwon Health spokesman said the woman had "left at her own risk".

Health Minister David Davis said he expected the hospital to investigate.


Australia's false prophets

Without question, 2011 was a year replete with hyperbole and false prophecy, which, come to think of it, is typical of our time.

JANUARY The new year has barely begun when Bob Ellis, the seer of Palm Beach, declares on the ABC's The Drum: "I alone, in all of Australia, think Labor will hold government" in NSW. Shortly before April Fools' Day, Barry O'Farrell leads the Coalition to one of the greatest victories in Australian political history. Earlier in January, reports emerge that environmentalist Tim Flannery predicted that, within this century, a "strong Gaia will actually become physically manifest". One person's Gaia is another's full moon.

FEBRUARY The former Labor leader Mark Latham asserts that "anyone who chooses a life without children, as [Julia] Gillard has, cannot have much love in them". He does not say whether this maxim applies to such departed childless types as Florence Nightingale and Mary MacKillop. Christine Assange, the sandal-wearing mother of the famous Julian, maintains: "What we're looking at here is political and legal gang-rape of my son." The reference is to Sweden's attempt to question Assange about sexual assault allegations.

MARCH Jonathan Green, the editor of The Drum, reflects on the end of the world. He envisages the final media coverage of "a dying globe" with "news helicopters aloft, still filming until at last there was nowhere to land". Independent senator Nick Xenophon opines that "the poker machine lobby reminds me a bit [of] the slave owners of the 19th century in the United States". Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella suggests that Julia Gillard is "as deluded as Colonel 'my people love me' Gaddafi".

APRIL Superannuated Trotskyite Alex Mitchell states that Libyans belong to several tribes and they would never fire on one another. Media tart Kathy Lette reckons that if you "mention 'the Queen' to most Aussie kids . . . they presume you're talking about Elton John". Nevertheless, Lette is first in the queue to meet the real Queen at the palace.

MAY Public-sector union boss John Cahill classifies the O'Farrell government's industrial relations reforms as "worse than Stalinist Soviet Union". He forgets that Stalin shot workers' advocates. Andrew Bolt tells his readers that, under the leadership of commissioner Christine Nixon, the Victorian Police force "was subjected to an almost Maoist program of re-education". He overlooked the fact that Mao's regime led to the deaths of 50 million Chinese.

JUNE The seer of Palm Beach is at it again. This time Ellis theorises in The Spectator Australia that Malcolm Turnbull "will accept a job on the Gillard front bench and thereafter intrigue to become . . . a Labor prime minister". The writer Geraldine Brooks foresees a "critical juncture" for the world environment and predicts a time when "there's not going to be any Wall Street, there's not going to be an economy". Brooks was the ABC Boyer lecturer this year.

JULY Stuart Littlemore pontificates: "I think most people are actually shits." He goes on to warn that it is a mistake "to heroise or demonise people". Really. Littlemore is a barrister/novelist. Geoffrey Robertson, QC, excitedly tells ABC News Breakfast that Rupert Murdoch "before the week is out may find himself under arrest or at least assisting the police with their inquiries". The reference was to the News of the World phone-hacking scandal. For the record, Murdoch was not arrested.

AUGUST Elizabeth Farrelly links American commentator Rebecca Hagelin's opposition to same-sex marriage with "ducking-stool type thinking. White-pointy-hood-type thinking. Taliban thinking." Fred Nile, MLC, equates the introduction of ethics classes in schools with secular humanism, which he says is the "philosophy that we saw during World War II with the Nazis and with the communists".

SEPTEMBER During a one-hour interview with Phillip Adams at the taxpayer-funded Byron Bay Writers' Festival, leftist functionary John Pilger alleges that the US President, Barack Obama, is a "war criminal". Pilger receives a standing ovation from the audience and a "10 out of 10 and a koala stamp" from Adams. The entire hour is replayed on ABC2. Writing in the New Statesman, Pilger depicts the Westfield shopping centre in London's East End at Stratford as "a vision of hell". Nevertheless, he bought a pair of sunglasses there. Raimond Gaita depicts Israel as a "criminal state".

OCTOBER Author and Tony Abbott-hater Susan Mitchell says that if the Coalition wins government she will "probably be locked up". She also maintains Gillard is "not within a whisker of becoming prime minister at this stage". Apparently, she is already anticipating the next election result. The Greens leader, Bob Brown, expresses the view that 700,000 coastal properties will be doomed by 2050. Dick Smith compares the Murdoch media to the Soviet Union.

NOVEMBER Herald Sun columnist Susie O'Brien argues that Alan Joyce "wants to kill" Qantas. Sky News commentator Greg O'Mahoney depicts the link between Fred Nile's Christian Democrats and the Shooters Party as the "guns and rosaries lobby". O'Mahoney is unaware that Protestants like Nile don't do rosaries - that's a Catholic thing. Former Labor MP John Brown maintains that the ABC's decision not to extend Deborah Cameron's contract "will leave this timeslot to non-intellectual idiots".

DECEMBER It's time to take (yet another) stance for Assange. Michael Pearce, SC writes that Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich has called for Assange to be "murdered". And ethicist Leslie Cannold tells ABC TV that "high-profile American politicians" have urged that he be assassinated. Neither produce evidence for their claims. The year ends with The Age's house leftie Michael Leunig bemoaning the "dreary dictates of materialism". He is one of the paper's higher-paid contributors.


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