Plenty Tough People

Sitting here at night, on pinot noir and flu pills after a long day, I found myself watching the news conference which State Premier Anna Bligh and Prime Minister Julia Gillard gave in Australia during Queensland's latest tribulation. I was struck by the steel efficiency of it all, and the calm voice of a great strong people. I get very sentimental about Australia, for no good reason at all.

Anyway, I am not going to inflict my usual Sydney Olympics 'Advance Australia Fair' version. Here is a different one, by a classically trained pianist who ended up in a pop group. Condi Rice, I suppose, could have too, but well, you take a wrong turn here and there in life, and there is no going back.

Anyway, decent tough working people with hearts of gold. That's my Australian prejudice tonight, and here is the requisite aspirational film, which I found genuinely moving. It is odd what these pills will do....


Edward Spalton said…
How nice to hear Judtih Durham again.

By coincidence I recently stood in for my chairman of the Campaign for an Independent Britain (who was unwell) to lay a wreath at the Admiral Phillip memorial (the first Governor of Australia) in Watling Street near St. Paul's to mark Australia day. We then marched behind the fifes and drums of the Cinque Ports Volunteers (and the band played Waltzing Matilda and other good old tunes) to St.Sepulchre's Church for a service taken by the Bishop of Wangaratta where we sang "Advance Australia fair" and "God save the Queen".

Like you, I have been impressed by the matter-of-fact, can-do, let's-get-on-with-it attitude of the the Queenslanders affected by the floods. It was very rare to hear the professional "caring" victimological voice, so often heard after catastrophes here.
Anonymous said…
Hi Martin,

It is funny the impression you get from watching your news. Anna Bligh had become very unpopular in Queensland after a lacklustre few years. She's done very well in these difficult times and it seems that all is forgiven.

Poor old Julia has been pilloried in the press for appearing not to care. So last night she shed a few tears and now she's 'faking it'. I don't believe that but she is judged harshly.

I used to watch Julia G, now and again, on parliamentary question time when she was just a minister. She was incredibly quick witted, intelligent and amusing. It's as though her whole personality has ebbed away under the strain of being PM. I think she hates the job.

That aside, the forces of nature have always been rather more terrifying here. Hurricanes, fires, droughts, floods are a part of life.
We all help each other but this is what being human is surely? It's not a particularly Australian trait. There is a tendency to become jingoistic which is evident in the media here. The implication is that other peoples, other nationalities, wouldn't help each other to the same extent. I hope they're wrong.

So good to here that your Mum is doing well,

Love Mx
Martin Meenagh said…
Thank you both for your comments. Australians do come across as more straightforward and less narcissistic than the culture here in response to much lesser challenge, Mary, but as you point out perceptions are very different from a distance. Many Aussie exiles here believe, for instance, that Oz is self-obsessed and parochial. I, as I wrote, am quite happy just to admit to an uniformed sentimental attachment to the place. Blame 'Neighbours' as a boy....
I'm working, but doing so with the benefit of flu pills, and am off to take some more. More later!
Martin Meenagh said…
I know what you mean about Julia Gillard. She's still quite attractive, though, from a Martin point of view. The leather jackets suit her more than the cloth crates they make her get into to seem serious, but I think any fair minded person could see that she was serious and sexy at the same time. It's just that politics tends to focus on the meanest impressions, and not the full woman (or man, given the hoo-ha over Tony Abbot's Afghan comments between soldiers, or his budgie swimngear).

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