Who's Rooting For Team Australia?


I’d like you, for a moment, to consider your own inevitable death. On that day, when you are brutally slaughtered in your sleep, who do you envision doing the deed? If you answered, "the youth of today", you’ve put your finger on the very real problem facing us today: the fact that young people in our modern society are directionless, devoid of purpose, filled with frustration and rage, and essentially amoral and sadistic.

Open up any newspaper today, and what do you see? That’s right — Woolworths ads. But turn the page, and what do you see? Andrew Bolt stroking his chin. But if you browse through the paper for a bit, you will come to see story after story after story about children running wild. Damaging property, spray-painting public amenities, stabbing people in the neck, and texting pictures of their nipples to each other. They are absolutely out of control, and it’s difficult not to assume that the tide of violence engulfing us all is because of the internet, like most things.

But that’s just too simplistic an answer this time. This is one occasion when we can’t simply create a fake profile on Facebook, cyber-bully our kids into submission, and retire to the sleep of the righteous. We have to look deeper, we need to crack this problem open and reach right down inside, much as a great chef will crack a crab’s shell before pulling out the juicy crabmeat and frying it in oil. And likewise we must try to fry our young people in oil — figuratively speaking — if we are to prevent civilisation collapsing in a nightmarish welter of graffiti and disrespectful t-shirts.

But is there an answer? Luckily, there is, and it’s no surprise that it comes from the natural home of innovation and harmony, the Liberal Party. Specifically, from the Victorian Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Minister, Nick Kotsiras, who, in the course of an ordinary day at the Department of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship Department, sitting in his office playing Minesweeper and wondering what his job is, had a brainwave. And the name of that brainwave? "Team Australia".

Yes, Minister Kotsiras has placed himself in the mines of Moria, standing before the Balrog of hooliganism, and, crying, "You shall not pass!", has raised high a staff carved from pure patriotism. And truly, never has a braver wizard inhabited a state frontbench.

The first genius bit of Team Australia is the name: Team … Australia. A name to conjure with, I’m sure you’ll agree. Whisper it to yourself, right now. Go on, don’t be shy. Nobody’s around. Say it: "Team Australia…" Don’t you just get shivers? There you see the brilliance of Kotsiras.

What sort of image arises in your head when you hear the name Team Australia? A really bad series of kids’ books about young Christians solving crimes and learning about democracy? Yes, me too! But there are other images that it’s possible to come up with. Images of hope, and love, and ethnically diverse school groups skipping through Federation Square, playing cricket on beaches, and learning how abattoirs work. Good wholesome activities that make for better citizens, better lives, and better meat.

What are the main elements of Team Australia? Well, the first main element is that all schoolchildren should sing the national anthem. The other main elements are also that all schoolchildren should sing the national anthem. It’s a pretty simple plan, to be honest. The process goes like this:

1. Children sing national anthem
2. Children feel Australian
3. Children get jobs driving mining trucks.
4. Hooray.

Of course, some people don’t think kids should sing the national anthem, because it’s got difficult words like "girt" in it, and they have nothing better to complain about. Some people think they should sing Waltzing Matilda, because the current anthem doesn’t give enough credit to the suicidal thieves who built this nation. Some people think they should sing We Are Australian, because they hate life and themselves. But the words don’t really matter — what matters is the feeling.

The problem, as Mr Kotsiras so cannily put his multicultural finger on, is that kids just don’t feel Australian. They live here, they go to Australian schools, and they eat at Australian McDonald’s family restaurants, but they don’t have real "Australianness", down deep in their bones.

You know what I mean by Australianness — that powerful, poignant, passionate feeling that we all have percolating in our bellies if we are real Australians; that mysterious, indefinable sense of identity, that intoxicating mixture of dusty outback resourcefulness, knockabout larrikin humour, detailed knowledge of marsupials, and cheerful alcoholism. It’s hard to explain in words, but when you’ve got it, you know it. I, being a proper Australian with Australian parents and everything, feel it very strongly indeed. And probably you do too, since you can read English. But unfortunately, there are many children on this landmass who don’t feel it. They may be technically Australian, but they’re not emotionally Australian. And if you’re not emotionally Australian, quite frankly you might as well be some sort of central Asian opium-lord: your Australianness will come to nought.

Which is why it’s so important that Kotsiras’s proposal gets cut-through with the community. We need to make kids feel Australian, or else they’re going to go looking for other ways to forge a personal identity. After all, we all know how Australian kids behave: they play sport, they go fishing, they help with the washing up and throw Frisbees to old Tige the blue heeler out in the paddock. They live a bracing outdoors life that prepares them for a long and successful life of obeying the law and staying as quiet as possible.

If kids aren’t sufficiently Australian, they stray from this happy eucalyptic life-cycle. They begin listening to hip-hop. They show disrespect to their elders. They refuse to go to tractor lessons. They start inhaling nitrous oxide and masturbating in phone booths. They kill and eat old Tige, and they wipe their mouths on the flag. Let kids grow up without a sense of Australianness, and you’ll be living in a failed state quicker than you can say "creeping sharia".

It’s time to stop the wave of lawlessness. Youth gangs and knife-crime might be acceptable for backward countries like Phuket or Germany, but we don’t want it here. We need to take back our kids from the foreignness of other places, and instil in them a proper sense of the Australianness of here. We need to drag them into the modern Australian century, and get them singing with all their might. We need to say to the kids of today, sure you might think it’s pretty "cool" to sit around on the computer all day, Photoshopping pictures of Weary Dunlop into porn; but how much more AWESOME would it be if you could get together with all your school pals and have a nice singalong? They’ll soon see how "hip" patriotism is.

Make no mistake, people: we are in a war. A war against un-Australian feelings. A war against alienated youth. A war against non-anthem singing. And it’s a war we need to win, before it’s too late.

Get those kids singing, Australia. With a song in our hearts, we can avoid the coming bed-massacre, and sleep soundly until we all die of obesity. That’s the Australian way.

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.