The “pommie bashing” business name deemed too offensive to be registered

There’s a number of interesting Australian business names out there: A Salt and Battery, Curl Up and Dye, Ones and Twos
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There’s a number of interesting Australian business names out there: A Salt and Battery, Curl Up and Dye, Ones and Twos plumbing, Massive Weiners, Holy Sheet – just to name a few. But when it comes to an Aussie slang term for our British comrades, it’s absolutely out of the question.

According to Australian Financial Review, the business name “pommiebasher” cannot be registered because it may be offensive to some people if the word is taken out of the sporting rivalry context between Australia and England, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal found.

A sports merchandise business tried to register the business name “pommiebasher” but the Australian Securities and Investments Commission refused because it considered the name to be offensive.

It’s a fairly unassuming business, selling Pommiebasher-branded merchandises such as T-shirts, beer and stubbie holders via pommiebasher.com.

Perhaps the bets part of this story is the irony that the business owner is a Brit, and is more than OK with the term.

The business says they “celebrate the unique rivalry and camaraderie of the Aussies and the Brits, and everyone else in sports”.

“It may be said that we Pommiebashers yap a bloody blue streak now and then. Sometimes we might even get a bit carried away—especially after a few coldies. But when it comes to the importance of our shared history and heritage with the old Pommie rival, we’re always as sober as a judge.

“Aussies and Poms have long been rivals on the sports field, but we’ve also been comrades on the battlefield—and we know our fellow Pommiebashers would want that honoured and preserved.

“We’re not at liberty to let the details slip just yet, but we’re putting in hard yards to secure a little ripper of a deal that will see 10% of all revenues from Pommiebasher products put towards protecting that history”, says the website.

Interestingly, the advertising regulator Advertising Standards Board found the word “pom” was generally acceptable in advertising as it is a term with affectionate overtones.

The Pommiebasher website also states, “The driving force behind Pommiebasher is a bloke by the name of Peter Hanlon. Believe it or not, he was born a Pom”.

“Peter set on a journey of cultural discovery that led to the development of the Pommiebasher brand: a fun celebration of the history, rivalry and mutual respect”.

So if Peter doesn’t find it offensive, but the Government does, what do others think? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Is ‘pom’ an offensive word?

  1. Bev Smith-Trim

    I don’t like the term used in the name of the business at all. I don’t care that the business is owned by a British person. I am 100% Aussie, born within two miles (then) of the Adelaide GPO. With so many restrictions on the slang names of other races I think the word used in this story should also be restricted. Why is it OK to use that term against white people when we have to be so careful with races of other skin colour.?

    • Jacqueline Mordaunt

      And the reason the British business owner doesn’t care is because he would be laughing all the way to the bank, nothing like putting down another race group to make you money in this country. We are not grown up enough like Singapore or Hong Kong for instance where hundreds of different race groups co-exist without calling each other names.

    • Maggie Geeves

      O bev Smith-Trim, the world needs laughter not political correctness how very sad to lose the old Aussie ways

    • Bev Smith-Trim

      Maggie Geeves I agree entirely – but I do not like how some people are “fair game” and others are so “protected”. It is getting very hard to have a relaxed conversation these days without offending someone.

    • Maggie Geeves

      People jumping on the bandwagon Bev, thinking maybe there’s a dollar to be had when did we ever become so sensitive, do remember as a young one, if a man on a building site whistled at you , you secretly though thats nice, but nowdays lets sue you stepped on my feelings load rubbish Happy new Year Bev hope its a good one

    • Bev Smith-Trim

      Thanks Maggie. I lost weight and got a whistle from someone – I was so “chuffed” it was such a thrill. Hmmmm maybe I had better diet again – although at my age the grey hair would be a deterrent to whistles I think.

    • Maggie Geeves

      lol bev thats right , nice feeling im gonna try I said try and lose some weight, and if anybody wants to flirt with me i would feel grateful especially at my age, lol I watched that interview on the news when The Man flirted with the interviewer i wanted to say smile lovely, when u get my age you are invisable lol

  2. Libbi Elliot

    I am an Australian I was born here and so has generations of my family if you asked me I would have said that is derogatory name. We need to be very careful with anything like this we have people here from all over the world and what next the Asian Bashing store opens up? I will see what the British Aussie’s have to say

  3. Allan Clune

    Should have called it the Whinging Pom Lol😎😎😎😎😎😎🍺🍺🍺🍺

  4. Allan Clune

    Should have called it the Whinging Pom Lol😎😎😎😎😎😎🍺🍺🍺🍺

  5. Rosalind Battles

    I would be offended by that name and I was born here to, I don’t like racist things, we have people in Aus from all over the world

  6. Tony Glanville

    For sure it should be banned. If a business name took a shot Muslims it most certainly would be banned.

  7. David James

    They would lose customers because many Aussie’s who were born here avoid anything that smacks of racism

    • Ian James Cook

      That’s a joke. I was going to move to Australia back in the 80’s and called it off because I was not comfortable with the blatant negative racism.

    • Robyn Rylands

      So Ian cook what about what hoes on n your country. Please don’t tell us there is no racism in Britain.

    • Libbi Elliot

      where are you from Ian? I most certainly am not racist to anyone , where ever they are from

    • Angie Wood

      Oh yes British are racist They are still kicking Gypsies out of their homes !!!!!!

    • Jennifer Thomas

      I believe racism is rife in any country by certain individuals/groups. How is it that Australians can cry racism when their govt is kicking NATIVE Australians off their reservations so they can mine the area all in the name of money when they were herded there in the first place.

    • Anne Webber

      Jennifer Thomas, I agree with your sentiments, but its money, not racism, that motivates these actions…and money always seems to win. The LNP are always looking after their wealthy mates, and get rewarded by ‘donations’ 🌸

    • Dennis Hewitt  

      How can it be racist, when, for many of us we go back only a few generations and what do we find? POMS !!!!! Whether they got kicked out of Pomrock for knocking off someone’s dirty hanky, or came here voluntarily.
      We are of them, but not with them. If we are “racist” towards Brits, then we are also racist towards ourselves. Go figure.

    • Ian James Cook

      Robyn Rylands There is racism everywhere, including NZ where I live, But I encountered constant “in your face” racism, not directed at me, but racist comments usually turned up in conversations. I am of Scottish and Irish descent. I was intrigued that in early days the focus was on Greek,Italian and other Mediterranean people, about 10 years later they were mates, and the Vietnamese were the target.

    • Libbi Elliot

      Ian if you have probably an Irish accent at your feet in delight, I have a passion for Irish accents, it is such sing song way to speak

    • Jennifer Thomas

      Anne Webber Agreed it is the money but if it were any other set of human beings occupying the land they would go about the correct channels and process instead of tactics used.

  8. Fran Spears

    I think its probably the “basher” part that’s got people riled. I know lots of poms. The term pommie doesnt seem to offend them at all.

    • Libbi Elliot

      why should it Fran? when I was in school we were taught that it means Person of Mother England..what is so offensive about that?

      • Elaine Henderson  

        I was taught pom meant prisoner of his majesty, for when the first fleet came out. But it’s certainly not an offensive term, any more than Aussie is. I think it’s the basher part that people don’t like.

    • Fran Spears

      Nothing Libbi. I dont know that the basher part is tasteful, but I’m guessing they didnt mean much by it.

    • Lisa Drury Hudson

      I was told initially it was ‘Prisoner of Mother England’ which makes sense if it went back that far, but it doesn’t, it’s folk etymology. It is more likely it is derived from pomegranate and the fact that ‘chums’ got so red in the sun before acclimatising – ‘looking like a ‘pommy granate’.
      However the term applied for by this company is offensive, we should not in this day and age be using such terms.
      I get called a ‘pom’ by friends (because of my ‘uppercrust accent’ – their term), lol and don’t find it offensive because it is said in friendship and fun but I do get offended when it’s said in a derogatory manner.

    • Fran Spears

      Pommie Basher us actually what the british immigrants called Aussies who ran them down so we as Aussies shiuld be the ones taking offence. Im not though. Big deal.

    • Jim Briggs

      Libbi Elliot Actually Libby, the term was Prisoner of mother England, though no one seems to be certain that even that is correct.

    • Libbi Elliot

      NO NO NO Jim Briggs ..dang had to look this up before cause some dill told me it stood for convicts, well my family came here as convicts and I have never been called a Pommie in my life. well why do we all to the ones the ones with the British accents Pommies..I will try to find the link..let me add nor have I ever know what discrimination was.. mainly because I live in the country I was born in, I am assuming. No one should discriminate against others

    • Libbi Elliot

      here you go that took one minute pommie
      A derogatory term started by Australians to describe recent British immigrants. There is no proof that it had to do with the acronym Prisoners of Her Majesty. It is more likely that it was an abbreviation of the word pomegranate and referred to the flush complexion of Brits (like a pomegranate’s flesh) or it was chosen to rhyme with immigrant (like “Larry Flint”). http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=pommie

    • Libbi Elliot

      I can’t find the person of Mother England which sounds nicer that pomegranate, but I was taught that in school and if I use the term that is what I mean . And to be honest I can’t remember the last time I did it was so long ago

    • Christa Caldecott

      POM stands for Prisoner of the Motherland, referring to those deported from UK to Australia for crimes like theft (of a loaf of bread) etc. Then came the ten pound poms and the free settlers. I am one of the free settlers.
      Most pommies don’t care what the Aussies call them…..all good fun.
      I see nothing wrong with the company name, but suspect the “basher” bit may be the problem due to all the violence going on.

  9. Rosemary Taylor

    I am English and when I came to Oz !I suffered many racial taunts . However we Brits have a good sense of humour and we laughed it off,

  10. Sue Leighton

    I am oh so tired of all this ‘political correctness’!! (I couldn’t believe this week that a journalist, of all people, was offended by a little harmless flirtation!) How many names have Australians given to those who have emigrated and built this country – Wogs, Poms, Chinks……the list is endless. It’s not what you say but it’s the way that you say it!

    • Robert Hind

      And we have now grown up a bit as a multicultural nation. We no longer refer to “Wogs, Poms, Chinks”.

    • Maureen Hogan

      Sue Leighton, the incident you are referring to was far from a “little harmless flirtation”. It was inappropriate, offensive workplace harassment. There is no place in society for that kind of behaviour

    • Robert Hind

      Peter Burakowski – I’m sure you weren’t intending your comment to be rude to Maureen.

    • Jacqueline Mordaunt

      Wogs, poms, chinks are offensive said in any way, but how would you know, you’ve never been called one.These are terms that ignorant aussies use.

    • Sue Leighton

      Robert Hind Of course we have grown up and are much more aware of using terms that may offend. Personally, I don’t like being referred to as ‘elderly’! Haha.

    • Sue Leighton

      Maureen Hogan I found in to be a bit of a ‘storm in a teacup’ but that’s what the media loves to do – put things out of proportion. Again, I would reiterate – it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it!

    • Sue Kelly

      I totally agree Sue I am Pommie born and class it as a term of endearment not a derogatory term

    • Clare Mckenzie

      Even Prince Charles laugh at the memory of the boys here at the boarding school he attended called him a Pommie bastard…pom ok just don’t add bastard …ffs lol

    • Sue Leighton

      Jacqueline Mordaunt Oh yes I have. My family were referred to as ‘Ten Pound Poms’ when we emigrated here in 1965; Pommie Whingers – although we weren’t. I can’t remember either Mum or Dad being offended. We were all just grateful to be given the opportunity to live a new life in a warm country.

    • Jacqueline Mordaunt

      Sue Leighton, well I certainly wasn’t grateful. It was horrible being a member of a disrespected minority group and why should I be grateful? My family had left a beautiful home in Somerset with many lovely friends. My father was offered a job with higher wages here. It was a degrading experience! grateful!!! I wasn’t a starving economic refugee, I had nothing to feel grateful about.

    • Lisa Drury Hudson

      JacquelineMordaunt I hope you’ve got past all that now and moved forward positively. I too came with my parents in 1963, dad was posted here with the army. We got teased, name called etc quite a bit, sure it was upsetting at the time, we soon learned to give it back and developed mutual respect. European migrants got much worse treatment sadly.
      We loved Australia so much that my parents decided to stay and we never looked back and our family has gone from strength to strength including mum having our own little ‘Aussie’ in 1966.

    • Lee Horrocks

      In no way was this harmless flirtation, go and read what he actually said, not flirtatious, downright crude.

    • Roselyn Waters

      Cant believe Lisa Drury Hudson and jacquline mordaunt are still whinging ..get over it ..do you think we carry on when called bawdy aussies? When not all of us are? Anyway uf you dont like it go back. Its poms like you that give the rest of c the lovely peopoe who immigrate here the name “whinging poms” you still have choices you dont have to stay!

    • Jacqueline Mordaunt

      Lisa Drury Hudson, yes I did develop into quite a little toughie at school and I’m sure that has served me well in my life. My father became a successful business owner employing 34 Australians for 20 years until he retired. All of our family are happily settled here and contributing well to society.

    • Jacqueline Mordaunt

      Roselyn Waters, you sound like a very ignorant woman.”If you don’t like it go back?” So because I was not born here I’m not entitled to say anything critical about Australia? The height of ignorance and discrimination.

    • Judy Chappell

      People just have to learn to understand Aussies have nick names for everything & these days not be so precious, if your overseas people also have there own idiocies & you learn fast to fit in & understand,some countries language & ways very different to ours..like Roselyn Waters comment to Jacqueline spot on…

    • Christa Caldecott

      I came here 29 years ago and, in the main found the Aussies to be very nice and friendly. However, I also encountered hostility which I met head on. I was once told by a Regional Bank Manager that he didn’t like POMs, but he made me work for him. What he didn’t know was that I hated Australia at the time (missed my family so much back in UK) so his hostility didn’t bother me in the slightest. One day he called me “a know all pommie bitch” after he disputed the word “bade” and said it didn’t exist, so I quoted Shakespeare to him and called him an ignorant Aussie ———. I fully expected to be sacked on the spot, but he burst out laughing and apologised for his remark and said no-one had ever called him that before. We then became good friends, I settled down, and have loved Australia ever since.

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