Perrottet’s ‘Adelaide card’ in the NSW election

For the people of South Australia, one point of interest in the upcoming NSW election concerns Dominic Perrottet’s repeated comparisons between Sydney and Adelaide. In Perrottet’s view, Sydney’s greatness is best measured against Adelaide because the South Australian capital leads the country in one respect only – dysfunctionality. His comments to this effect, which include two so far in the current election campaign, raise the question posed by Melbourne journalist MacKenzie Pennycook in her article, ‘Dom Perrottet has another weird swipe at Adelaide for literally no reason’. Mr. Perrottet, ‘what has South Australia done to you?’

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The sliding scale of Australian boganhood

There has been some high-brow analysis of Australian boganhood recently. The 2022 compilation of essays, Class in Australia, where writers ‘take class as their analytic focus, bringing empirical and conceptual light to the ways in which class offers a relational and structural understanding of inequality, social and cultural relations, and affective modalities’, includes the essay, ‘Bogan Talk: What It Says (and Can’t Say) about Class in Australia’. Then, the November issue of the Australian Book Review has an article, ‘On boganism: Reflections on class and Australian English’. This article, written by the Director of the Australian National Dictionary Centre with an accompanying podcast, discusses the need for an expanded entry for ‘bogan’ in the Dictionary’s next update.

Continued on The Spectator Australiahere.

Australia needs the more authentic Albo

The personal and political transformation of Anthony Albanese since he came to office in May has been something to behold. On the personal level, he has shaken off his lowly-born tags like few before him. The tough western Sydney teenager now has the appearance of a learned Cambridge don. Then, politically, he has shown a conservative streak that no one saw coming, especially with his affection for the mother country and his being a stickler for upholding Westminster traditions.

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Is Angus Houston too close to China?

My interview about this article with Alan Jones on ADH TV on 14 September 2022 can be accessed here the interview begins at 28:40 on the programme. And a follow-up by Alan in the opening of his show the next night is here).

On Wednesday 3 August the Albanese government announced that a review of the Australian Defence Force would be conducted jointly by former Labor Defence Minister Stephen Smith and retired ADF chief Sir Angus Houston, and throughout the days that followed, questions were raised over the suitability of Smith given that, during his time as Defence Minister, he had overseen a reduction in the Defence budget. Equally if not more problematic, however, is the appointment of Houston, who, as recently as October 2020, insisted that China is a friend of Australia and that it was wrong of Australia to act or think otherwise.  

Continued on The Spectator Australiahere.

What does China know about MH370?

Australia deserves some credit for its role in the search for MH370. It was a flight connected with the interests of China more than any other country, in that its intended destination was Beijing, it first met with trouble whilst over the militarised South China Sea, and of the 239 passengers and crew who lost their lives, 154 were Chinese nationals. Yet, in the search effort that ended in January 2017, Australia’s financial investment was more than three times that of China’s in addition to Australia committing its own personnel and resources. It was good of Australia to do this. It was not acting under any legal obligation.

Continued on The Spectator Australiahere.

An alternative South Australian perspective

An edited version of this article was published on Flat Whitehere.

The Flat White article, ‘A South Australian perspective’, written by Ross Eastcoast, will win him plenty of admirers in Sydney and Melbourne. Of all of the articles written by journalists who seek popularity by slipping a boot into Adelaide or South Australia, I have never seen one that squeezes so many insults into a single two-minute read. Written in serious tones from start to finish, the article is a study in word economy in the Sydney-Melbourne practice of bagging South Australia.

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The new self-fu*king help books

A G-rated version of this little article was published in The Spectator Australia – here. The original version, as submitted to The Spectator Australia, is below.

In a bookshop at Adelaide airport last Christmas I saw a well-dressed woman, seemingly in her mid-sixties, looking studiously at the front and back covers of a book entitled The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: a counter-intuitive approach to living a good life. I was intrigued. What had piqued her interest in this book? She did not strike me as someone in need of self-help. Maybe she was thinking of buying it for a niece or nephew who was having a rough trot. Or maybe, I thought, she was turning over the same kind of conflicted thoughts that I have about books like this ‒ unimpressed by the profanity in the title whilst wondering why they bothered with the asterisk.

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Bagging Adelaide

(My 3AW interview with Tom Elliott about this article can be heard here. The article was published by The Big Smoke under the title, ‘Interstate ribaldry: Why is Adelaide the national punching bag?‘)

It’s been a bumper season for bagging Adelaide. The running ‘joke’ in Sydney and Melbourne that South Australia is the pits has made its way into the national discourse, with a growing number of journalists and other identities making derisory comments about Adelaide whilst on national platforms, having forgotten that they are being heard or read in South Australia as well. It is a peculiar thing, and seemingly uniquely Australian, that otherwise respected national voices should dump on one particular state. No doubt they would argue the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ defence. I myself prefer the diagnosis offered by Adelaide writer Andrew P. Street, who says there is a ‘national blind spot’ blanketing everything south-west from about Broken Hill.

Continued on The Big Smoke.