Australian PrehistoryHistory - AustralianAustralian CultureAustralian SportAustralian IdentityAustralian animalsCultural Comparisons Between Australia and other Countries


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Cultural awareness: to stereotype or not?

Argentina
Emotion & innovation

America
Group vs individual

China
Tradition & change

Canadacanada
Cults of multiculturalism

England
Warden & Convicts

France
Failed revolutionaries

Germany
Thinkers and Drinkers

Ireland
Immigration and emmigration

Indonesia
Colonial masters

India Cultural Differences Between Australia and India
Convicts and Maharajas

Japan
Samurai & Convicts

New Zealand
Convicts vs Do gooders

Papua New Guinea
Chiefs and Elites

Russia
East or west?

South Africa
Kaffirs and Convicts

South Korea
The middle-powers

"Australians appear very naive to the newly-arrived Japanese. They speak the same way with everyone."
Hiro Mukai - Japanese

"I can personally affirm that to stand before an audience of beaming Australians and make even the mildest quip about a convict past is to feel the feel the air conditioning immediately elevated."Bill Bryson - American

"You have no need to feel iffy about a country where "relaxation is the aim". There's nothing to be worried about if "no worries" is your mantra. People have killed for less."
Soumya Bhattacharya - Indian

" What sort or peculiar capitalist country is this in which the workers' representatives predominate in the upper house....and yet the capitalist system is in no danger?"
Vladimir Lenin- Russian

"You feel free in Australia. There is great relief in the atmosphere - a relief from tension, from pressure, an absence of control of will or form. The skies open above you and the areas open around you"
D.H Lawrence - English

" The Australian, who are the men our troops have had opposite them so far, are extraordinarily tough fighters. The German is more active in the attack, but the enemy stakes his life in the defence and fights to the last with extreme cunning."
Major Ballerstedt - German

"New Zealanders who emigrate to Australia raise the IQ of both countries."
Robert Muldoon - New Zealander

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Australian Story

Cultural Differences between Australia and England

Australia’s Convict heritage forms a kind of glue that binds it to Britain. Of course, British and Australians naturally approach the heritage in a different way. For the Brits, the heritage helps explain why Australians are uncultured, why they are dynamic, and above all, why they inferior to the English. For example, David Monre wrote in 1842,

"The extraordinary rapid growth which has followed upon settlement of the scum of the earth on the shores of Australia would make it appear that in colonisation it is as in gardening, the more your foundations consist of dung, the more rapid and striking the production."

Likewise, columnist Ian Woodridge wrote in 2000,

"A few years ago we colonised this place with some of our finest felons, thieves, muggers, alcoholics and prostitutes, a strain of depravity which I believe has contributed greatly to this country's amazing vigour and enterprise."

Australians haven’t always found it easy to come back from the jokes and genuine insults made about their heritage. The creation of the word Pome (word used for English) may have been an attempt at a humorous comeback. Some have said Pome is an acronym for Prisoner Of Mother England. English critics have dismissed such an explanation because it relies on the premise that Australians can spell. Another explanation is that it is an abbreviation of pomegranate, which is rhyming slang for immigrant. The English tend to be more comfortable with this explanation because it means Australians can count syllables correctly let alone make good use of the cockney rhyming slang that they inheirited from England.

Valuing egalitarianism may have been another way for Australians to deal with the Convict taunts. Basically, valuing egalitarianism allowed Australians to say that even though their mothers were prostitutes and their fathers were thieves, at least they treated everyone equally and didn't judge them on their background.

English critics have pointed out that it is easier to be egalitarian when you come from the base of the social pyramid. While it may be a fair call, Australians have shown a tendency to maintain their egalitarianism even when they have reached the top. For example, when cricketer Dennis Lillee first meet the Queen, rather than be formal (as is custom in situations of unequal social status) he expressed his egalitarian sentiments by saying:

"G'day, how ya goin'?"

In the mind of the great man, he was just treating the Queen as an equal. After all, it wasn't her fault that she couldn't play cricket nor was it her fault that her subjects were shocking players as well. Oddly, some English thought Lillee had acted like an upstart buffon. In their minds, the Queen deserved respect as her birth right and it was irrelevant that she had done nothing special with her life other than walk in the shoes she had been given.

History

For most of its urban existence, the British Isles were in a state of continous war. Not only were different regions of Britain fighting each other, the entire region was continually being invaded by mainland armies. The continued rape and pillage of Britain Isles ended up producing a motley crew of cultures that the English authorities struggled to gain control over.

About 400 years ago, the English decided that after being invaded so many times themselves, it was a time to invade others. The indigenous people of Ireland, the Americas, Africa, and Asia soon found themselves with new colonial masters, and some English migrants wanting to make a buck on the side.

Although it had a distinct a profit element, English colonising was quite different from that of France, Holland, Portugal and Spain because instead of just taking things from the colonies, the English wanted to build schools, roads and hospitals in them as well. Perhaps the English realised that if they made prosperous colonies, then English merchants could make even more money. An alternative explanation was that the English wanted to help the world. Either way, English colonies generally prospered in ways the other European colonies did not.

Aside from colonising, the English devoted their mind to improving medicine and industrial development. This led to breakthroughs in infant mortality and new inventions that made many labourers obsolete. The unintended consequences of the technological developments were massive declines in infant mortality, population growth and unemployment. With similar social conditions in France leading to the beheading of the French monarchy, British authorities knew something had to be done. Ideally, population pressures could have been reduced if more English chose to migrate but it seems far too many were wedded to their homeland. The solution was to create a penal colony in Australia and force them out.

In 1788, the disturbers of the peace, and hungry children that stole bread, were exported to Australia where they laid the foundations of Australian urban society. For the next 80 years, Australia was supplied with the Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English troublemakers along with soldiers to guard them.The Convict history is something that forever binds Australia with England. Today, few Australians want to remember their history and few English want to let Australians forget it.

Economy

 
United Kingdom
Australia
Population 60,943,912 (July 2008 est.) 20,600,856 (July 2008 est.)
GDP per capita ($US) $35,100 (2007 est.) $36,300 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1.4%
industry: 18.2%
services: 80.4% (2006 est.)
agriculture: 3%
industry: 26.4%
services: 70.6% (2007 est.)
Public debt 43% of GDP (2007 est.) 15.4% of GDP
Racial groups white (of which English 83.6%, Scottish 8.6%, Welsh 4.9%, Northern Irish 2.9%) 92.1%, black 2%, Indian 1.8%, Pakistani 1.3%, mixed 1.2%, other 1.6% (2001 census) White 92%, Asian 7%, Aboriginal and other 1%
Export partners US 13.9%, Germany 10.9%, France 10.4%, Ireland 7.1%, Netherlands 6.3%, Belgium 5.2%, Spain 4.5% (2006) Japan 19.6%, China 12.3%, South Korea 7.5%, US 6.2%, India 5.5%, NZ 5.5%, UK 5% (2006)

From CIA World Fact Book

Environment

England has shocking weather that makes people miserable. Darkness at 4pm, sleet and returning home to rising damp really isn't the type of environmental conditions that lead to a happy life. On the positive side, England is a safe country where the most dangerous wildlife to be encountered is a ruminating cow. (That said, English sometimes point out that cows can be dangerous.)

Unlike England, Australia is a harsh land with plenty of sunshine, snakes, spiders, sharks, droughts, and bushfires. The English have long used the environment to explain why Australians are good at sport but no good in culture. In the minds of the English, Australians spend more time outdoors playing while the English spend more time indoors creating and learning.

Movies

Behind America, England has arguably the world's most internationally successful movie industry. The staple of the English industry is the chic flick romantic comedy that deals with a considerate English gentleman in a feel good story. Not surprisingly, most of England's famous actors are the likes of Jude Law and Hugh Grant that play the kind of emotionally sensitive funny man that a woman might advertise for in a personal ad.

Australia has produced plenty of actors and actresses that have found great success in Hollywood. Most of the Australian actors, such as Russel Crowe and Mel Gibson, are quite masculine in comparison to the English actors. (Perhaps relationships with such men might motivate women to place a personal ad.) Conversely, the Australian actresses, such as Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Cate Blanchett, have been able to retain a strong feminine quality that has seen them win the kind of elegant lady roles traditionally won by the English.

In regards to movies, Australia's industry was successful in the 70s and 80s, but went to shit in the 90s. The new millennium continued to be as barren as the outback in regards to quality Australian movies, but still showed that hope can spring in the desert. In 2012, this hope came in the form of a dog. Based on true events, Red Dog told the story of the Port Headland mining outpost being brought together by a canine. It combined the fantastic tales of the dog’s life, including the time he swam into the ocean with a steak to distract a shark on the verge of eating someone, with more plausible truths, such as being made a member of the union and being elevated as an icon of the community.

Decolonising

For hundreds of years, being a British citizen meant little more than being expected to recognise the authority of British rule and die for Britain if required. After World War 1 and 2, movements started growing amongst people in Britain that being a citizen should come with benefits, and one of those benefits should be a government that looks after its people. This led to dramatic improvements in public health, education and social welfare. It also meant that having British citizens all over the world was potentially quite expensive.

Aside from being expensive, an ethic that the government should be responsible to its citizens also meant that it had to treat citizens equally. In practice, this meant allowing British citizens in Pakistan, West Indies, and India to move to England and gain the same rights held by the Indigenous English.

Not all indigenous English were particularly happy with such versions of equality and they wanted something done about the migrants. The British government's solution to the cost and social tensions was to encourage their colonies to seek independence in a process that became known as ‘de-colonisation.’ In a short period of time, England shrank from being the largest empire the world to a small island off the coast of Europe.

The process of decolonisation affected Australia slightly differently to how it affected the motherland. In keeping with British wishes, Australia created its own citizenship in 1948 and progressively dismantled most of its legal ties to Britain over the next few decades. Papua New Guinea was the closest thing that Australia had to a colony. In 1975, a couple of chiefs asked for independence and Australia was more than happy to help all Papua New Guineans attain it.

Boganism / laddism

Historically, the British have been fond of using Australia's Convict heritage to explain uncouth behaviour amongst Australians. For example, they have defined an Australian as someone "who reads comic books without moving their lips" and an Australian gentlemen as "someone who offers to light his girlfriend's farts." At the cricket, the English often chant, "we came here with back-packs, you with ball and chains" or they may sing the song "we all live in a Convict colony" to the tune of Yellow Submarine.

Although Australia has its fair share of bogans who haven't had the greatest education in the world, most Australian bogans have quite a reasonable set of values. For example, if they saw somene in need of a hand, they are the type of people to lend it. They definately are not the sort of people that would see a wounded international student and only pretend to help so that their mates could more easily rob the student. Not so England. In 2011, riots all over England showed that a large percentage of the English have such lack basic human decency that they celebrate such thefts as the little bit of fun that goes hand in hand with looting, smashing glass, burning cars, and destroying family-owned businesses.

For many people in England, neither the riots nor the lack of human decency in such actions came as any real surprise.  According to Theodore Dalrymple, an English writer and psychiatrist:

" anyone who has taken a short walk with his eyes open down any frequented British street: that a considerable proportion of the country's young population (a proportion that is declining) is ugly, aggressive, vicious, badly educated, uncouth and criminally inclined."

"No sensible employer in a service industry would choose a young Briton if he could have a young Pole; the young Pole is not only likely to have a good work ethic and refined manners, he is likely to be able to add up and -- most humiliating of all -- to speak better English than the Briton, at least if by that we mean the standard variety of the language. He may not be more fluent but his English will be more correct and his accent easier to understand."

It would be wrong to say that the unsavoury behaviour is confined to low socio-economic groups in Britain. In truth, every section of British society leaves much to be desired. Specifically, in the 1990s, many Brits from well-to-do families loved nothing more than listening in to secretly recorded messages that involved Prince Charles telling his lover that he wanted to be a tampon so that he could be closer to her. More recently, Britains eagerly followed journalists who tapped phones to gather dirty secrets on celebrities. Australian journalists have never sunk to such depths because the Australian public has never shown much interest in it.

Art

Art should represent the pinnacle of emotional, logical and moral thought of a nation. Similarly, it should attract a nation's finest minds to appreciate it. In the case of British art, it seems the finest minds want to consume work that is the pinnacle of a turd. When asked to define British art, Tim Marlow, director of the White Cube gallery, said,

"British art is amazingly diverse, but I guess British artists often deal with the dominance of the literary in our culture."

With the dominance of the literary, it might be expected that the art would inspire intelligent thought amongst journalists who work in words, but the opposite is the case. In Seven Days in the Art World, Sarah Thornton wrote:

"In Britain, the press never tires of the question “Is it art? and finds it impossible to resist sex jokes. "

Defining British art as diverse and literary was perhaps a polite was of saying that it is an unrefined dogs breakfast where artists use words to compensate for the fact that their work can’t speak for itself. To put it more simply, British art is the visual equivalent of punk rock.

Australia also has its fair share of crap artists, but a clear difference between iconic British art and iconic Australian art is the level of intelligence in the work. The iconic artists of Australia include names like Albert Tucker, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, and Russel Drysdale. The Australian artists combine a kind of European expressionism with sociological inquiry to produce works that had great feeling, but were also highly cerebral.

Tucker Horse

Albert Tucker
Apocalyptic Horse

 

Economy

Britain has few natural resources, has relocated most of its manufacturing to Asia and has a population that is relatively unskilled, uneducated and possessed with selfish attitudes that are not conducive to teamwork. Despite these facts, for decades the British have enjoyed one of the most lavish lifestyles in the developed world.

The key to Britain's success is a smoke and mirrors trick by the financial industry. Basically, the British economy is based on creating financial packages that take advantage of the money multiplier effect to literally create money. For example, a bank may take a $100 deposit from a member of the general public and keep $20 in its vault. The bank then lends out $80. This money may then be deposited in another bank, which keeps $16 in its vault and lends out $64 and so on. With a fractional reserve of 20%, the $100 loan can be lent out 10 times and expanded into $457.05. On paper, the $100 still exists in bank vaults and $457.05 exists as IOUs. These IOUS are sometimes sold even further in the form of derivatives.

Derivatives are financial instruments that have no intrinsic value but derive their value from something else. They can even be bad debts that operate like a pyramid scheme. As long as people buy them, they can return an interest payment. The more money that is circulated between the institutions and the more that derivatives are sold, the more wealth that can be created.

As the British financial industry literally creates money, an Englishman may look over his stock portfolio and confident feel that he is worth tens of millions of dollars. Feeling rich, he will spend extravagantly in Britain's restaurants, art galleries, or travel agencies.

The good life continues until creditors start asking for their original loans back. The money that was created just disappears. A derivative that was bought for millions of dollars then reveals that it was nothing but a pyramid scheme whose only value was in the fact other people believed it had value. Banks crash, stocks fall, and the multimillionaires can no longer live the high life. The economy then crashes.

In the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, Britain was hit particularly hard by the line of credit suddenly being cut off and derivatives revealing that people who thought they had made wise investments had actually bought the financial equivalent of magic beans. Unfortunately for England, its Government and financial industry is almost bankrupt and other governments around the world know it so are less inclined to invest in Britain. With no money, the British government has had to cut spending, which has caused pain in the service industries. The inevitable future for Britain is a sharp decline in living standards, which is usually a trigger for social unrest.

Like Britain, the Australian economy is basically built around a service industry circulating money around but unlike Britain, Australia's economy is actually built on industries that do actually produce something. The star of the Australian economy is the mining industry and farming industry that constitute the majority of exports. With a service industry built on something other than magic beans, Australia’s economic prospects are much more assured than those of England.

Comedy

As painful as it may be for Australians to admit, English do humour in a far more intelligent way, which usually results in the English coming out on top during cross-cultural piss-taking. For example, comedy by Monty Python was highly educated as it used absurdities to generate a laugh and get an audience to consider an issue from a different perspective. In What Have The Romans Done for Us (from Life of Bryon), Monty Python gave an interesting take on anti-colonialism sentiment. The sitcom Yes Minister likewise had an highly educated take on the political process. In opinion polls, it used humour to demonstrate that surveys are not always as informative as the media manager makes them out to be.

 

 

Life of Bryan - What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us

 
Opinion polls - Yes Minister

At times, Australian comedy can be cringe worthy as it involves being lewd, involves insulting people or involves playing teenage style “pranks.” In short, it is not very intelligent. Some examples of such features were seen in the work of the Chaser, which were the stars of the ABC (equivalent of the BBC) for almost a decade. The Chaser grew out a newspaper started by private school boys from Sydney. With their private schoolboy background, their jokes are of the vein:

"Princess Di was just a slut for sex,
when they looked in the car wreck,
her dress was wet with Arab semen stain.

Stan Zemanek was a racist,
Dr Fatso xenophobic cock,
whose views were more malignant than his brain. "

In 2012, an example of Australian comedic styles got a great deal of airplay in Britain when two radio DJs rang up a British hospital and pretended to be the Queen and Prince Phillip. The Indian nurse that took their call didn’t recognise their accents as not being those of the royal family. She put the call through to another nurse, who wasn’t in a position to question whether it really was the royal couple on the line. When the hoax was exposed, the DJs laughed at how stupid the nurses were for believing such ridiculous accents. The Indian nurse then committed suicide. If considered objectively, the DJs were obviously pretty stupid for not realising that someone who speaks English as a second language might not find it easy to pick accents. They were also pretty stupid for thinking that nurses would not have their defences up over the kind of act only pre-pubescent teenagers would attempt. Rather than be funny, the DJs stupidly was sad.

Perhaps Australia's problem is that it has suffered a significant brain drain in the comedy stakes. Clive James has shown a strong ability to make very intelligent humour. Unfortunately, he has been living in the UK since the 1960s, which has denied Australia from having a positive role model. Paul Hogan was also very funny. Much like the humour of Seinfield, he was able to point out the absurdities of modern life in ways that were not insulting, profane or sarcastic. Unfortunately, he was hounded out of Australia by the tax office and by academia worried about the stereotypes of Australia that were developing as a result of a world audience liking him.

With Australian comedy failing miserably on TV, youtube has provided a ray of sunshine of sunshine in an otherwise dreary climate. Natalie Tran has managed to build her channel to the 22nd-most subscribed of all-time on YouTube. Her jokes are intelligent, non-insulting and non-sarcastic.

 
Clive James talks about the Sydney Olympics and Australian women

 

Natalie Tran wishes the media story on the murdered neighbour didn't always portray her as quiet and nice.

 

Natalie wants truth in advertising

 

Rock Music

England has a very successful music industry that has produced some of the world's largest rock acts, such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Unlike it is in Ireland, political music is frowned upon in England and treated as somewhat of a joke. Australia seemed to have inheirited the Irish tradition of mixing music with politics. Some include Midnight Oil, Missy Higgins, Jet, and John Butler Trio.

 

Language

Both Australians and English speak the same language, but they speak it in different ways. In England, pronunciation varies according to class and region, which reflects England's class conscious society and regional rivalries. For example, soccer player David Beckam pronounces th sounds as f sounds so instead of saying "I think", he will say, "I fink."

In Australia, pronunciation varies according to gender and ideology. Australian men with a positive attitude to Australia are more likely to speak like Bill Hunter, Paul Hogan, Kerry Packer, Lindsay Fox or Bob Hawke with a broad Australian accent. Australian women are more likely to speak like Cate Blanchett with an accent that sounds like someone educated at Oxford University. Australian men that don't like Australia are more likely to speak like a woman or someone educated at Oxford university.

Contrary to myth, there is no regional variance in Australian English. People in Perth do not speak differently to people in Melbourne. Furthermore, there is no racial accent. Very few children of non-English speaking migrants speak with ethnic accents.

Aside from pronunciation, Australian English has been heavily influenced by American English. Most of Australia's television shows are American and American research dominates Australian universities. Consequently, Australians often use the American spelling for words such as 'organization.' They use both American and English grammar. For example, both the American "the couple is happy" and the British "the couple are happy" are acceptable in Australia.

Finally, Australian English is more informal than British English. Australians quickly get on to first name basis and refrain from using titles such as Mr, Mrs, Lord or Your Highness. Australians also frequently corrupt the language via the use of diminutives such as 'arvo' instead of 'afternoon' or 'uni' instead of 'university.'

 

 

Sports

The English have traditionally been very inventive when it comes to sports. They have invented soccer, rugby union, rugby league, squash, hockey, test cricket, one day cricket and 20/20 cricket. They have also invented tennis and polo.

Australians used to take pride out of the fact that despite England inventing all the sports, they weren't any good at them. Unfortunately, with England dominating Australia in cricket, soccer and rugby, the little point of pride is no longer relevent.

Australians play all of the English sports and have also invented some of their own such as Australian football, indoor cricket, touch rugby, surf life saving, polocrosse, new vogue dancing, and callisthenics.

For reasons unknown, soccer in Australia has largely been confined to non-English ethnic communities. England refers to soccer as 'football.' Australia, like every other English speaking nation, mostly refers to it as soccer.

Emu

Macadamia stuffed Emu Fan Filled with red pepper just on summer salad

Food

During the penal era, the staples of Australian colonial society were wheat, potatoes, beef, milk, eggs, sheep as well as fish &chips. These staples were English staples. Outside of colonial society, Aborigines ate kangaroo, echidna, koala, ants, grubs, snakes, lizards and moths. Because the colonists were starving, they would have eaten the native Australian cuisine if they could, but they didn't know how to hunt or find it. Furthermore, native produce was not suitable for farming so it could only sustain people living a nomadic existence.

In the last couple of decades, both Australia and England have gained greater access to a diverse range of produce and have had migrants introduce varied recipes of the world. Consequently, both Australia and England have developed fusion cuisines. Potentially, the Australian cuisine will end up being the superior because the greater range of climatic conditions produces a greater range of products to work with.

Frontier of dineing

Wine

England is widely recognized as the most objective wine market in the world. The English are large consumers of wine and respect quality. Consequently, English supermarket shelves are stocked with the best wine from Chile, South Africa, America, New Zealand, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Australia. In what is a good sign for Australia, the English consume more wine from Australia than from any other nation.

Australian wine shelves are predominantly stocked with Australian wine. Like every other significant wine growing nation, Australians believe their wines are the best in the world. Today, Australia is the world's largest wine exporter behind France, Italy and Spain. 

Expatriates

Australian expatriates are very successful in England. In music, Kylie Minogue has almost become English pop royalty. In the humanities, Germain Greer is celebrated as a great feminist thinker. Clive James is a poet, thinker, talk show host, and cultural commentator. Rolf Harris is a painter and singer songwriter that has had a number one song on British music charts as well as numerous popular television shows.

Many of the Australian expatriates provoke mixed feelings in Australia. Some Australians are proud that their fellow country men and women have done well. Other Australians hope the country men and women stay in England and never come back.

While Australia has produced numerous individuals that have gone on to become celebrities in England, few English have become celebrities in Australia. English commentators; however, are prized for the cricket. In the past, the opinion of the English on many issues was highly valued. In fact, until the 1970s, all newsreaders on the government-owned ABC were English men because Australian accents were banned on government radio. Although Australian women were able to speak with English accents, women were banned from being newsreaders. This meant English men were imported to be the newsreaders.

Political system

Both Australia and England are Constitutional Monarchies with the Queen as the head of state. The main difference between the systems is that England has a House of Lords, whose members attain their position through birthright. Australia has a Senate that functions in a similar way to the House of Lords, but whose members are elected by voters. The Queen makes no decisions affecting Australia.

Playwrights

William Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest playwright in English history. Shakespeare wrote comedies in a poetic fashion that were entertaining, thought provoking and provided profound insights into human behaviour. The genius of his work is evidenced by his appeal across cultures and the ability of his work to survive political scrutiny across time. Few historical writers have been so fortunate.

David Williamson stands alone in the world of Australian playwrights. An immensely talented man, Williamson weaves good humour into his psychological explorations of political, family and moral issues in Australia.

Story telling

Across time, the English have proved that they are the world's best story tellers. Charles Dicken, Lewis Carol and JK Rowling created children's stories that resonate across the world's cultures and across time.

For the adults, Jane Austin blended logic, morals, and emotions into stories that have likewise intrigued people the world over. George Orwell explored political concepts, with a particular interest in group-first totalitarian regimes that protected the interests of their individual rulers. Although highly political, Orwell was a man who proved himself to be very open-minded and willing to change his political beliefs. Consequently, his work provokes thought on political viewpoints, rather than a lecture on a political viewpoint.

Australia's most critically acclaimed novelist is Patrick White, who won the noble prize for literature in 1973. Despite winning world acclaim, White never won much acclaim in Australia. His lack of appeal in Australia was probably a result of his negativity towards Australians and his constant intrusion into political issues of his day.

Peter Carey is one of only two men to have won the Booker Prize (a novel written in the English language by a commonwealth citizen) twice. Like White, Carey got involved in political issues, which made him as many critics and prevented widespread acceptance of his work in Australia.

Tom Keneally is another internationally acclaimed novelist. His most famous work is Schindler's Ark, which was subsequently made into Schindler's List by Steven Spielberg. Like other Australian novelists,  Keneally has got himself involved in political issues, which have prevented widespread acceptance of his work in Australia.

Television

Australian soaps like Neighbours and Home & Away are immensely popular in England. They portray happy neighbourhoods populated by good looking teenagers and their loving families. The soaps might appeal because they fit an idealised conception of Australia for the English. Alternatively, maybe the episodes are well written. In the past, the English liked Prisoner, which was an Australian soap set in a woman's prison. Perhaps Prisoner offered another conception of Australia for the English.

While Australian programs have been popular on English television, not many English programs are popular on Australian commericial television. For reasons unknown, commercial television in Australia favours American- made programs. However, the government-funded ABC has often showed English programs such as The Bill, Black Adder, Mr Bean, The Goodies, Dr Who and Little Britain.

 

Stereotypical differences between Aussies, Brits, Americans and Candadians

Aussies: Believe you should look out for your mates.
Brits: Believe that you should look out for those people who belong to your club.
Americans: Believe that people should look out for and take care of themselves.
Canadians: Believe that that is the government's job.

Aussies: Dislike being mistaken for Pommies (Brits) when abroad.
Canadians: Are rather indignant about being mistaken for Americans when abroad.
Americans: Encourage being mistaken for Canadians when abroad.
Brits: Can't possibly be mistaken for anyone else when abroad.


Canadians: Endure bitterly cold winters and are proud of it.
Brits: Endure oppressively wet and dreary winters and are proud of it.
Americans: Don't have to do either, and couldn't care less.
Aussies: Don't understand what inclement weather means.


Americans: Drink weak, pissy-tasting beer.
Canadians: Drink strong, pissy-tasting beer.
Brits: Drink warm, beery-tasting piss.
Aussies: Drink anything with alcohol in it.


Americans: Seem to think that poverty and failure are morally suspect.
Canadians: Seem to believe that wealth and success are morally suspect.
Brits: Seem to believe that wealth, poverty, success, and failure are inherited.
Aussies: Seem to think that none of this matters after several beers.


Brits: Have produced many great comedians, celebrated by Canadians, ignored by Americans, and therefore not rich.
Aussies: Have produced comedians like Paul Hogan and Yahoo Serious.
Canadians: Have produced many great comedians such as John Candy, Martin Short, Jim Carrey, Dan Akroyd, and all the rest at SCTV.
Americans: Think that these people are American!


Americans: Spend most of their lives glued to the idiot box.
Canadians: Don't, but only because they can't get more American channels.
Brits: Pay a tax just so they can watch 4 channels.
Aussies: Export all their crappy programs, which no one there watches, to Britain, where everybody loves them.


Americans: Will jabber on incessantly about football, baseball and basketball.
Brits: Will jabber on incessantly about cricket, soccer and rugby.
Canadians: Will jabber on incessantly about hockey, hockey, hockey, and how they beat the Americans twice, playing baseball.
Aussies: Will jabber on incessantly about how they beat the Poms in every sport they played them in.


Aussies: Are extremely patriotic about their beer.
Americans: Are flag-waving, anthem-singing, and obsessively patriotic to the point of blindness.
Canadians: Can't agree on the words to their anthem, in either language, when they can be bothered to sing them.
Brits: Do not sing at all but prefer a large brass band to perform the anthem.


Brits: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their past citizens.
Americans: Are justifiably proud of the accomplishments of their present citizens.
Canadians: Prattle on about how some of those great Americans were once Canadian.
Aussies: Waffle on about how some of their past citizens were once Outlaw Pommies, but none of that matters after several beers.

Questions to think about

Patriotism

Henry Lawson was a poet at the turn of the century and his words illustrate some of the ways that British heritage has affected the identity of many Australians:

"This was the loyalty which sent several hundred jingoes and several thousand pounds to assist England in crushing a brave nation of savages who were fighting for a country of no earthly use to anyone but themselves...

Why on earth do we want closer connection with England? We have little in common with English people except our language. We are fast becoming an entirely different people. We are more liberal, and, considering our age, more progressive than England is. The majority of English people know nothing of Australia, and even the higher classes understand neither us nor our country. The latter entertain a sort of good-natured contempt for us which is only the outcome of their contact with our own shoddy aristocracy, which is several degrees more contemptible than that of England.

The loyal talk of Patriotism, Old England, Mother Land, etc. Patriotism? after Egypt, Burmah, Soudan, etc. Bah! it sickens one. Go and read His Natural Life, and other natural lives, by Marcus Clarke, and then talk of the dear old Mother Land that gave us birth. "
HENRY LAWSON Autobiographical and Other Writings 1887-1922 ANGUS AND ROBERTSON, Sydney 1972

  1. What differences between Australia and England cause Lawson to question the need for a closer relationship?
  2. How does Australia’s Convict heritage (His Natural Life) influence Lawson’s attitude to Britain?
  3. Was Lawson patriotic?
  4. In the American revolution, the British learnt the dangers of patriotism. How could implementing a shoddy version of patriotism in Australia have eroded the threat of Australians becoming patriotic and then using it in the fight for independence?

Does the relationship have value?

Australia and England share a language and a Queen, or more accurately, the English Queen is the Australian Queen. Despite these commonalities neither the Australian or British governments extend any special privilege to the citizens of each other’s countries. For example, it is easier for a citizen from France to live and work in England than it is for a citizen of Australia, and it is just as easy for an English speaking Indian to migrate to Australia as it is for a British citizen. (Citizens of New Zealand are the other people that Australia extends special privileges to.)

Could you make a case for a closer relationship between Britain and Australia so that the flow of people between them would be easier or would you prefer to distant the two countries even further?

A Republic?

In 1999, Australia had a referendum on whether to become a republic. Polls showed that around 90 per cent of Australians wanted the republic; however, there was division about the type of model.

Australia’s political leadership wanted the president to be appointed by a 2/3rds majority of parliament. Their concern was that if the general public could vote then the position would be politicised. Basically, they wanted a president that was a symbolic figurehead but had no real power.

Critics of the model found it morally offensive that the public would be devalued. Some likened it to moves at the time Federation to have a House of Lords in parliament, which would give political rights based on heredity. By resisting such moves, Australia ended up with a Senate, where representatives attained their position by a vote. In regards to the 99 referendum, it was primarily because most of the Australian public valued egalitarian symbolism that they could not support the model presented, even if this meant a continuation of the Queen as the technical head of state.

  1. Both sides of the republican debate valued symbolism. What type of values do you think a president should espouse?
  2. What should of symbolic values should be expressed in creating the process for appointing the president?
  3. Create your preferred model and a slogan to sell it?
  4. Make an argument for not becoming a republic

 

 

 

 

 

 
"Australia's culture has always been characterised by someone trying to make rules to live by, and someone else trying to break them."