Sunday, December 14, 2003

Why does Australia still have a cultural cringe? Why do we really care what ill-informed foreigners think?

"Hong Kong-based expat Chris Baker argues that the international perception of Australia is no longer one of a country that prides itself on tolerance, openness and fair play."

His point being? Is that all we care about? International perception? We're not interested in whether or not WE consider Australia to be a country that prides itself on tolerance, openness and fair play. What is international perception, anyway? It's only how we are distorted in the international media, which anyone with any common sense realises is a load of bollocks anyway.

"Some of their questions are focused on specific domestic or foreign policy, while others are more general lobs at Australian 'values'. Why does Australia imprison refugees in the desert?" We don't imprison refugees in the desert, we imprison illegal immigrants in detention centres, just like every other country in the world. Or should we let criminals roam free to placate Guardian readers? Some of these detention centres are in the middle of bloody nowhere. 98% of Australia is in the middle of bloody nowhere. Ask someone who has legally applied to emigrate to Australia whether illegal immigrants should be granted automatic entry.

"Are Australians frightened of Muslims?" Muslims who plant bombs in pubs and planes and shoot at pedestrians from moving vehicles? Absolutely. If you're not you need your head read.

"Is Australia really racist towards Asians?" That's so vague and inaccurate it's hard to know how to respond. Why not just yell "you smell!" from a speeding car?

"Why did Australia support the war in Iraq without the support of the UN?" More to the point, why didn't the UN support its own resolutions? Perhaps the vocal objections to any action against Iraq had more to do with anti-Israeli attitudes, outstanding loans and the domestic re-election policies of certain European politicians. Why are journalists in Australia so keen to believe foreign politicians lies?

"Why did Australia close its Parliament to the public during the visit of George W. Bush?" Because a bunch of non-representative left-wing ratbags intended to disrupt proceedings in a very un-Australian way, not for any genuine reasons of protest, but solely as a knee-jerk reaction against the Liberal party.

"Why does Australia admire its sportspeople more than its thinkers?" I consider that a positive trait. Nobody is much interested in religion or politics in Australia, both of which are responsible for more wars, death and suffering than anything else in the history of human existence. How many million deaths has cricket caused?

"Why aren't teachers respected more in Australia?" If you went to a government school in Australia you'd know the answer to that one.

"Why did Australia ban the movie 'Ken Park' (which ironically was screened here uncensored and without much comment the same week that half a million people took to the streets to defend civil society and free speech?)" Now this is a good question. Sometime the OFLC bans things for reasons no one can much work out. I believe it was because of the depictions of under-age sex. But at least you can object to it without worrying about the secret police arresting you and your family in the middle of the night. I note that 'Alice in Wonderland,' 'Lady Chatterly's Lover' and The Koran are or were until recently banned in China.

Ask any tourist or visitor who has just visited Australia whether we aren't the friendliest, most helpful, open-minded, fairest, most-tolerant, happiest, luckiest people in the world. There's your answer.


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