Whether we are a fan of Julia Gillard or not, she is our Prime Minister. I don’t know about you but I was appalled seeing our Prime Minister dragged clear of protestors on Australia Day.
Then I was sad.
In those moments of seeing the footage surrounding the incident, I had an overwhelming sense of loss.
Our Prime Minister lost her dignity, a shoe and Australia had lost her innocence.
Where else in the world can a leader of a country walk freely amongst the people, still live in a house in the suburbs, and not be surrounded with an exclusion zone marked by an army of special, armed, in-your-face security forces. Most times you don’t see the security surrounding our dignitaries. Sure security exists, but it is discrete and subtle.
Take a quick look at any movement of the President of the United States. You can not get within cooee of POTUS. The entourage of Special Service Agents, Police, Armed forces, SWAT, Sniper details etc permeate the whole environment. Intense isn’t it?
I have unexpectedly met our ex-Prime Minister, John Howard, three times while he was PM. Believe it or not, all three times were at men’s urinals. No security force invaded the space to clear it and then guard it prior, during and immediately after the Prime Minister wanted to go to a public toilet.
No. Our Prime Minister just ducks into the loo. No big deal. And just like any other bloke would do, he even made a friendly, funny exchange of conversation while standing side by side [and no I’m not telling you what it was – all 3 are private and treasured moments].
That is Australian. And I love it.
One of the attributes that sets Australia apart in this world is our laid back, relaxed, ‘”she’ll be right” attitude. For example, Mat Prater had this to say on Australia Day:
YOU KNOW YOU’RE AUSTRALIAN WHEN: You believe that stubbies can either be drunk or worn. You pronounce Melbourne as ‘Mel-bin’. You believe that the letter ‘l’ in Australia is optional, and it’s perfectly ok to call it ‘Straya’. You think ‘Wooloomooloo’ is a perfectly reasonable name for a place. You’re secretly proud of our killer wildlife. You believe it makes perfect sense for a country to have a $1 coin thats twice as big as a $2 coin. You understand that ‘Wagga Wagga’ can be abbreviated to ‘Wagga’ but ‘Woy Woy’ cannot be just ‘Woy’. Beetroot with your hamburger…of course! You believe that the more you shorten someone’s name, the more you like them. You understand that ‘excuse me’ can sound rude, but ‘scuse me’ is always polite. You know what its like to swallow a fly, on occasion via your nose. You know it’s not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle and a seat belt buckle becomes a pretty good branding iron. You know how to abbreviate every word, all of which usually end in “o”: arvo, convo, garbo, metho, milko, muso, servo, smoko, rego, speedo, righto, etc,….you know that there is a universal place called ‘Woop Woop’ located in the middle of nowhere, no matter where you actually are! And you can understand all of this! Happy ‘Straya’ day! And God Bless the Great Southland of the Holy Spirit!
Australia has a sense of fun. We can laugh at ourselves, take the proverbial out of each other and still be mates.
We have a sense of fair play and when it isn’t we step in to intervene.
With the multitude of influences flooding our culture, I really hope the slide from innocence to intensity living does not continue.
It need not.