Political Phrases and Idioms


The Australian go-to political catchphrases and idioms hold unfortunate commonplace in the rehearsed soliloquies of our nation’s finest pollies. 

Ahead of any election or post any budget announcement (like the one we’ve recently endured), speeches will usually contain this garden-variety political slagging. We start to see politicians toss around some coin phrases and terminology as loosely as they do their promises.

You’ve all heard them make an appearance in press conferences, interviews, and our personal favourites, smear campaigns.

You know the ones. They make you roll your eyes and cringe at an out-of-touch and overpaid politician trying to relate to the average Australian or stringing a couple of Aussie terms together (soiling them in the process) in hopes that they will tickle the heartstrings of the nation’s voters. 

And just to drive their point home, they repeat them. A lot.

In this bloodbath of political drivel lies a battle of the catchphrases. Pollies go head-to-head in a desperate competition of who can come up with the snappiest slogan. The winner is always self-declared and almost always reverts to rhyming something with the name of their opponent in a schoolyard-like showdown. 

But, we won’t put you through that any more than they have already. You deserve better.

We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly used phrases and idioms in political dialogue so you can play phrase bingo, or even turn it into a responsible adult’s drinking game. You’re welcome.

Fair Dinkum

(truthful, honest, fair etc.)

Fair Go

(to be given a fair chance at something)

Dodgy Deal

psst, keep an eye out for this one around budget time

(an under-the-table or unsanctioned agreement)


(equality, loyalty and friendship)


(persevering working class Australian)

Working Families

(hard-working Australian families)

Stop the Boats

(we’re not dignifying this with a definition)

Jobs and Growth

(the creation of jobs and subsequent economic growth)

Axe the Tax

(send the proposed or established tax whence it came)

Continuity and Change

(a satirical phrase used in American TV show ‘Veep’, but later noticeably repurposed by our pollies)

Moving Forward

(In the future)

Budget Black Hole

(federal budget deficit)

Standing Up For (something or someone)

(Defending/advocating for someone or something)

Did your favourite make the list?

If not, we’d love to hear yours!