1) Freedom of speech. You wouldn't be able to say this in many other countries without fear of great retribution. The worst Miss Politics can expect is some personal abuse and a lively debate over the issues she raises. Then again, I wouldn't be able to say many of the things I've said here. (Think about China and Google.)
2) We have a boeard of selectors who have a sense of humour when it comes to Australian of the year and give it to a guy who is raising awareness about climate change to be presented by Mr Head in the sand himself, Howard.
3) We can laugh at ourselves. I awoke this morning to an announcer playing "The National Anthem" as proposed by Monty Python; very simply "Australia, Australia, Australia, we love you." How cool is that?
4) As a female I can determine my own fertlity, I am not subjected to a dress code designed to prevent heat exhaustion and wind burn 2000 years ago (thinking burkhas), I have a right to education, to not be beaten, married off to a stranfer, killed or raped as a "cultural norm". The list is endless. I also live in a country with enough food and clean water for me to decide to follow my heart on an ethical issue and not be forced to eat meat because it's the only thing available.
5) Our love of the under dog and tendency to cut down "Tall Poppies". Come on? Who out there doesn't have a soft spot for the "Little Aussie Battler" while loving to see people like Ray Martin put in their box?
6) We have gun restrictions. We have this as we try to fix our problems in a sensible way, not deny they exist purely because a right wing organisation has a bigger lobby group than the families of those left behind in the many massacres.
7) Our music: I love Oz Rock, and even have on video many of the Australian Music Festivals when they were broadcast. I am proud to say the I own more Australian music than stuff from overseas. I also love our films, our artists and our authors (despite me collection of mainly English writers.)
8) I love how the country changes constantly, and every side she shows has in it beauty. Sure; Bushfires are bad, but the changes in the scenery though frightening are also hauntingly beautiful. I would love to remove the death of these fires, and the loss to personal property, but the regrowth after shows how much bigger the country is thatn a few people.
9) Our wildlife. Lets face it, it's pretty unique. Platypuses; a sure sign god was on drugs when she designed a few of the animals. More importantly a sure sign that the creators of the dream time left some of the dreams behind them.
Wombats must be my favourite, followed a very close second by fairy (or whatever the fuck we are calling them now) penguins.
10) Our use of language.
Strewth, Mate, you know I'm not coming the raw prawn. You'd have to be some kind of drongo not to see the colourful spin we put on words. Faaark! It's got more texture than a Pollock on the pavement after a dead horse and fly. Those Seppoes mightn't get it,. but hey, no worries... eh, Cobba?
Sadly it's also on the way out...
But mostly I guess I just love how no matter how bad it gets we have a strange sense of optimism;
"Me wife just got pulled in to the combine harvester... still... could be worse. At least I'll save on blood and bone this year."
Unless it effects the sport:
"Bloody drought, can't water the pitch for the cricket. They're sayin' it might impact on the Footy (AFL not Soccer, ARL or Union.) And the Greens for the bowls are lookin' pretty yellow. Still, it's not stoppin' the tennis."
So: Having gotten all of that out of my system.
I'd like to wish everyone a happy Australia Day.
I'd also like to apologise to the Indigenous people of this land for all the hurt and crap we have put them through. Thank you for sharing your beautiful culture and country with us. We are blessed.