‘Materiel’? Really?

by Julia Robinson

Early this year in a cabinet reshuffle the former Prime Minister Julia Gillard appointed Mike Kelly, the federal member for Eden–Monaro, as the Minister for Defence Materiel. It is a relatively new Ministry, created in 2010, responsible for military equipment and supply. Minister Kelly is in charge of the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO), part of the Department of Defence. The DMO currently lists among its ‘acquisition projects’ such things as armoured vehicles, communications and missile defence systems, aircraft, amphibious vehicles, and helicopters.

Mike Kelly is sworn in as Minister for Defence Materiel, February 2013.

‘Defence Materiel’—really? —asked one of our correspondents. Isn’t this just a pretentious French way to spell material? Well, apparently not, we discovered; it has a particular meaning in a military context. Continue reading

What’s the difference between a router and a rooter?

by Mark Gwynn

My daughter was recently helping me set up our new WiFi computing system at home by reading the instruction manual – something, to my detriment, I rarely do. As she was reading she mentioned something about a rooter which immediately made me smile, because I knew she was talking about the router we were trying to connect to the computer. The funny thing was that my daughter was neither aware of the Australian connotation of rooter nor the pronunciation of ‘router’.

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