BARNABY Joyce’s dual citizenship debacle has helped inspire the choice of Kwaussie as Australia’s official word of the year.
The Australian National Dictionary Centre director Amanda Laugesen says Kwaussie - a blend of Kiwi and Aussie - came to prominence particularly on social media during the constitutional crisis that engulfed several senators and MPs who discovered they were dual citizens this year.
Mr Joyce was forced to contest a by-election last Saturday, which he won in a convincing landslide, after the High Court found him to be a dual New Zealand-Australian citizen.
Dr Laugesen said the centre believed that Kwaussie was first used in a 2002 New Zealand newspaper in relation to actor Russell Crowe.
“He was described as a Kwaussie - what you get when you cross a Kiwi who can’t decide whether they’re a Kiwi or an Aussie,” she said.
“Subsequent evidence suggests its use is predominantly Australian, found chiefly in social media, and also found with spelling variants including Kwozzie and Kwozzy.
“Thanks to the two Kwaussies identified as ineligible to sit in parliament, Barnaby Joyce and Greens senator Scott Ludlam, the term is now becoming better known.” Kwassie was picked as the winner from a short list of words selected by staff at the Australian National Dictionary Centre, which with Oxford University Press publishes the Australian National Dictionary of words and phrases unique to Australia.
Other words and phrases that made the short list included:
* Robodebt debt - a debt incurred as a result of the Department of Human Services’ automated data matching and debt recovery program
* WAxit - a term for the potential or hypothetical departure of Western Australia from the Australian federation
* Makarrata - the Aboriginal word describes a ceremonial ritual that aims to restore peace after a dispute
* Jumper punch - an illegal punch disguised as the action of grabbing hold of the opponent’s jumper during a game of Aussie Rules
* Postal survey - a survey conducted by post, much like the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey in 2017