BBC BLOGS - Nick Bryant's Australia

About Nick Bryant

Haughty as this no doubt sounds, I've always thought that there's more to Australia than a steady diet of ravenous sharks, bizarre outback crimes and tales of the unstoppable march of corpulent cane toads.

The aim of this blog, then, is to add to a more nourishing menu of stories, issues and debating points from down under.

Rather than buttress the dog-eared stereotypes about Australia, the hope at least is to hurl the wrecking ball at a few of them. Why, for instance, does such a laid-back country have some of the longest working hours in the OECD? What explains the sanctification of the bush and the outback in one of the most urbanised countries in the world? Why did this "no worries" nation see the consumption of anti-depressants triple in the past 10 years? Why has a country which prides itself on its egalitarianism, which champions the underdog, and which trumpets the "fair go" not always extended those precepts to its original occupants and some of its most recent arrivals?

Two years after arriving in Australia, I'm still trying to work these things out, and your comments, suggestions and complaints in this blog have helped in that ongoing quest for understanding.

nick bryantI came to Sydney after falling in love with a beautiful Australian woman during my last assignment as the BBC's South Asia correspondent. Happily, she has since become my wife.

Before Delhi, I spent five years as one of the BBC's Washington correspondents, covering everything from the impeachment of Bill Clinton to the attacks of 9/11. Before becoming a journalist, I spent seven self-indulgent years as a student, starting off as a failed architect at Cambridge and ending up with a rather unhealthy fascination with US politics at Oxford.

Afterwards, I turned my overlong doctoral thesis into an even longer book, The Bystander: John F. Kennedy and the Struggle for Black Equality.

I love cricket (England), rugby union (Bristol), football (Aston Villa), architecture, rifling through second-hand bookshops, and walking our labrador, Skip. "Flat white" coffees are now a staple of my life, as are trips to my favourite Sydney restaurant and pub.

I try not to cover novelty antipodean animal stories, unless they are "Only in Australia" all-time classics, like the time the shark attacked a kangaroo. Very occasionally, I find myself saying "good on ya" and ending my sentences on an up.

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