Home' Scoop : Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Contents SCOOP SUMMER 2009 19
travel destinations in the world -- the only destina-
tion in Australia to make the cut.
There is no doubting our luck and the great
opportunities before us.
But where to from here? What kind of com-
munity do we want to be in 2020?
I think we are off to a fantastic head start. I am
enormously proud to be Australian and in particu-
lar to be West Australian.
While I am happy to bitch and moan about any
range of issues that I think need to improve, and
strongly believe we need to keeping fighting hard
to preserve the very best of what makes WA such
a great state, I love the Australian character and
society we have developed.
So I have decided to take this 50th edition to
share the love...
I love that when I travel overseas and people
find out I am Australian, they immediately lighten
up. And in France, when they find out I am not
from the UK, they suddenly remember they can
speak some English after all.
I am enormously proud of our sporting and
military history, our reputation as great fight-
ers and the mutual respect forged with even our
fiercest of enemies. I love that the Perth-based SAS
are recognized as one of the elite fighting forces
in the world, and that a recent medal awarded to
an Australian soldier was for a suicidal dash under
heavy fire to rescue an Afghan interpreter.
I love our reputation as hard workers and for
having great humour under pressure and that we
are most often at our very best when things are at
their very worst.
As an American friend relayed to me: on the
fishing boats up in Alaska when there was a great
storm and a pretty good chance that everyone
was going to die, it was the Australians who kept
working, were making jokes, laughing and singing
"Waltzing Matilda We Are All Going To Die".
I love the story relayed by a German writer in
the Peter Fitzsimons book Tobruk, about a Ger-
man soldier in Tobruk who mistakenly jumped
into a bunker full of 40 Australians, then pulled
a grenade and yelled "Hands up!" He reported
that the Australian's reaction was at the very least
unexpected. Instead of shooting him dead they did
everything but laugh, until an enormous Austral-
ian stepped forward with a grin and said, "Just put
that dangerous thing away, will you?"
He said that the mood of the Australians in
the heat of battle was something akin to convivial,
like strangers meeting under a tree to shelter from
a storm. Left to his own devices, he pulled out
his own first aid kit to help one of the Australian
wounded. Seeing that he was a good bloke, the
Australians gave him something to eat, butter and
sour tasting black stuff, and was told he'd bet-
ter get used to it. He was shown family pictures
of home and given several addresses and told to,
"call my people when you get to Australia, you're a
good chap, they will look after you."
Soon afterwards this Australian post was over-
run and the Australians captured, but the German
soldier reported the Australians sitting next to
German wounded sharing cigarettes while waiting
How could you not be proud?
And while I love our sense of pride in being
Australian, I love that it is not the flag-waving kind
and typically devoid of arrogance or superiority.
While I sometimes shudder at the level of dis-
respect shown to authority, I love that authority is
still expected to earn the respect of the people, and
we work on a basic premise that no one is better
than anyone else.
I pray that we never lose our self-deprecating
humour and love that the biggest jokes we make
are most often about ourselves. And I love that
we think that the most important thing is to have
a go, no matter how big a clown you might be
making of yourself.
While sometimes overdone, gormless and
insensitive, I love our tendency to break down
communication barriers by "taking the piss" and
that by recognising and often making fun of our
differences we are tacitly saying that, yes, we are
different but that is OK.
I love that Australians rarely ignore the elephant
in the room, be it one of race, creed or religion.
A Pakistani parent at my boy's school said to me
recently that when working on the rigs in Australia
he is tagged the "Mad Muzzi" but had never been
more welcomed, has made some great mates and
being a hard worker, has never left a job where
they haven't asked him to stay longer.
I love that we are a country of foreigners, and
while we are essentially a Christian society, that we
are no longer defined by colour, creed or religion.
And that while acknowledging that bigotry and
bigots will always exist, and that we need to be
forever vigilant, I love that we live in possibly the
least racist society in the world -- anyone who
doesn't think so simply hasn't travelled enough. I
love that a Jewish missionary next to me on a flight
out of Australia told me that the biggest problem
facing Judaism in Australia was a lack of persecu-
tion as too many of the faithful were marrying
outside of the religion.
I love that even the bigot at the bar will make
an exception if he finds out that someone is a
I love that we walk a reasonable line between
the purely market-driven approach of the US
and unworkable socialism that is now crippling
much of Europe. I love that the majority of West
Australians are still employed by passionate owner-
operator small businesses, and hope that we never
become slaves to a centralized corporate Australia.
I love that we have a community sector fueled
largely by volunteers who hold this society together
and look after those who slip through the cracks.
I am enormously proud of the inherent
strengths and extraordinary talents of the Abo-
riginal people of Australia and pray that over time
more individuals are able to share in the benefits of
this wonderful state.
I hope we never lose our sense of fun and under-
standing that you can take things seriously without
being serious all the time, and love that we need a
reason not be happy and not to be making jokes.
Above all, I hope that we never forget that
along with everything that makes it great to be a
West Australian, that we still need to face up to
the issues, to be tough but fair, to recognise that
hard decisions are required to be made to keep this
society strong and moral; that some people can't be
saved and that we must always make the safety and
wellbeing of every man, woman and child in our
society our absolute priority.
So from all of us at Scoop, we offer our heartfelt
thanks and best wishes to all of our loyal readers,
subscribers and clients without whose support
none of this would have been possible.
We look forward to celebrating and sharing
with you the very best of this great state and hope
that the next 50 editions of Scoop bring you as
much pleasure and opportunity as the first 50.
Managing Director, Scoop Publishing
"While I love our pride in being Australian, I love that it is not the
flag-waving kind and typically devoid of arrogance or superiority."
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