Learn to Be Understood

‘We are one but we are many’ goes the patriotic song: We Are Australians. For strata management, as for so many other aspects of Australian public and private administration, this is not the truth. One relatively simple legal concept is expressed across our country in eight different languages, a different one for each of our states and territories.

So what; the Peoples Front for State and Territorial Rights will argue in eight separate submissions; does it really matter that we call swimming attire, cossies in one state, togs in another, swimmers somewhere else and suits in yet another – odd, but does it really matter? Are we lesser swimmers for this oddity? Is our beach culture diminished? Do our swimwear designers suffer for this lack of uniformity? These are the things that make us interesting and break the conversational ice when we move from one area to another. The embarrassment and subsequent ribbing of mistakes made of a cruel and parochial language is part of the national fabric – to be celebrated not denied.

The People for the Abolition of the States and the Supremacy of the Commonwealth in all Respects (you do the acronym), not surprisingly has a different and more complex view of the world. In their perfect world of master planned cities built around a model of concentric circles, there would be one set of laws, one set of forms to fill in and one all powerful public service to keep us in line and definitely, there would be one language. To them a bag is something you carry things in, a port is a fortified wine served after dinner and a suitcase is something used to protect formal attire when travelling. What is there to be confused about?

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