'Democracy sausage' is Australia's word of the year

Bill Shorten enjoys a sausage bread roll during a visit to a polling booth at Strathfield North Public Schoolin Sydney. Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

Democracy sausage, the barbecued treat sold at polling stations at Australian elections, is the word of the year.

The phrase beat a shortlist including census fail, smashed avo, shoey (the act of drinking from a shoe), deplorables (those who are extremely conservative or reactionary) and Ausexit (calls for Australia to leave the United Nations).

The Australian National University’s (ANU) National Dictionary Centre selected democracy sausage because of its increased prominence in a year of election campaigns.

“Arguably, the democracy sausage has been one of the best things to come out of a tumultuous year in politics and political campaigning,” says centre director Dr Amanda Laugesen.

The term was first recorded in 2012 but usage increased significantly during the federal election in 2016, especially with the popularity of several websites set up to help voters find polling stations with sausage sizzles.

“Its use was also boosted by a controversial incident where opposition Leader Bill Shorten — who noted his sausage sandwich was the taste of democracy — ate his sausage from the middle.”

The 2016 Word of the Year and shortlist were selected by the editorial staff of the Australian National Dictionary Centre which, with Oxford University Press, publishes the Australian National Dictionary of words and phrases unique to Australia.

From the shortlist, census fail refers to the failure of the Australian Bureau of Statistics website on Census night.

Smashed avo became a topic when columnist Bernard Salt referred to young people spending money on eating smashed avocado on toast in cafes rather than saving to buy a home.

Hillary Clinton was criticised for elitism after describing Donald Trump supporters as deplorables during the US election.

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