When my children ask me questions about 26 January 1788 I try to be an intelligent, thoughtful single mother. I like to remind them that it’s called Australia Day, not ‘today I have a license to be a redneck racist day.’ And Aboriginal people remember it very differently to us white people. For some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is Survival Day, a celebration of the survival of people and culture. Australians hold many different views on what 26 January means to them. So I like to explain to my gals in an all encompassing, feminist-leaning, intersectional, embracing all cultures and values kind of way what Australia Day means, but sometimes I get choked up with the sentiment of the day and I’m lost for words. So I’ll put it like this:
Happy Straya Day youse are all tops, onya, get a yabbie up ya, chuck a coldie down ya neck cobber.
Apparently the English cricket team and the Indonesian President are calling for a code of conduct for all future dealings with Australian cricketers and politicians. I think this is a great idea for anyone who has to deal with us Oztraylians, so here it is, The Official Aussie Code of Cultural Conduct:
1. One must learn to speak Australian, consonants are optional. Oztraylian is our national language, by order of Ken Oath
2. One must learn to eat like an Australian, we’re partial to a bit of goanna on the barbie in the arvo, so rip into it cobber
3. Saying ‘one must’ is very unAustralian, it sounds like you’re an up yourself Pommy bastard. Try not to sound like you learnt your English from the BBC.
4. Apart from the first Australians, we all came here by boat, so any visitors must wear a boater (even if you flew in) and we will call you a ‘boatie’
5. We have a rich oral tradition, sledging is very fashionable in Australia. If you want to fit in, call your new Aussie acquaintance a wanker or a bastard, it is a term of endearment. We also throw the C word around to describe our friends. If you’re gay you can call a friend a faggot, and I’ll answer with a smile if my girlfriends call me an old tart
6. Respecting our language means abbreviating everything, barbeque is barbie, afternoon is arvo, Anthony John Abbott is shortened to utter tool
7. Respecting Aussie culture means giving thanks to the first peoples of this land who have a rich history. The posh parts of Australia like Sydney that were developed by the whities are a little different to your country, but they are filled with kultcha. We have historical buildings that are 10 or 15 years old
8. Spying is a part of the Australian national ethos. We have bloody big backyards and if we didn’t spy we wouldn’t know when we could drop in on our neighbours to use their pool and have a free feed
9. Many Australians get pissed (it is practically compulsory) and say things we regret the next morning, and we often forget the time difference between our sunburnt land and other countries, so please forgive us for our big mouths and time delay. Drinking on an empty head and spinning a yarn in the hot sun was passed down by our fore fathers and mothers.
10. Our only truly national sports are naked backyard cricket mixed with drinking competitions. We would be honoured to compete against your country