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Friday, 29 April 2011

Sad Truth About Australia

When I moved to Australia from South Africa in 2002, I too had been conned by the Australian marketing machine. Of course there's the genuine stuff: the Anzac legend, Gallipoli, exploits in the world wars, and so on. But there’s also the latter-day myth: the bronzed Aussie crocodile wrestler, the nation that can take on any sporting code you can imagine and many you can’t and win, the nation that punches above its weight in wars. It’s that later bit that turns out just to be so much marketing spin.

The harsh reality is that the modern Australia is a nation of crybaby wieners.

Let’s take a couple of examples.

Australia is pretty low on the list of refugee destinations. Countries that really do it tough host millions of refugees (some of the worst as a consequence of bungled wars Australia took part in: Iraq, Afghanistan), and tens of thousands of boat people arrive on the Mediterranean shores of Europe every year. A few thousand people arrive by leaky boat at most in a bad year, and politicians of all stripes are falling over themselves to score points by thinking up new ways of being cruel to people who’ve lost everything. Never mind that seeking asylum is not illegal and Australia is a signatory to a convention that makes it explicitly illegal to punish asylum seekers.

The biggest wiener of all is leader of the federal parliamentary opposition, Tony Abbot, who portrays himself as tough, but he is constantly whining. Tony, here's a hint. Looking buff in a speedo doesn't make you tough. Taking on hard issues fearlessly does.

That takes me to another of Abbott’s can’t do issues, climate change.

Aussie politicians are constantly pushing the line that no problem is too easy, that we can’t rush out and be the first, that we can only punch below our weight. What was that again? Weren’t we supposed to punch above our weight? And in any case, this is all bolstered by a campaign of cowardly lies. The claim that Australia would be a world leader in carbon taxes for example is at least 20 years out of date, and about 15 countries have already put such a tax in place or have plans to do so by the end of 2011.

If it was only Tony Abbott, it wouldn’t be a problem, but the rest of his “Liberal” Party is just about as bad, except a small minority who are largely ignored by the media. And the ruling Labor Party is even more terrified of these issues: they bend to the wind whenever it emanates from Abbott’s rear end.

And far from the physicality portrayed in the movies and on TV, Australia a few years back reportedly overtook the US as the most obese country in the world (to be fair, WHO stats show that neither country is really the fattest in the world, but the numbers are scary nonetheless ... a newspaper got the facts wrong: who would have guessed?).

So there you have it. Australia today is not a nation of all-conquering warlike athletic crocodile hunters. It’s a nation of obese slugs who use their cars to move from the food court to the adjacent supermarket, that punches below its weight and is terrified of taking on hard issues.

I’m moving back to South Africa where the problems are tough but so are the people.

A bit strong?

I wrote this on the back of several days of back to back whining on talkback radio about asylum seekers, and letters in The Australian invoking the Anzac legend as a reason to be cruel to people who are desperate because they’ve fled danger only to be treated worse than criminals (who are entitled to an expeditious trial, not indefinite detention). The Australia of the Anzac legend, the real one, not the version of the whiners, is still there. I saw it in the Brisbane floods when so many people pitched in to help without prompting. There are genuine politicians here who have principles. It’s the constructed national psyche of the Hanson-Howard era that I find objectionable. There are plenty of real people who don’t share that view of Australianness. I just wish the mass media would give them the air time they give the whiners.

11 comments:

Carol said...

In the 50's Australia had the 'Winging Poms' who duly returned home complaining about all that was Australia, often to turn around and return to these shores. Sounds like we now have the 'Winging South Africans'.
All I can say is superiority creates separation.
Enjoy making the tough decisions in your lucky superior country while we slugs slog on.
Disappointing Philip, disappointing.

Carol Shantal

Philip Machanick said...

Carol, it's not quite like that. I am challenging the self-image that the Howard-Hanson years have imposed on this country. A lot of Australians do not identify with that self-image, but that's what we constantly get dumped on us by the mainstream media.

Penguin 515 said...

I agree with you Carol. I am a South African who moved here in 2008 and it was the best decision ever. South Africans need to get off their 'high horse' So many winging South Africans in Oz I try not to associate with the ones who winge. Australia is a fantastic country with proper leadership. I look forward to getting old here and contributing to this great island

tombraider000 said...

Haters gotta hate. Adios SA whinger

Philip Machanick said...

@tombraider000: I don't hate anyone. I hate people who are like that.

Anonymous said...

Why dont you move back to your hell hole called South Africa , rape murder capitol of the world.

Philip Machanick said...

Anonymous: I am back in South Africa. If you like the way the Murdoch media portray Australia and the kind of country Tony Abbott wants Oz to be, good luck.

Anonymous said...

Go back to the apartheid, everybody here hates white south africans anyway.

Kurt said...

I total agree on this comment. Australia was good, but now it’s just a nation of crying kids.
Alcohol and cars, is the top of the list, but working 5 min longer to finish something…. No.
Only when you pay me 150% or 200% of my Salary. But if they come 10 late to work that should be no problem, saying Sorry will do….
By now I know a few companies which would not employ a kiwi or an Australian just because of their attitude towards work. I still have a company in Australia but for me it’s the same rule. No Aussies, no Kiwis.
Aussies like to play with big ones like USA, UK, China etc. but nobody takes them serous.
Aussie are getting more and more like Americans. Mostly overweight, obey to the government like slaves, wearing a visibility west for hanging up a pictures and if you ask them why. It’s the law.
Sorry but you guys are completely brainwashed by to government and nobody stands up anymore.
For me it’s time to back to Europe I will sell my company to an Asian guy for a good price. At least then I know, that it will survive and give work to some people which are actually willing to work.
Not ever thing is perfect in Europe but at least we fight for our rights over there and are not just a bunch of sheep’s.

Kurt said...

Go back to the apartheid, everybody here hates white south africans anyway

that's exactly what he was talking about.
Anonymous comments like this...
you just confirm his statement

Reagan Armstrong said...

Australian government was formed by rapists and other convicts. Not all Australians are bad, but a mass load of yous need to stop sucking the tit. It makes yous look like whining bitches.