I used never to care about Australia. I was going to get out of the place anyway, it was a dead end. Between the cultural cringe and that tall poppy thing, it was far too small-minded for me. I was terribly ambitious in my adolescence. I regret I'm not so much anymore. I don't regret losing the unreality that went with it. But ambition, and concomitant arrogance, while perhaps sometimes unpleasant for others, is I think worthwhile if the final destination serves anything more than one's ego. The world would be a better place, et cetera.
So anyway. It seems like I'm going to spend a fair bit of my life here. That's good, I like Melbourne at least. But looking around, it feels like there's a few things we really should have done years ago that it's about time we got around to.
(I was going to do dot-points, but hell, let's go with checkboxes just for fun.)
Move out of home.
Thanks Great Britain, we'll come visit regularly, I promise.
But seriously, we're turning into that 30-year-old guy who lives in his parent's basement. Do we really have such a low opinion of ourselves that we can't even represent who we are? It's the twenty-first century, fer chrissakes. And look out, in a few years our figurehead might be King Charles III. Can you really imagine that on the back of your coins?
Reconcile a few debts.
This is aboriginal land. Go outside, point to a patch of dirt, and say out loud "that's aboriginal land". Looks different all of a sudden. The colours change, become richer, I think. Also, sadly, hinted sanguine.
If you're worried, just don't do it within earshot. It's our land too. That really isn't going to change. But point to the same patch of dirt, and say "That's my land", and watch the colours fade.
Tear down some fences.
We keep prisoners in the outback because they tried to enter the country to make their lives better. We keep prisoners in the outback because they tried to enter the country to make their lives better. We keep prisoners in the outback because they tried to enter the country to make their lives better.
I regularly try out the idea in my head, just to check whether it makes any sense yet. Not so far. "For those who've come across the seas / We've boundless plains to share." That makes sense to me. Only thing in the whole song, to be honest.
ANZUS is a good thing, or at least it contains the seed of a good thing. I know ANZUS as well as anyone; I can recite the arguments for and against in my sleep. Australia's foremost task is independence, but alliance is not incompatible with that. We don't seem to have realised that alliance, and national security, do not require the surrender of sovereignty and autonomy.
Really, they don't.
Meet the neighbours.
Unless something really crazy happens with the planetary tectonics, Australia is and will always be an Asian nation.
Okay, let's start ticking some boxes! I haven't got a lot of time, you know.
Joseph | 3 Jun 2004