Why sometimes I feel ashamed to be an Australian

So very recently, this video was recorded on a Melbourne bus. I strongly advise you to watch it, though be warned there is some very graphic language involved.

More or less, three Australians on a bus started hurling intense racist verbal abuse at a French girl also sitting on the bus, who was singing in French. Then, one of them smashed a window.

Why? Why has this thing happened? Why have fucking bogan idiot Australians gone ahead and just added more fuel to the fire of Australia being a racist nation.

I used to take great pride in living in a multi-cultural society. When I was living in Poland, I used to talk to my host family about how great it was to live in a place where race didn’t matter. Where people could be themselves and diversity was accepted.

Today, I sadly withdraw my claim. All because of three idiots on a bus.

Now, I’m not usually a person to allow one apple to spoilt the basket, but there is a point I would like to make here and that is this: this incident came as no surprise to me. Why? Because the rise of a racist Australian culture has been brewing for some time now. It was only a matter of time before someone caught it on camera.

The major problem with Australia, and I’m saying this as an Australian, is that there is a culture of laziness, selfishness, greed, and a subtle but increasingly apparent conservatism.

We’re no longer a country that can honestly boast ‘mateship’ and giving everyone a fair go as being values we uphold. It’s not about mateship, it’s about ‘them’ and ‘us’. It’s not about giving everyone a fair go, it’s about ‘what’s in it for me?’

We live in one of the most wealthy and plentiful countries in the world. We have rights and freedoms some nations dream of having. And yet all of this is taken for granted, and people despite having an incredibly high standard of living, expect more.

I know, because I’m guilty of it. I expect a university education. I expect to have a roof over my head, a bed to sleep in, food on my table and water in my tap. I expect a job, I expect time off, I expect comfort and security. I expect these are things that I will have in my life, and I can very well expect them, because I live in a country where these things are seen as a right, not a luxury.

But I’m not so blind as to think that not everyone is entitled to the same things. That somehow there’s a difference between people who were born here and people who came here from abroad.

Because that’s bullshit. There is no difference.

You live on Australian soil, you’re entitled to a fair go. You’re entitled to live the Australian standard of life. This isn’t a birth right that some people can have while others can’t, it’s something that comes with the territory.

But some people seem to freak out at the idea that everyone having equal opportunities and freedoms, somehow means they run the risk of missing out.

It’s like being at a buffet. You know there’s plenty of food, you know you’ll leave feeling stuffed, and yet something in you runs to the front of the line, makes sure that you get your share. Despite there being a plentiful supply, some small voice inside can’t be content to wait and let others eat their fill as well. Because what if you miss out?

Australia is a restaurant, its plentifulness is a buffet, and its citizens the hungry patrons all jostling for the spot furthest up in the queue.

Australians have become greedy and selfish. They want more, and so there’s a feeling that someone else has to have less. Feeding that  paranoid fire is the stupid media and our stupid politicians, obsessing over how many people are coming to live in Australia, obsessing about refugees and blowing the whole thing out of proportion.

The actual percentage of refugees that Australia takes on is embarrassingly small when compared to other countries. We are one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and yet are so stuck up and greedy that we can’t ever lend a hand to people in a state of genuine need.

Their suffering becomes about us.  What will happen to me if I help someone else? What do I get out of it?

It’s like we haven’t got any time for selfless deeds: everything we do must be in some way for ourselves.

But back to the video.

The Australian paranoia about people from abroad has painted us in a very ugly light. The fact is that somehow we feel entitled, for no reason on earth other then we had the good fortune to be born here, to act like complete and utter assholes to people who do not deserve it, whose only crime was that they were born overseas.

On to my point about Australian being a subtly conservative society, think about this. What radical move have we made in the past ten, twenty, fifty odd years that wasn’t copying someone else from overseas. What steps have we taken to try to be a progressive society, a leader on the world stage? What have we done to accept differences and support minorities, to embrace a truly multicultural mix of citizens?
Actually, let me re-phrase that. What actions have we attempted to bring about change for the better, that haven’t resulted in some mass of utter dickheads kicking up a fuss about it? In the name of pride. In the name of tradition.
Aboriginal rights, women’s rights, gay rights, refugees, climate change, renewable energy, public transport, education, taxes, overseas aid, etc. etc.
Every time someone tried to bring about change it’s resisted, dragged out, pulled this way and that, argued about, belittled, slammed by the media, turned into a fear campaign. Change is always treated as this horrible bad thing.
It’s a fucking embarrassment.

Australia has fallen into this culture of fear and paranoia, of greed and insecurity. And yet somehow, that’s interpreted as pride.

So to the collection of fuckwit Australians that this applies to, you can feel free to accuse me of being “UnAustralian” for the views that I hold. Because you know what? If this is the culture we’ve created, I wholeheartedly reject that.

Today, I am ashamed of being Australian.

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2 thoughts on “Why sometimes I feel ashamed to be an Australian

  1. Hi Georgie; you are exactly right. I shared this on my fb; I work and volunteer with new migrants and I am horrified that Australia is breeding such a culture 😦

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