I sat on him pretty hard for his pretensions, and paid him out for all the patronage he'd worked off on me .. and told him never to pretend to me again he was a battler
Henry Lawson, While the Billy Boils (1896).
The "little Aussie battler" - that resonant Australian archetype which has been around for at least a century - was powerfully captured in The Man from Snowy River where a small, unassuming horseman, without bragging about his abilities, triumphed over those who would consider themselves his better.
No manners at all, Sydney Morning Herald, March 23, 2002
In many cultures, society has little or no time for the poorer people in the land. They are looked down upon as not being productive, as not being well educated, as being part of the "lower class".
Well, all those rules change in Australia. As discussed, the term lower class is grossly offensive, and is never, ever used (unlike, for example, in England or, sadly, in Canada). We left all of that stuff behind us in the Old World. Don't try it here.
Consistent with this, rather than being dismissed as irrelevant, people who struggle to make ends meet are referred to as battlers. The are seen as battling on, defiant in the face of the system. Struggling. Fighting. Surviving.
And these battlers constitute a considerable force in Australian politics. Labour, for instance, has traditionally considered itself to be representative of the battlers, whereas the Liberals have been their enemy. In modern times the policies of the major parties have merged in many ways, and while both would claim to be representative of the struggling worker, somewhat ironically it is possible that neither is.
Either way, Australians have a real soft spot for battlers, and a political party ignores them completely at their peril.
NOTE: You can learn a lot more about battlers in The Aussie English CD.
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