• NITV's Malarndirri McCarthy. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
How did Tony Abbott and his knighthood incident, trump Julia Gillard and Nova Peris? NITV's Malarndirri McCarthy takes aim at the Macquarie Dictionary's word of the year for 2015.
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Malarndirri McCarthy

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22 Jan 2016 - 11:35 AM  UPDATED 1 Feb 2016 - 1:18 PM

What's in a name?

'noun a decision made by a political business leader without consultation with colleagues.

Captain's call perfectly encapsulates what happened in Australia over the past year. There has been an interesting change in usage; an infrequent item of the jargon of cricket makes the leap into politics and is now being used generally with an ironic tinge to it that is very Australian. -THE COMMITTEE'

On Thursday the Macquarie Dictionary's Committee announced 'captain's call' as the 2015 word of the year.

It's intriguing to note however, that the term had actually already entered the political vocabulary landscape three years ago this month.

'Olympian Nova Peris had to endure the pros and cons of forever being known as the 'captain's pick'.'

What is the difference I wonder, between a 'captain's call' and a 'captain's pick'?

What makes the 2015 'captain's call' the buzzword, as opposed to 'captain's pick' first utterred in 2013 by an Australian Prime Minister?

Both words have been championed by former Australian Prime Ministers, in Captain Tony Abbott and Captain Julia Gillard.

The words have defined their leadership styles during moments of decision making that all Australians may never really forget.

Gillard made her 'captain's pick' for Australia's first Indigenous female Senate candidate amidst political uproar in the Northern Territory.

Olympian Nova Peris had to endure the pros and cons of forever being known as the 'captain's pick'.

It's a choice of words that infiltrated the Australian political echelons well before Abbott chose to do the same by knighting Prince Philip, and installing Bronwyn Bishop as Speaker.

In 2013 critics joined in the dialogue following former Liberal Minister Peter Reith's article in The Drum, 'Gillard captain's pick: it's just not cricket'.

"PM Gillard's "captains pick" is just tokenism of the worst sort," wrote the former Minister. 

"The Gillard intervention demonstrates Gillard's contempt for the people of the NT and highlights that her judgement is very poor when she thinks she can get away with abandoning any commitment to the principle that the party organisation should decide who will represent their party. Gillard thinks a 'captain's pick' is ok but politics is not cricket. If she wants to pick a team then she should join a cricket club." 

Now if that's not already 'an infrequent item of the jargon of cricket' making ' the leap into politics', then maybe its just a 'phantom vibration syndrome' (2012 Word of the Year), where we just feel the sensation in the vibrating vocabulary from one Prime Minister to another.

How is it, that a decision over who will receive a knighthood resonated far more loudly in the favourite word challenge, than a decision over Australia's first Indigenous female senator?

'Captain's call' or 'captain's pick', either way only one person has a say while all else look on in wonder.

Maybe it's all just a 'first world problem' (2012 People's Choice Word) after all.

Malarndirri McCarthy is NITV's Senior Reporter.