Saturday, July 9, 2011

Aussie Aussie Aussie

Legislation was tabled in Parliament today to have plain packaging for cigarettes. Critics of this plan complain that Australia should not be doing this as it has not been proven anywhere else.

A similar argument is being used by the opponents to the carbon tax, which is no longer a tax it is a payment or levy or surcharge, it really is hard to follow sometimes. Australia should not be doing it because no other country is.

If I can use a phrase from one of our longest serving, and in his mind the best PMs, John Howard, this argument is un-Australian. One of our shortest serving politicians would also say that we should send these types of people back to where they came from.

Since when has Australia shied away from being world leaders and being the best. Over the years Australian’s have proudly lead the world in so many ways.

In sport it was an Australian who invented the starting blocks now used in nearly every short distance race run anywhere in the world – it had never been done before but some thought it would make the sport better.

When Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games in 1956, it was one of the Australian organisers who, for the first time invited the athletes to march into the stadium during the opening ceremony. This parade is exciting if only for the period of time your Country is marching around the track the stunning beauty of countries wearing their traditional costume and the embarrassment of the rich countries who have employed fashion designers who invariably over-think their creations. Not everything needs to symbolic, clothes are allowed to be just functional and stylish.

In medicine it was an Australian who discovered penicillin. Recently Australians have been world leaders in the development of cranio-facial surgery, cochlea implants for the deaf and organ transplants.

In transport Australian have created sway control devises for semi trailers, radar systems, logistic management systems, low emission combustion engines, the list goes on.

In television we had Hey Hey It’s Saturday, when at its prime world leading light entertainment programming. It took risks, was funny, irreverent and original. The producers took the risk of reviving the program. It failed as the show was tired, repetitive and dull. But that is why it is called taking a risk – sometimes the risks do not pay off

The kangaroo and emu adorn the top of our national coat of arms. Not because they are cute and fluffy in fact in the wild they can be filthy and aggressive, but because they can only move forward. (that gives me an idea for a campaign slogan)

Their leg joints do not allow either of these beasts to move backwards. It represents the notion of Australia not looking backwards, but rather being progressive. Leading.

People can disagree with the details or the costing of the policies, or even the policies underpinning principles, that is what is a democracy is all about. Arguing that we should not strive to be the best to be cutting edge though is just not on.

That would be like the Australia Day Council choosing a person to be Australian of the Year because he had what is still the biggest selling album in Australian music history only to discover days before the announcement that he was not an Australian citizen. Or choosing a labourer turned comedy television/movie star on the basis he wrote and starred in Australia’s most financially successful movie only to see him immediately move to America to write and star in a series less memorable movies - which their financial success appeared to be inversely proportional to cringe-worthy dialogue and awkward acting. Then have the government spend hundred’s of thousands of dollars over many years pursuing him for tax evasion

Or choosing an Australian Cricket Captain because he is good at selling air conditioners.

Oh wait, the Australia Day Council did do those things. See we are leaders any other country would choose people who had made a significant different to the daily lives of its people or people around the world to be the citizen of the year. A trend Australia has disappointedly succumbed to in recent years.

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