Quote for the Day
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And you call that a preamble?The Prime Minister and the poet have had their go. Now here's what they should have said. WE, the People of the broad, brown land of Oz, wish to be recognised as a free nation of blokes, sheilas and the occasional trannie. We come from many lands (although a few too many of us come from New Zealand) and, although we live in the best little country in the world, we reserve the right to bitch and moan about it whenever we bloody like. We are One Nation but we're divided into many States. First, there's Victoria, named after a queen who didn't believe in lesbians. Victoria is the realm of Mossimo turtlenecks, cafe latte and grand final day. Its capital is Melbourne, whose chief marketing pitch is that it's "livable". Next, there's NSW. It is the realm of pastel shorts, macchiato with sugar, thin books read quickly and millions of dancing gay-boys. Its mascots are Bondi lifesavers who pull their Speedos up their cracks to keep the left and right sides of their brains separate. Down south we have Tasmania, a State based on the notion that the family that bonks together stays together. In Tassie, everyone gets an extra chromosome at conception. Maps of the State bring smiles to the sternest faces. South Australia is the province of half-decent reds, a festival of foreigners and bizarre axe murders. They had the Grand Prix, but lost it when the views of Adelaide sent the Formula One drivers to sleep at the wheel. Western Australia is too far from anywhere to be relevant in this document. The Northern Territory is the red heart of our land. Outback plains, sheep stations, kangaroos, jackaroos, emus, Ulurus and dusty kids with big smiles. Although the Territory is the centrepiece of our national culture, few of us live there and the rest prefer to fly over it on our way to Bali. And there's Queensland. While any mention of God seems silly in a document defining a nation of half-arsed agnostics, it is worth noting that God probably made Queensland. Why he filled it with dickheads remains a mystery. We, the Lullaby League of Oz, are united, primarily by the Pacific Highway, whose treacherous twists and turns kill more of us each year than die by murder. We are united in our lust for international recognition, so desperate for praise we leap in joy when a ragtag gaggle of corrupt IOC officials tells us Sydney is better than Beijing. We are united by a democracy so flawed that a political party, albeit a redneck gun-toting one, can get a million votes and still not win one seat in Federal Parliament. Desirable, sure. But fair? Not when you consider Brian Harradine can get 24,000 votes and run the bloody country. Not that we're whingeing. We've chucked out the concept of "fair go" in the downsized '90s. Instead, we want to make "no worries" our national phrase. We love sport so much our newsreaders can read the death toll from a sailing race and still tell us who's winning, in the same breath. We treasure our politicians, who talk about listening with such persistence it's hard to get a word in. We tolerate our Prime Minister, who is not only short but a Methodist, hanging offences in decent countries. And we like watching Parliament on TV because Natasha Stott Despoja is a total spunkrat. We, the wicked witches of the land of Oz, want to make it clear this continent is ours and always has been. Mind you, Liberal Party polling shows that there were some people here before Captain Cook so we should address the issue once and for all. While possession is nine-tenths of the law, our ancestors were fortunate enough to discover that genocide, cultural extinguishment, baby theft and flour poisoning make up the other tenth. So Oz is now ours and that's that. Our midget Methodist master says we have no reason to feel sorry for killing more Aborigines per capita than the Nazis did Jews and Liberal Party polling says we're OK with that. Why don't we say sorry? In the words of our PM - because, because, because, because, because. Now, can we just drop the whole thing before the Olympics start? Phew, with that nasty bit out of the way, we the Brain, the Heart and the Nerve of Oz, want the world to know we have the biggest rock, the tastiest pies and the worst-dressed Olympians in the known universe. We don't know much about art but we know we hate the people who make it. We shoot, we vote. We are girt by sea and pissed by lunchtime. And even though we might seem a racist, closed-minded, sports-obsessed little People, at least we're better than the Kiwis. Now bugger off, we're sleeping.
Tim Ferguson is the author of Left, Right & Centre, (Penguin), a political satire.