bbq sausage barbecue election
(Image: Getty Images)

The election IS ON, and so are the cliches. Prime Minister Scott Morrison was already pulling out the usual election campaign jargon when he announced he’d called the election yesterday, as was opposition leader Bill Shorten. In preparation for the next five long weeks, Crikey has pulled together a guide to help you read between the lines when the pollies bring out their old tropes.

The only poll that matters is the one on election day: I just lost my 29th Newspoll in a row. (See also: “I don’t pay attention to the polls”.)

This is the most important election in our lifetime/ever/for the next X years: You must vote for [insert party here] or risk the country’s future — a scare tactic to make voters panic about voting for the other party.

If a swing’s on, it’s on: One of many meaningless phrases used in commentating elections — if voters have changed their support from one party to another, the seat/government could change hands.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial and get Crikey straight to your inbox

By submitting this form you are agreeing to Crikey's Terms and Conditions.

This will be 150 [these days, 151] by-elections: But some are more important than others.

I’m not going to talk about hypotheticals: I don’t want to answer that question (see also, “Let me be very clear” before changing topic and “I’ll leave the commentary to you”.)

A fair go: We know what you deserve, and we’ll treat you better than the other party. Both leaders had pulled this out within hours of the election being called, so you can expect to hear it a whole lot more over the next five weeks. (Related: “We’ll govern for hard-working families”.)

I have a plan: I might not be telling you what or how just yet, but I promise I know what I’m doing.

At this election there is a clear choice: And you should choose us!

If you can’t govern yourselves, you can’t govern the country: Especially useful in recent years, used to draw attention to dysfunction in the opposite party and distract from any such dysfunction or incompetence in one’s own party.

It’s not won/lost yet: It probably is won or lost, we just can’t admit it.

We’ll be governing for everyone, not just those who voted for us: You should vote for us even if we don’t stand for anything you believe in.

So it will be interesting to see what happens: I have no idea what’s going to happen.

Last minute swing back to X (anytime from the Wednesday before polling day): We’re hedging our bets/holding out hope that the polling isn’t right.

The hard work starts tomorrow (on election night): I’ve got a lot to do if I’m going to make good on any of those election promises.

Got a favourite election cliche (and translation)? Send it through to