BBC BLOGS - Nick Bryant's Australia
« Previous | Main | Next »

Follow-ups and feedback

Nick Bryant | 09:13 UK time, Wednesday, 28 May 2008

How could I have forgotten The Wiggles when talking about Australia's 'cultural creep' and its growing influence around the world?' Those always-chirpy, planet-trotting troubadours, who have captivated children way beyond Australian shores with foot-tapping hits like 'Yummy, Yummy' and 'Mashed Potato, Mashed Potato.'

For proof of their plans for global domination, just check out their website, and its worldwide map with red-dots signifying Wiggle outposts - or should that be bridgeheads or even 'Widgeheads.' Steve Irwin and, now, his daughter, Bindi, have enjoyed the same global appeal, and ensure sure that a slice of Australiana is beamed into living rooms and nurseries all over the world. So thanks to TGordon41 for pointing that out.


Overlooking The Wiggles, Australia's highest paid entertainers, will probably reinforce wjburt's view that I am clueless about Australia. "The idea that Australia will become a 'super power' is fanciful rubbish," he or she writes in response to the last blog, Australia and the rise of the rest.

In my defense, I was never making the case for Australia achieving super-power status. Far from it. I was merely suggesting that Australia is in a position to help make other countries, like China and India, superpowers, and that will give it more diplomatic clout as the century plays out. This is how evansukthorpe put it: "Once oil runs out and if/when the world goes nuclear, Australia will literally be the world's powerhouse."

I was also suggesting that power is probably going to be more evenly divided over the next century, and that Australia is part of what's being called the "rise of the rest". If this is to be the "Asia-Pacific Century", it is perhaps worth remembering that it was the Hawke government which brought together the first meeting of APEC, the forum for Asia-Pacific states.


Usanewsman had this to say: "Surely Australia is by far one of the most up and coming nations to fill that void (left by America)." Still, I think wjburt has come up with a very deft-worded definition of Australia's national goals. "We want to be strong enough to protect ourselves and our friends; rich enough to give our citizens a good life and influential enough that we can stand up to Europe and Asia when they try pushing us around." Anybody have any thoughts on that?

The Persauder, a Pom, warns against complacency and too much self-congratulation. Rob Hob notes that Australia "overachieves in sport, but under achieves in science, innovation, and manufacturing. Science and innovation is imported." Don't know if there are any scientists or innovators there that want to weigh in on that.

After all, the list of Australian inventions is long and varied: penicillin, Polymer bank notes, the clapperboard, the electric drill, spray-on skin, the flight data recorder - and, of course, the esky (a cool box) and box wine. On the question of Australia's global rebranding, many of you clearly think that Tourism Australia should try to be a little bit more sophisticated and escape from some of the cliches and stereotypes of its "So Where the Bloody Hell Are You?" campaign. Mordigirl asks "what about promoting all the great ethnic restaurants we have? Promote our diversity".

Admirable thought, but does that work? A few years back, when Tourism Australia asked prospective tourists to "Take a Fresh Look at Australia," the global campaign did not have much of an impact, especially in the US. People seem to prefer the cliches - they want to waltz Matilda rather than to dump here.


Fulmandjpk says: "Play to our strengths". He may be right. Launched in 1984, Paul Hogan's "Come and Say G'Day" campaign - where he promised to throw an extra shrimp on the barbeque - was a massive success. It helped double visitor numbers in just four years, and paved the way for Hogan's success in "Crocodile Dundee", rather than the other way round. I think it's brilliantly done - Hogan's pre-Croc Dundee work was always his best, right? You can watch it here

Some of you have said that Melbourne and Victoria have clever and off-beat tourism campaigns. You can see a sample here. And it's worked. Last year Melbourne earned more from domestic tourism in Australia than Sydney. Segat1 suggests Australia should be looking "over the ditch" to New Zealand. It's 100% Pure New Zealand campaign is a real winner - You can watch it here.


W. Underbar spoke about "eco-extremists driving the cost of air travel beyond the reach of the average pocket". Certainly, Australian tourism chiefs are worried that long-haul travel is going to become increasingly environmentally incorrect and violate peoples' personal green codes of conduct.

Before signing off, a few quick follow-ups:

+ After the Rudd government's first budget, the baby bonus will now be means-tested.
+ Kevin Rudd has announced he wants to expand the Anzac Day commemorations to feature an annual service at Villers-Bretonneux, the town in France where Australian forces scored a victory over the Germans, though at the cost of 1,200 dead. More evidence, I would suggest, that Anzac Day is growing ever more popular and becoming ever more intricately choreographed. Comments please.
+ Last weekend also marked the six-month mark of the new government, and the honeymoon continues for Kevin Rudd. According to a Nielsen poll, Rudd is the second most popular prime minister in the 36-year history of the poll. Here are the respective high-points for each Prime Minister since then. Hawke 75%; Rudd 69%; Howard 67%; Whitlam, 62%; Fraser 56; Keating, 40%. According to Newspoll, Rudd beats even Hawke.
Keating remains a fascinating figure. He seems to inspire the most respect and devotion from his supporters, and the most hatred and invective from his detractors. Any thoughts on why he is so very polarising?
+ And one final thing: Camden council unanimously rejected the proposal to build an Islamic school for 1,200 pupils on the outskirts of town. The Sydney-based Quranic Society have the option of appealing this in the courts.


or register to comment.

More from this blog...

Topical posts on this blog


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

    Latest contributors

    BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.