Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Commemorating the landing of the first white settlers in Australia, it is a national holiday that is becoming increasingly popular. Lots of cars are driving around today with Australian flags on them, which never used to happen. I suspect that it is a backlash against all the multicultural preaching that floods the schools and the media.

My relatives on my mother's side have for many years marked the day with a family get-together over a BBQ lunch and we did so again today. I spent a fair bit of time talking to Peter, my cousin once-removed. He is an academic like me and very well-informed about most things, but particularly China. He married a Han Chinese lady and his Eurasian daughter, Michelle, was there today, as she usually is. She is still in High School but growing up fast and it was a pleasure to see how bright, confident, articulate and animated she is. With good looks as well, she will go far.

Peter was one of the earlier examples of a tall Caucasian man grabbed by a Chinese lady -- something that is now very common in Australia. Chinese ladies tend to like tall Caucasian men and when they want something they get it. I said that to Peter and he said: "They sure do!" With a daughter like Michelle, however, he has every reason to be pleased with his decisions.

My son Joe has a commendable modesty. When someone remarked that Joe is now on staff at university, Peter asked him "In what capacity?" Joe replied "duster cleaner". It was a joke of course and taken as such but a bit of self-deprecation always goes over well. He is in fact classed as being a faculty member solely because he is a Ph.D. student. He receives a well-paid scholarship while he is studying that is very competive. Many apply but few are chosen. So he has no financial pressures or worries. He is still frugal, however. He tells me that he often has porridge for breakfast "because it is cheap". I was like that when I was young too so heredity strikes again. It is a good warranty that he will always have a comfortable life.

My cousin Shirley is the family genealogist and she brought along a lot of photos of relatives that I have not met, which was interesting. The number of relatives I have in my home State of Queensland is quite amazing. There were a lot of big families in the past whose children also had big families and I come from one of them.

The do was held at my brother Christopher's place, as it usually is. He is always a quiet but genial host. There were probably around 20 of us there all told.

Happy Australia Day!

From Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich, a German academic economist and a temporary resident of Australia

When I arrived on these shores for the first time about ten years ago, a friendly immigration officer at Sydney airport prepared me for everything that was to follow. Looking at my passport he asked: ‘Ever visited Australia before?”. I denied, but he kept on asking: ‘Ever been to England?’ When I said ‘yes’, he gave me a big smile and said ‘It’s just like England, only warmer.’

Ever since that day, I have been wondering what he meant. Next week’s Australia Day is perhaps the best opportunity to give it some more thought.

I guess back in 1788 at the time of the arrival of the First Fleet nobody in his right mind would have called Australia a warmer version of England. However, that didn’t keep the Brits from naming all sorts of things after British places – or just straight after themselves. Governor Macquarie did a lot of things, of course, but above all he ensured that nowadays you cannot walk for five minutes straight without running into a Lake Macquarie, a Macquarie Street, a Macquarie University, or a Macquarie Lighthouse. Ah, and if you lose oversight in the process you can find orientation in the Macquarie Dictionary.

Macquarie was a Scotsman, of course. So if Australia was a warmer version of anything British at all, it would have to be a warmer Scotland. Just without the whisky.

But why then was the ‘first state’ called New South Wales? Is it a new South Wales? Or a new, south Wales? And what made the early Brits think of Wales anyway when they set foot in Australia? Are there cockatoos flying around Cardiff? Where there kangaroos grazing on Mt Snowdon? Who knows.

The original contrariness has remained with Australia until the present day. If countries could suffer from schizophrenia, it would be called The Australian Disease. Because Australia is everything, but simultaneously it is also the opposite of everything. All clich├ęs of Australia are correct, even if you turn them into their very opposite.

Yes, Australians are uncomplicated – but watch the bureaucracy. Yes, Australians like their surfing and barbecuing – but no other nation spends as many hours at work. Yes, Australians love the bush – but hardly any other nation is as urban. And finally, Australians love to be close to the sea – only to place the nation’s capital far away from it.

Having thought about it for ten years, I think I have come closer to the solution. Now I know what this cheeky immigration officer wanted to tell me when he promised me a warmer England. Because a warmer England is a contradiction in terms: In England, if it’s more than twenty degrees and doesn’t rain, the BBC calls it a heat wave.

And just like that, Australia is a contradiction in terms: antiauthoritarian and bureaucratic, patriotic and cosmopolitan, urban and rural, hard-working and relaxed. But always in its own way – the Australian way: Never a copy of anything else, and most definitely not a cheap copy. And why copy anyone else when you are living in paradise? Happy Australia Day!

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated January 22. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

Australians love their meat pies

And if they are so bad for you, how come Australians have one of the world's longest life-expectancies? -- longer than any of the much-praised Mediterranean countries, in fact. It shows how little the food faddists know

Early results of an exclusive Courier-Mail online poll found the meat pie was a clear front-runner as Australia's national dish with 29 per cent of votes. But a typical meat pie is packed with 2000mg of sodium, nearly half the recommended daily dose of salt, and contains both high-fat protein and high-fat carbohydrates.

In a close second – nearly as popular and as unhealthy – was a snag in bread [hot dog], with 21 per cent of votes. The barbecue favourite contains up to 1200 kilojoules and would take an hour of aerobics to burn off.

Dietitians Association of Australia spokeswoman Julie Gilbert said Australia's favourite dishes reflected the fact we're the fattest. "While these foods might be uniquely Australian, they are no longer considered treats and have become part of our everyday eating and that's the problem," she said.

Sunshine Coast pest controller Mark Hayman, 28, said the old slogan "football, meat pies, kangaroos and holden cars" proved why the humble pie was quintessentially Australian. The pie-loving tradesman said he tried not to eat his favoured national dish too often, because he knew it was hardly the healthiest lunch. "I do have mates who go for a surf and then hoe into a meat pie," he said. "They usually buy two and they don't care at all that they're not good for you."

Mr Hayman said the meat pie was a typical "tradie's smoko". "All tradesmen have their favourite places to get a pie, so if you want to get a good pie, speak to a tradie."

The Courier-Mail's online poll found roast lamb was the third most popular dish with 14 per cent of the votes, while pavlova and steak were the top choice for 6 per cent of readers. Salt and pepper squid captured just 4 per cent of the vote. Fish and chips scored 3 per cent, prawns 7 per cent and lamingtons attracted 5 per cent, while spaghetti bolognese was preferred by just 1 per cent.


An amusing Australia Day stunt

("Whinge" is an Australian/British word that translates roughly as "whine". It is the sort of thing that an overtired baby does)

CONTROVERSY is set to be fried up today with an Australian egg company launching a cultural dig at the British. Named the "Whingeing Pom Egg", they feature a frowning face – the opposite to the usual Sunny Queen smiley eggs.

The carton says the eggs: "help you wake up cranky and keep on whingeing all day long". In a press release, the company claims it studied "behavioural traits of the Poms in their natural habitat". It quotes Associate Professor Lliam Anderson: "Our research found that the English preferred to wake up in a less optimistic, less good-humoured mood.

"Further still, we found that the gene responsible for whingeing is larger in Poms than any other race, particularly Aussies, confirming that whingeing is actually part of the Brits' generic make-up."

A spokesman for Sunny Queen Eggs said the results of the research "sparked an innovative approach to meet the needs of the English consumer". Sunny Queen Eggs launched a Facebook site and website last night to canvas votes on whether Australia was ready for the Whinging Pom eggs, and announced plans to trial the eggs in Melbourne and Sydney today.


Australians becoming more cultured?

"Ocker" is Australian slang for an uncultured working class person, rather like the American "redneck". In general, neither ockers nor rednecks care a hoot about whether they are cultured or not -- nor should they, in my view. De gustibus non disputandum est -- JR

AUSTRALIA'S ocker image has been replaced with a sense of sophistication that leaves little room for old tall poppy jealousies, a leading social researcher says in his snapshot of the country in the 21st century. On the eve of Australia Day, Mark McCrindle yesterday outlined the way the nation had evolved in the past 25 years, drawing on a series of surveys and studies to reveal an Australia that now sees itself as a cultural hub rather than just a land of sweeping plains.

"If you were to do an ad or a theme song with a video clip of Australia Day, it wouldn't be the kangaroos hopping around in the outback and the dusty red centre and the untouched beach, as much as it would be a city festival with a whole blend of coloured faces and that evening culture of cafe style," he said. "It's a shift beyond the bloke and the cobber and she'll be right mate and the Akubra and the beer. Australia has, in so many ways, come of age. There is a growing sophistication here. Some of the cliches that we held of Australia, how we saw ourselves even as late as the 1980s, have moved on."

Mr McCrindle said the changes come from a combination of a growing multicultural diversity, growing up and acceptance of our place in the world. "In business and in innovation and medical technology, we see ourselves not as the land Down Under – out of the way and isolated from the epicentre of the world, but actually closer to the new power in Asia and home to global cities and metropolitan and cosmopolitan 24/7 cafe culture cities."

"When you move into a bigger population centre, as Australia has, there's enough going on here that we don't have to be insecure about someone else making a go of things. We don't rip down our stars as much but rather give them a fair go. "The tall poppy syndrome is almost like a small-town syndrome or a small-school view where you don't want to see the person from your school succeeding."

When asked to nominate a phrase that best characterises the Australian spirit, more than one quarter of people nominated "good on you mate" and "g'day mate" but there was a cultural cringe about some iconic phrases. While Australians are predominately positive about phrases like "Down Under" and "true blue", other patriotic phrases such as "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi, Oi, Oi", "crikey" and "dinky di" split the country with many feeling negative about them.

The research found that one-third of Australians were increasingly feeling more proud of their country.


Popular Australian entrepreneur and philanthropist fears the impacts of high immigration levels

PLANS to massively boost Australia's population are a bad idea and must be stopped, entrepreneur Dick Smith says. 'The Federal Government favours a "big Australia" and wants to increase the country's headcount from 22 million to 35 million by 2050, largely by immigration. But Mr Smith said this was ridiculous.

"We need to do something about this incredible increase," he said at an Australian of the Year dinner in Parliament House today. "No one is allowed to talk about it ... I am."

Mr Smith said Australia did not have enough water or food to support millions more people. It was crazy that seawater was being desalinated for drinking water to supply a booming population. "I believe in 100 years time people in Australia will be starving to death."

The intake of skilled migrants should be slashed and women should be discouraged from having more than two babies, Mr Smith said. He believes nine out of 10 Australians do not want a population boom. Mr Smith is working on a documentary on the issue.

The Government wants to increase the population because it means more young taxpayers to pay the rising health and pension costs of the ageing population. But a recent poll showed most people did not like that plan and some green groups have voiced concerns about the environmental costs.



Paul said...

Kevin Rudd, obeying the dictates of his Masters at the UN continues to promote massive population growth, while at the same time carrying on about man-made climate change. You can't have it both ways....unless that permanent seat at the UN means more to you than the future of your country.

Biorealist said...

I agree with Dick Smith, although more important than restricting couples to 2 children is enabling more educated women to have children. Currently they have the least and over time that will lead to a less skilled population.

In terms of immigration the numbers should be capped, but again the quality is crucial. As the economy becomes more complex low skilled workers will struggle and will be at risk of ending up in a welfare dependant underclass. The effects of this have already been seen in places like California.

"One myth is that because America is a country of immigrants and has successfully absorbed waves of immigration in the past, it can absorb this wave. But the argument neglects two key differences between past waves and the current influx. First, the immigrant population is more than double today what it was following the most massive previous immigration wave (that of the late 19th century). Second, and much more important, as scholars from the Manhattan Institute have shown, earlier immigrants were much more likely to bring with them useful skills. Some Hispanic immigrants certainly do integrate, but most do not. Research has shown that even after 20 years in the country, most illegal aliens (the overwhelming majority of whom are Hispanic) and their children remain poor, unskilled, and culturally isolated they constitute a new permanent underclass."

(24/08/09, Alex Alexiev, 'Stop Illegals, Save CA' National Public Radio)


The importance of skilled migrants is emphasised by Robert Putman's research on the negative impact diversity can have on social capital if not well managed.

"Putnam’s concerns about deteriorating social capital form another argument for immigrant skill selection.

When Robert Putnam came to my class five years ago, he presented some surprising and provocative results. But even more surprising is that his findings, public for at least two years, have generated so little substantive discussion among policymakers. The challenge that ethnic diversity poses to 21st century communities is significant, and meeting that challenge requires robust public discussion and debate. That discussion should include not just how we deal with the diversity of our current population, but how we can ensure future diversity causes as little harm as possible. Selecting intelligent immigrants is the smart way to begin." (Jason Richwine, A Smart Solution to the Diversity Dilemma, 12 August 2009)


Also, the House of Lords Report on the Economic Impact of Immigration to the UK cast doubt on the idea immigration would offset a rise in pension costs. The report explodes a number of myths about the economic benefits of largescale immigration.


rloader said...

I agree with Dick Smith and I suspect many other Australians.
I, likr many Australians, feel threatened by the influx of Muslims, their building of numerous mosques and their own schools on the money Australian taxpayers unwittingly provide. In many other countries such as Canada, France, Denmark, Holland and England they in the main have not assimilated and they say they are going to outbreed the population and eventually take over these countries legally. They have a baby every twelve months and are also a huge drain on the welfare system and the authorities are very worried. I think immigration should be capped and restriced more to Europeans and English. I am not racist but I am very worried for the future of our free country and my future descendants. I hope that the present Government is a one term Government and that any successive Govt learns from their mistakes.