down a dozen tubes. ('ans‘. with their specially flattened rims (to sit more easily on the lip) vie with bottles for the affection of the Australian. the latter known as Stubbies or~ in their smaller varieties— 'l‘hrow'downs. for obvious reasons.

'l‘he hard-drinking. sporting Australian is rather more than just a cliche. the country. which next year is likely to be on something of a permanent holiday as it celebrates its bicentenary. is still so young that the white man has only made any real efforts to inhabit two coastal strips. In the air is a cultivated sense of adventure. Last year a group of Aborigines living in the outback of Western Australia turned up after twenty years during which time they

hadn‘t seen either Aborigine or white man. let alone a car. 'I'heir reaction tobeing found wasn‘t too enthusiastic— a seventy" year-old man.oneofthe group. speared his daughter in the leg when she showed signs of wanting to stay in a small A Doriginc reserve to which they had been taken. He then cast off the clothes he had been given and. naked once more. returned to the desert. Anthropologists apparently

Rum Steak

believe that there are Aborigines who have never made contact with the Westerners. ’l‘he outback remains a wild and untamed place with btit a few rough and ready roads traversing the central areas. Huge. virtually unstoppable Road 'l‘rains. with three articulated trailers hooked up to one truck thunder through the dust bouncing Kangaroos into the (ium trees. Domestic cars and pickups and the half ton ‘utes‘ all have Bull Bars fitted. ln ‘(‘rocodile‘ Dundee country. crocs are indeed a real problem. There have been numerous incidents ofcampers being carried off. In September last year a crocodile ate a sleeping camper leaving behind only his severed legs. Around Christmas 1984 two women in separate incidents were dinner for two crocs. None of these cases can compare with that of 1 .indie (‘hamberlain who has been in and out of prison on a murder charge after her defence claimed a dingo ate her baby. All in all. a little protection from Mr Dundee when out in the outback wouldn‘t go amiss. although you might make do with the boy who received a medal from the ()ueenon her recent visit. He saved his father from a wild boar.

But most of Australian life is centred in the cities. Here it is more the image ofthe outback man that pertains. complete with his ‘Jane‘ or as they are in what remains a sexist society. his Sheila. The reality is a little different. A Perth barrister claimed that men are often the victims of rape and blamed aggressive women‘s lib as provocation. LInder Bob I law'ke's Labour Government the reputation

for laziness hasn‘t been done much good. the national holiday is an ever more popular institution. ()ften some sporting event is involved. such as the Melbourne (‘up when everyone has a bet. When a sporting

Pie Floater

occasion isn‘t involved. the Australians invent a sport all of their ow n. thus on An/ac Day ( the War Memorial Day) in bars throughout the country bets are taken on games of Z—up. played by tossing three old pennies. At ( ‘hristmas. an even stranger game is beginning to catch on. (’alletl Spitting the Dummy ta phrase which means to get angry). it has taken on literal meaning. office workers lining tip to see how" far they can spit a baby‘s dummy. It was Atistralia you will remember that drew astonished condemnation from the l.i'.tle l’eople‘s .-\ssociation fora l)w'arf—il‘lirowing(‘onipetition (it was won by a nightclub bouncer).

If there isn‘t a national holiday and there isn't a l5lexy ( flexy day off) handy. the Sicky (day off sick) is so often claimed that is threatens to be a social problem. (In Australia. strangely enough. it‘s the Abos who have the reputation for la/iness). Much can be blamed on the allure of the beach. although don't be completely fooledby the bron/ed surfer image. there is a breed of hard drinking Au/xie for whom surfie just means ‘pooftcr’. A cross between beach enterprise and sunbaker‘s indolence has lead to the beach buggies carrying ‘Body Spray". Sheilas. without disturbing themselves. are hosed down with sun oil.

Bouncing Kangaroos

Although the economy has made something of a surge forward in the latter part oflast year. the labour (iovernnient has coincided with a depression. t'nemployment is high.

particularly amongst the young lover

le’} ofthe under twenties) although inevitably there have been accusations that they are only too happy to draw the relatively high benefits and surf away their summers on Bondi beach. How ever. something of a shock wave was felt throughout Australia when l’aul Reading. the 'l’reasurer. warned that the high inflation. appalling balance of payments deficit and level of foreign debt meant that the country was in danger of becoming a banana republic.

l’ublic corruption has also become an embarrassingly evident problem. Numerous financial. local government and national scandals have hit the headlines. with the soon to be built tunnel under Sydney l larbour being a current source of bribery accusation. but nowhere has corruption been so dramatic as in the police force. the New South Wales Assistant (‘omniissioner was quoted as saying that his own police force was "the most corrupt in Australia. if

not the world'. ‘Small wonder.‘ one commentator has said. ‘that .-\t1stralianiokes about their criminal antecendents have a rather wry flavour these days!‘

Aussies seem to show an almost '(‘rocodile~ Dundee ingenuity about exploiting the system or the bureaucracy and its starts young. last year two teenagers were reported to have stolen the wallet of a magistrate who was hearing charges oftheft against them. the youths then escaped through the courthouse roof in Auckland a fourteen year-old schoolboy inserted a sweet wrapper into a say ings bank automatic teller. tricking it into crediting his account with SSlIlliiill). Amongst the adult population. there has been abuse of the social security system (one man iailed for fraud was claiming benefit under 37 names) to such an extent that the government has introduced proposals for National identity cards which it is estimated will save t-lll) million in lost benefits.

Spitting the Dummy

‘( ‘rocodile‘ Dundee and Paul l logan are hardly needed to put Australia on the map v ('aptain ('ook did that anyway -but he‘s so expert at exporting that Aussie caricature which the .-\ustralians themselves half believe to be the truth. that w hen anyone thinks Australian for the foreseeable future they will think of the wisecracking. sun—baked tough guy who drinks a lot of lager, Of course there are those in Australia who are passionately concerned about the Arts and high t‘ulture. So passionately did one group of people feel. that last year they stole a W37 l’icass'o from a Melbourne gallery. (’alling themselves the Australian t'ultural lerrorists. they later returned the picture undamaged and anounced that the incident marked the first phase of a ‘terrorist‘ campaign for increased Lil‘ts litilidilig.

But a final word of caution about assuming too much about the Aussie psyche. You could end up with a l.es l’atterson or Danie litina liverage courtesy of Barry l lumphries. the other giant of .-\ustralian comedy if you rely on comedians for your insight into Australia. As ( iarry (Norman (itinster) McDonald. the Australian comic famed for his legendarily inept inten'iew ol' unsuspecting superstars like Mick Jagger. and who‘s current role is of an overgrown whinger who is still tied to his mother’s apron strings. says ‘1 hope the world .loesn‘t think every film coining otit of Australia is going to be a ’( form/iii" Hit/nice. because there aren't too many l’aal llogans in the world.‘

('rotm/i/t' Dir/nice opens i1] ()r/i'ori

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