Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian society. Show all posts

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Abandoned Australian outback

I was saddened by a recent press article that evokes a forthcoming Australian report according to which the remote Australian wilderness must now be looked upon as a "failed state". What a terrible expression! There's a sentence about extracted wealth that is not reinvested in local communities. I see the words "poor governance". The article speaks of "the failure of all levels of government to deliver basic services and halt the flight of non-indigenous people to more settled areas". Everything in this short article was frighteningly negative, even to the extent of evoking "possible invasion" from foreign nations. I have the impression that the great Aussie myth of the Outback is crumbling into dust, but I'm amazed that things could really be as bad as that. On the other hand, I've been wondering for ages what went wrong with Australia, and why there are no New Pioneers on the horizon to fix things up. Why aren't our leaders worrying about the Outback, and doing something about this tragedy? To guide Australia, it wasn't enough to be a fan of Donald Bradman, Elizabeth II and George W Bush. And it's obviously not enough to be a polite ex-diplomat who speaks English and Mandarin with the same lack of eloquence. Meanwhile, as I said in my recent article entitled My hilarious motherland [display], a NSW state minister has been dancing in his underpants. And the Outback has been dying...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

My hilarious motherland

Here in France, an old-fashioned model of male underpants, with a kind of pouch to accommodate the royal jewels and scepter, has always been designated as a kangaroo slip.

For the last 24 hours, the Australian press has been running stories about an MP [member of parliament] in Sydney who's labeled "the underpants MP ". As you might imagine, to earn such a title, our Aussie MP surely had to make a slight "kangaroo slip "...

A few days ago, my article entitled Musical chairs in Sydney [display] mentioned that the NSW premier had been axed because the state is in dire economic straits. The new fellow for the job, former garbage collector Nathan Rees, had to form a cabinet rapidly. For the role of police minister, he chose the youthful elected MP for Kiama, a certain Matt Brown. Well, just as Jesus took no more than three days to change his status dramatically, so did Matt. On the third day of his new job, the poor lad was fired by Nathan. And that's where it all gets back to underwear.

Recently, an innocent and ordinary party took place in the august chambers of parliament house in Sydney's Macquarie Street. One might imagine that parliament houses are not specifically designed for partying... but we must never underestimate the power of the Aussie urge for mateship on balmy alcoholic evenings. Nobody seems to know exactly what happened, apart from the fact that Matt was probably inebriated. There's talk about his stripping down to "very brief" underpants and dancing on a green leather couch in his office. It's even said that Matt might have simulated some kind of sexual encounter with the female MP for Wollongong, Noreen Hay. A simple case of making hay while the sun shines. Maybe we'll never know the hard facts. In any case, three-day Matt is out. Crucified in his kangaroo slip.

My native Australia is an ideal hotbed for the growth of spirited politicians... like Maurice Iemma, Nathan Rees, etc. The list is long. But we seem to be short on authentic statesmen, capable of transforming the nation into a serious republic. That's another kettle of fish. And, as the former garbage collector might have said, reminiscing about his rapidly hired and fired police chief, and indulging in topical planetary metaphors: You can put lipstick on a bad fish; it'll still smell.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Aussie crime-buster: arrested, innocent

This nicely-dressed clean-shaven 51-year-old Aussie guy is Mark Standen. Yesterday, in the fight against organized crime, he was Australia's top cop.

Today, he has been arrested, suspected of master-minding a scheme to import chemicals enabling the production of millions of dollars of narcotic stuff known as ice. It goes without saying that, for the moment, this Aussie drug cop is presumed to be innocent.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Education... for what purpose?

An article in today's press reveals that Australian universities are ranked by foreign students as the third best in the world (just behind the UK and the US) as a preferred location for studies. This was the conclusion of a report produced by an independent research service called the International Graduate Insight Group, based in London. In view of the identity of the essentially English-speaking clients of this organization [display], this conclusion is hardly world-shaking. In fact, it smacks of what the French call nombrilisme [from the word for navel], which designates the pleasant activity that consists of acquiring narcissistic joy by admiring at length, and in depth, the beauty of one's own navel.

A distinguished member of Australia's academe stated that the study was "a positive reflection on Australian education". I don't wish to squabble with that point of view. But wouldn't it be more meaningful to evaluate Australian education, not through the opinions of foreign students, but in terms of the annual number and quality of brilliant graduates joining the creative and productive work force in Australian science, industry, technology, business, etc?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Australian Internet censorship

Is Australia an adult nation?
It's so long since I lived in Australia for an appreciable length of time that I prefer to refrain from stating my hasty and uninformed personal opinion on that interesting question. But I've just heard about a Labor project that would consist of blacklisting various websites whose content is judged to be dangerous for the angelic minds of Aussie kids.

In the above sentence, the banal adjective "various" is significant, in the sense that only a random sampling of such websites would appear on the blacklist, for the simple reason that websites grow like weeds in your backyard, and you can no more blacklist all the offensive websites of the planet than you can eradicate noxious plants. The authorities can do little more than bow down symbolically to a lobby of wowsers and do-gooders who know fuck-all about the technicalities of contemporary communications of the web kind.

For almost two years, my personal email communications with Australia have been plagued constantly by some kind of a fuckwit blacklist maintained by Big Pond, designed to prevent the delivery of messages emanating from the French national ISP [Internet service provider] named Orange, ostracized as an alleged producer of spam [an absurd accusation].

In spite of all my efforts, I've never succeeded in eradicating this annoyance, and making sure that all my French emails would be delivered systematically to my relatives and friends in Australia. Often, I had the impression that trying to solve a problem of that kind was like attempting to nudge the Australian Way of Life. That's why I decided to create this blog, so that my relatives and friends in Australia would be able to see what I was doing and thinking in France. So, now that my blog is a thriving offspring, well over a year old, Antipodes says: Thank you, Big Pond fuckwits!

Today, when I start hearing talk about projects to censor the Internet in Australia, I'm itching to answer my opening rhetorical question, at the start of this article. For the moment, I'll force myself not to do so.