Surviving Australia Day


It is entirely possible that you lack confidence and conviction when it comes to Australia Day. I’m a civic minded lass and here to assist.

Your unsteadiness in celebration may be due in no small part to the appalling manners of colonial Brits. Talk about boorish and impolite, Gov’nor. It’s always befuddled me that a people so consumed by the merest lapse in soup spoon etiquette felt entitled to steal an entire nation continent. This, however, is hardly my point.

I’ll leave the dignified rage to those who are more erudite. Honestly, I’d be no good. What I know about Australian history could be entirely inscribed on a bebo profile. If you want learned analysis of this unforgivable offensive, ask a grown up. Or Robert Hughes.

Your reluctance to commemorate Australia Day in a traditional mode (in a dinghy, enhancing your archipelago of melanoma, while sinking piss) may also stem from more contemporary shame.

Need I enumerate 11 years of libidinal economic spurting, engagement in pointless conflict and general stump dumb thuggery? No. I need not. If you had fondness for the Howard Administration in the place where only nausea should reside, you wouldn’t be here. Would you?

You’d be reading a smug blog by some sexless dweeb hepped up on accidental career advancement and ED medication. You know the sort: still thinks unchecked carbon emissions are fine despite overwhelming scientific opinion; makes appalling neologisms like "Islamofascism" and hasn’t had his wing wang squeezed since puss was a kitten. Poor thing. He thinks he’s P J O’Rourke.

This, however, is hardly my point.

Your disinclination to par-tay may shoot from some other more trivial peeve. Perhaps, for example, the colour combination of gold-and-green is not becoming. Perhaps you would rather eat cold sick with sashimi chopsticks than endure another tatty lamington and sad anhydrous burnt First Fleet sausage. Perhaps you are frightened your chic Leftie friends will see you engaged in acts of unimpeded woo-hoo and call you a nationalist lugnut and withdraw your invitation to all Socialism Advances In Victory wine blending evenings of the future. Ew. That would be bad. Wouldn’t want to have you stuck with a single varietal bottle of wine. What you gonna do with all that malbec anyway, Leon?

Whatever your reason for Australia Day evasion, you must disburse it in the marketplace of nonsense this instant and payez moi attention. I am here, as afore-lied, to assist. There are a number of unconventional but truly patriotic rituals you might consider enacting for this holiday.

First, following the steady example of a Narre Warren native, you must Not Dob On Your Mates. If possible, arrange to witness an illegal or immoral act undertaken by a close acquaintance. When the constabulary and/or A Current Affair shows up, you must say, in that time honoured Australian tradition, "I didn’t see a bloody thing. Don’t know what you’re talking about."

Second, you should consider deriding the success of another individual. If you are indolent (and you should be – this is, after all, a day that celebrates the Australian character) you could just poke fun at Australian of the Year from your sofa. This can prove tricky if an immunologist or similar lifesaving busybody wins. Do your best. You’re an Aussie and therefore expected and entitled to say things like, "Bit big for your boots, aren’t you?"

If all else fails, casual and groundless blame works a treat. Catalogue all of your life’s grievances. Make a list and slice it into pieces, Burroughs style. Then prepare a list of minority groups (be mindful to include Caucasian subgroups, including single mothers). Cut the list up and randomly select one from a hat and match it with random blame-ee.

Happy Australia Day.

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.