Strewth! Why it’s Australian to be un-Australian

I have been branded un-Australian as a result of my earlier blog post. The accusation was emailed to me privately. According to this person, the reason I was branded un-Australian was because I do not support the Australian cricket team and I barrack for the opposition except when they play Mother England. To be honest, I am not much of a cricket fan anyway and at times, I find it a boring spectator sport. I realise that my opinion has probably offended 99 per cent of the male Australian population and according to the email I received, some females too. I had to put up watching cricket all through my childhood because my father watched it every summer and like most families back in those days, we only had one television set. Therefore, when dad wanted to watch cricket, we had no choice.

I would happily support the Australian cricket team if they weren’t so damn arrogant and demonstrated more grace. I do agree they are an excellent cricket team and I admire all of their achievements and successes. Trust me, I do not have tall poppy syndrome. My reason for not supporting the Australian cricket team is because at times, I do not appreciate their behaviour and attitude, and as a proud Australian, I find it embarrassing.  An example was Shane Watson’s over-celebration by screaming manically and aggressively in the direction of West Indies captain Chris Gayle after dismissing him during a recent test match. I also know plenty of other Australians who also share my view so I am certainly not the only one. I just wish the Australian cricket team were a bit more humble with the way they play the game, that’s all.

But the main point of this post is the ridiculous notion that exists in this country about being branded un-Australian. After discussing this with some girlfriends on the weekend, we agreed that people are too quick to judge or accuse others of being un-Australian simply because one may not follow sport or follow an Australian team. For example, I know people who are not interested in Australian Rules football and they are automatically branded as been un-Australian. It is pathetic.

To be branded un-Australian simply because one may not follow or be passionate about sport is ridiculous.  I, for one am a proud Australian who pays my respect every year at Anzac Day and I love celebrating Australia Day. I follow Australia in every other sport, including the Olympics and Commonwealth Games. Surely, there is no reason to brand me un-Australian.

And whoever invented the term un-Australian? Where did it come about?  It appears to have become a phenomenon since the mid 1990’s thanks to our then Prime Minister John Howard. Sport is so ingrained into Australian culture and society now that in the past the Australian government invested more into sport than any country in the world. In a speech addressed by Kate Ellis, Minster for Sport in 2005, the Australian Government invested more than $12 million a year to protect the integrity of Australian sport. Of this over $1 million alone went to protecting the integrity of the Australian Olympic Team. I like sport and I enjoy it as much as the next person, but as a nation, we are obsessed with it. So much so, we are now getting branded un-Australian if we don’t follow it.

The term “un-Australian” has become so widely used that the Macquarie Dictionary has revised its definition, writes Judith Ireland. It’s not easy being Australian. Men who like cats, bosses who block internet access to footy tipping websites and anyone who refuses to eat lamb on Australia Day or support Lleyton Hewitt are un-Australian, say recent media reports.

Apparently it is un-Australian to serve only mid-strength beer at the cricket or to fire an employee for having a couple of pots of beer during the lunchbreak. Funny how the examples appear to be alcohol related too.

What next? Will someone be branded un-Australian if they choose not to: watch Kath and Kim or Home and Away, like Kylie Minogue, enjoy the beach, drink VB, eat Vegemite, Twisties, a meat pie, Tim Tams or Cherry Ripes?

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald in 2005, a Media Monitors survey of metropolitan Australian newspapers found mentions of un-Australian have increased from 68 in 1995, to 406 in 2000 and 571 in 2004.

To me, one should be branded un-Australian if they burn the country’s flag or engage in terrorist activities. But then, that’s not just been un-Australian; it’s simply a severe lack of human decency and respect.

Australia has a lot to be proud of.  Look at the way Australians pulled together during those tragic bushfires in February last year. Look at how much money was raised to support those who suffered in those fires. That is just one example of our generosity and what we are capable of as a nation when tragedy strikes. Look at how Australia always supports their allies in war and donates generously to other countries in need. Australians donated more than $100 million towards the tsunami disaster relief in 2004. Not bad for a country with only a population of approximately 20 million.

I find it amusing that we have a public holiday for a horse race, we eat our national emblem (actually I don’t), we have a dictionary to interpret the way we speak and Americans believe we have kangaroos roaming the city streets. And no other country has the best spread in the world. Mmm I love Vegemite.

As a nation we certainly have come a very long way in just over 200 years.

This country has provided me, like so many others, with a wonderful quality of life and I am very proud to call myself an AUSTRALIAN.

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~ by Shae on January 18, 2010.

12 Responses to “Strewth! Why it’s Australian to be un-Australian”

  1. Well said Shae… I agree completely…

  2. You really speak MY mind, Shae!

    I don’t mind Twenty20 cricket, yet I could never sit down for five days and watch a Test. As for the childish tit-for-tat behaviour of all international cricket teams over the past few years, I think that could be the reason why an increasing number of Australians are losing interest in the sport at a national level.

    As for the person who sent you an email accusing you of being un-Australian… I don’t like Home and Away, Vegemite or Tim Tams (well, except for the pink ones) – so what’s that make me?!

  3. Uh oh. After my comment on your last post I guess that gives me the same label. I hate Vegemite but love Twisties, Cherry Ripes and Tim Tams, does that redeem me a little bit…

  4. I LOVE it Shae! I love the research you have put in this blog and I loooovee the ending. Great work!!! They are getting better and better.

    I am a very proud Aussie who can’t sit for 30 seconds and to watch footy or cricket and my dream is to travel the world. Nonetheless, I am so proud to call myself an Aussie and will always call Australia home. Lets embrace our diversity not label it!

  5. This transcends nations. Not sure that Canadian identy is as wrapped up in sports as Australia but I don’t think I have ever watched any televised sporting event in my whole life, I would rather watch paint dry. Interesting to note that the sports section in Canadian newspapers up to the 1950s were about half a page. Now they are a quarter of the paper. Totally disproportionate to its (sports) relevance in world events.

  6. Why is it people think it’s ok to label you.
    I hate it when people ask me questions about being Australian or even a Christian.
    Being true blue is very rare these days, but really it doesn’t matter. We should respect people whether they are Australian, green, pink or blue. Unless they prove otherwise.
    I get, so your a Christian, hate that with a passion.
    Some people who take this label and crap all over it or use it to benefit themselves. (Judgement Day People)
    This is my response and if I could I would shout it from the roof tops.
    What church do I go to , MY FATHERS HOUSE.
    What country do I come from GODS COUNTRY.
    Stop boxing yourself in and everyone around you. Take pride in being a decent human being not just where you live or where you were born.
    Step out of the box, I was trained to think black, white etc etc.
    BAA HUMBUG. We all live on the same planet don’t we?
    I have a mind and I will not let anyone box me in, I have friends all over the world. Who are wonderful people, I look at people and talk to them I don’t see colour, age or nationality. I see the person inside the one who is sharing part of themselves with me. Look past the label you were taught to see.
    Food for thought.
    Bronie

  7. I agree Shae, the term un-Australian is used by people who aren’t mature enough to understand that we’re all different and we enjoy different things. As I was reading the comments above the thought that those people that use the term un-Australian could be categorised as bullies. They use this argument to make one feel guilty for feeling a particular way and use the term to bully the other person into changing their ways. My advice: take care with people who use this term, they’re infants.

    p.s. I love test cricket. Try reading an Ashes diary if you ever get the chance. I’m reading Ricky Ponting’s 2005 Ashes Diary and whilst I admit, our cricket team is ruthless and at times an elite boys club; it provides insight into what it takes to have a ‘winning culture’. Having this culture and being successful comes at a cost, sacrifice is required everywhere in life…it all depends on what’s important to you…!

  8. Go Shae! The passion in this reply is a true symbol of an aussie lass. Lovin your work x

  9. Great post Shae, keep em coming!

  10. Stand your ground Shae! The hallmark of being Australian is freedom and having the right to express a point of view which may differ from others – that is what is what freedom is about. In terms of ability, I don’t think anyone doubts the Australian Test side – however, I for one have cringed at some of their individual and collective behaviour in recent times. Keep up the good work.

  11. Hi Shae – you are really putting it out there and it’s great – I love sport, but I agree with you that you are not un -Australian or Un-English or whatever nationality you happen to be if you don’t repect your national teams – repect needs to be earned and if national team culture does not mature, then we will be in a sorry place – can you imagine all those young prospective footballers or cricketers out there, emulating the current nattional teams !!!!!

  12. I appreciate the support everyone. It’s great to see the majority of people agree with my view about the use of the un-Australian. While the Aussie cricket team may be a great side, it is the right of the individual to choose who they support and respect. Because as someone mentioned above, respect has to be earnt.

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