Lifestyle Pop Thoughts Travel

Great Southern Land

3 minutes to read

There is nothing defensibly Australian about me. I’m not tan. I fucking hate prawns, and the thought of eating them cold and freshly disemboweled from a ceramic bowl makes me feel unwell. I don’t think an Aussie band deserved to win the Hottest 100 this year. And the accent – drawn out vowels and an upward inflection – has evaded me since I was a lisping kid attending semi-regular speech therapy sessions.

Of course, none of these things are particularly Australian. They’re flattened cultural markers, known and satirized all across the globe. So maybe I don’t have to worry that they don’t apply to me.

But then, what makes me Australian?

Is it the clothes I wear? Probably not. Australia has no national dress, globalization has homogenised local styles, and I’m not Crocodile Dundee. Yet.

But then, what makes me Australian?

Is it the fact that I was born here? Adherence to clumsy value-sets like ‘having a go’? Loyalty to the Queen? Loyalty to the government?

No, definitely not. And it’s becoming more obvious that so much of our culture is entirely generated, and has nothing to do with us. After all, how many times have members of the government invoked those aforementioned value-sets in a bid to win votes? How much of the culture – the movies, books, looks, songs and dances – remains unpackaged and unexported? And we’re way, way past the point where we need a queen.

But then, what makes me Australian?

Hill_60_Australian_Recruting_poster_1915Shit-all, apparently. It’s getting to the point where we have to say who isn’t an Australian – refugees, immigrants, ‘terrorists’, folks who look foreign despite having lived here for generations – and shit all over them in order to feel like we belong to something more definable. And the government spies on us, and has managed to fuck a mining/logging industry into every semi-unspoiled piece of land we’ve got. And servo pies are declining in quality.

We’re a nation suffering an identity crisis – we don’t even own pav, for fuck’s sake – striding into the future, wearing a suit of 20th century values.  Every year – with every new refugee ‘crisis’, every overblown ‘attack on our freedom’, every debate on just how many rights women/refugees/Aboriginals should get this annum – I feel less and less like an Australian, and more like somebody who eats, sleeps, fucks, works and lives in Australia.

But then, none of those things I worry about are Australian. I like to believe in mates. And the potential for many mates to do great things. I don’t have to believe in my government. Or in the queen. Or even like them.

Australia has had a government problem for two hundred years. Fuck them; they don’t have licence over me. If I want to feel Australian, I just have to do right by the people who do right by me, and some people who haven’t yet, but will. Watch Mad Max once a year.  And believe in the prevailing goodness of everybody who lives here, regardless of whether they always did.