“”Don’t worry about the world ending today; it's already tomorrow in Australia.
|—Charles M. Schulz|
Australia is a land down under, where women glow and men plunder. A strange nation, located in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, to this day mapmakers can't decide whether the land mass is the world's smallest continent or the world's biggest island. The nation is sometimes grouped together in the "continent" Oceania with Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, parts of Indonesia, and New Zealand.[note 1] In the United Nations, Australia is in the group "Western European and Others". It has even taken part in the Eurovision Song Contest since 2015. Wherever it is, it's still there, mate.
The Australian landscape comes in three main varieties: Martian (red/orange desert as seen on postcards), Bush (name says it all) and Suburbia (which is massive and threatening the other two, as seen on Aussie soap operas). Australian agriculture is currently succeeding in converting much of the former Bush into a more Martian-style desert.
18th and 19th centuries
Originally populated by various indigenous tribes, known collectively as Aboriginal, Indigenous, or First Nation peoples. Australia was "discovered" by the British (about 80 years after its discovery by both the Portuguese and Dutch) and was incorporated into its grand empire. However, nobody could really decide what to do with it, as they couldn't find a use for it within the Empire (due to the lack of usable materials and the harsh terrain for agriculture), until a catastrophic prison riot necessitated the establishment of a new penal colony for all of the Empire's convicts. They dumped them there and, after they served their sentence, they were left to their own devices. The favourite hobby of the British officers, free settlers and ex-cons included terrorising the natives (also known as genocide). In these days, while the entire continent was ruled by the British, the country remained divided into several large colonies for no particularly good reason.
Several prominent figures in Australian history arose in the late 19th century. These included Ned Kelly, a bank robber and police murderer, Breaker Morant, a convicted war criminal executed for shooting POWs, and an unnamed ballroom dancing champion who committed suicide rather than being caught stealing a sheep. For some reason, all of these men are remembered as national heroes, and are regularly the subject of movies and songs.
After gold was discovered there in the 1850s, people finally had a legitimate reason to live in Australia. The freed convicts were joined by the fresh settlers drawn to the gold rush. Many of these settlers were Asian, leading to a proud tradition of "Dey took are jerbs!" which is still a strong element in Australian politics even today.
20th and 21st centuries
Eventually the cries of "Dey took are jerbs" became sufficiently strong that various academics proposed uniting the colonies on the continent under a single flag. Australia became a country in 1901 in a somewhat bloodless manner compared to the United States, although it wasn't until 1986 that the government was completely severed from Britain. They also neglected to tell Elizabeth the Second, however, who was Queen of Australia — seriously. That's why you're supposed to read through legal documents.
One of the first acts of the newly formed Parliament was the "White Australia Policy", which would stop the Chinese from taking thayre jerbs ONCE AND FOR ALL. Aside from a brief respite under Prime Minister Gough Whitlam in the 1970s, Australia's immigration policy has progressed little. Immigrants who do not have all of their legal papers will be imprisoned without charge offshore for at least two years without trial. Especially if they came by boat.
Until World War I, nothing of interest, note, or fascination occurred. World War I saw Australian troops forced to join the battle lines of the war, as the British still had control over Australian foreign policy. The ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) were made famous by their engagement at Gallipoli, where Winston Churchill sent large numbers of them to a futile death in order to convince the Ottoman Empire to join the war against Britain. For some reason, the day that the ANZACs landed at Gallipoli and got shot at is remembered as a national holiday.
Australia also entered World War II (voluntarily this time), and fought mostly on the Pacific front against the Japanese. Most of mainland Australia remained unmolested, although they did briefly lose a few island territories to the north. Darwin and several other towns were
secretly bombed. The Japanese navy occasionally sent submarines in a half-hearted attempt to harass a few of Australia's seaports; Sydney Harbour was the site of a minor naval engagement (not a marriage, a battle!). However, Australia's relatively isolated position has left it quite safe from invasions ever since the first British one.
Broad Australian (Strine, Straylin) is generally spoken through the nose. Swearwords are used frequently, and if you're referred to as a bugger, bastard, or cunt, it's not necessarily offensive. 'Stralians frequently raise the tone of their voice towards the end of the sentence, as if they're asking a question. It's the only major English dialect to have retained "good day" (g'day) as a common greeting.
Australians speak a form of English closer to the British end of the spectrum. Well, their dictionaries use "-our" instead of "-or" and "-ise" instead of "-ize", anyway. The Australian public in general is totally incapable of spelling, so it's hard to tell.
Australians use all sorts of ridiculous slang/dialect, including extremely complicated metaphors, continuous references to food, diminutives for just about everything, and loads of stuff they just made up… but only when tourists are around. However, there are so many unusual plants and animals about that Aussies generally have to refer to them by odd names anyway.
Also, Australians are really into swearing. So don't sweat if your best mate called you a "good cunt" or a "good bastard". They mean it in a positive way.
Australia is about 60% nominally religious, but of those only about half take it seriously. A few fundamentalist Christian churches (such as Hillsong and the Exclusive Brethren) and some old-school Catholics hold a little political power and occasionally make grabs for more, but this doesn't really influence the people in any way. The vast majority of Australians don't give a shit what your religion is, unless it's Islam.
As a Commonwealth Realm, it is a constitutional monarchy under the formula of a parliamentary republic (i.e. like Britain), where the King is represented by the Governor General (like Canada). Like America, Australia operates under a federal system of states plus a few territories, and the federal government has elected upper and lower houses: the Senate (which can introduce, amend, and block bills like the Americans) and the House of Representatives.
Like Britain, the leader of the majority of the lower house is the Prime Minister and the head of the government, but unlike Britain, the Speaker of the House is a partisan construct just like in America, but unlike the American Speaker, the Australian Speaker is mostly just a rubber-stamper with barely any power. Also like America, Australia's ultimate legal authority is its written Constitution, which no laws or state actions can validly conflict with. Taking a few notes from Canada, each state has a Governor (or Lieutenant-Governor in Canada) that represents the monarchy (hence the Governor-General), but the states' chief executives are the Premiers (think mini-Prime Ministers), who do all of the leg-work.
Very much unlike America, however, Australia lacks the institutional procedures designed to wreck bills before they can receive a vote. In Australia, there are no filibusters, budget bills cannot be amended by the Senate, and there is no veto power by the Governor-General (who signs the bills into law). Bills can be delayed and amended, but only a strict "No" vote by the majority can stop a bill. This way, things actually get done in relatively quicker ways than under the American Congress.
One of its more controversial episodes occurred on 11 November 1975, when Governor-General John Kerr, in a move that shocked everybody, dismissed Prime Minister Gough Whitlam of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and dissolved parliament. Opposition Leader Malcolm Fraser was then appointed as Prime Minister, and his party won a massive majority in the ensuing election. Kerr was forced to resign soon after. While the Senate retained its power to block bills, and the Governor-General kept the power to dismiss the Government, these powers have not been exercised again due to what is now immortalized as "The Dismissal" in Australian vernacular. The Queen herself also reportedly refused to get involved in an internal Australian affair, so she was not consulted and she did nothing to quell the dubious unilateralism of the Governor General.
Voting is compulsory in Australia, something that's been the law of the land for over a century. Australia has been a good friend to the United States of America since World War II, when they made them an ally and protector. They were somewhat concerned with the growing military power of Asia, hence their reason for getting on the U.S.'s good books. That, and the fact that many people in Australia speak Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese. Since then the two nations have been quite cosy — for instance, when Australia initially refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol, and when it became heavily involved in the invasion of Iraq.
“”Both major political parties have moved leagues to the right. So they've done me a very good service, they make me appear progressive.
|—Malcolm Fraser (1930-2015), 22nd of Prime Minister of Australia, leader of the conservative Coalition (1975-1983).|
Australian politics is dominated by two parties, the centre-right Australian Labor Party (who can't spell)[note 3] and the right-centre Liberal Party of Australia (who can spell but don't own a dictionary).[note 4] Australia's two-party duopoly is somewhat complicated, because the Australian elections are decided by a game of two-up. This has allowed minor parties to fare much better than the ones in America, though not as well as those in Europe and neighbouring New Zealand. While the ALP remain steadfast, their Liberal opponents are in a perpetual Coalition with the National Party of Australia (even in opposition, where there's no need). This Coalition can trace their pact as far back as 1925, when the Nationalist PM Stanley Bruce formed an alliance with the Country Party in his second term. The Nationalists became the United Australia Party in 1931, then renamed themselves in 1945 as the Liberals, and in both cases, kept their pact with Country, who even had two very brief Premierships under Earle Page (1939) and Arthur Fadden (1941). Robert Menzies was the first Liberal PM, but it wasn't until 1975, under Malcolm Fraser, that Country became the National Party of Australia, and the arrangement has stuck ever since. Unfortunately, this also means the attitudes of the Coalition changed from the social democratic apparatus under Robert Menzies, into the wingnuttery of modern day. Prime Ministers Bob Hawke and Paul Keating of Labor were to drag their own party under the same ordeal, although not quite to the same levels of utter batshit.
There's a ton of influence to be had in third-party groups, thanks to Instant Runoff Voting. The House of Representatives usually contains about 5% independent or minor members, while the Senate is more like 10-15%. The balance of power, and the role of the kingmaker, gives minor parties a large amount of power—at least compared to the number of votes they won. In the past, this has included the Democratic Labor Party, the Australian Democrats, One Nation, and Family First, as well as independents like Nick Xenophon. The Greens were the most recent kingmakers from 2010 through 2014; Julia Gillard needed one Green (and three independents) to establish a minority government, although it wasn't until 2011 that the Greens effectively controlled the Senate. Power has since passed to a plethora of micro-parties elected after July 2014, many of whom won seats with negligible shares of the vote, thanks to the (soon to be reformed) voting system used to elect the Senate.
Nevertheless, the main focus is squarely on Labor and the Liberals. Thanks to the back-to-back-to-back governments of Fraser, Hawke, and Keating, it's gotten harder and harder for Australians to differentiate between the two. Even within the Coalition, the Nationals went from "Slightly Worse" under Fraser to "Same Shit" under John Howard and especially Tony Abbott (a rusted-on relic of Howard's glory days). Voters can be forgiven for writing Labor first and Liberal second when they meant Liberal first and Labor second, and some confused voters may write in National thinking that it's Liberal. This gets even more confusing if you're in Queensland, where the Coalition is a single party called the Liberal National Party, or in South Australia, where the Coalition was broken when the only National joined a Labor minority government as a minister. Hell, they're not in Coalition in Western Australia, whereas they are now in Victoria, and finally, despite being a party of rural and regional interests, the National Party doesn't exist at all in primarily rural Tasmania.
The differences are often measured by inches — the ALP believes that asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat should be imprisoned outside Australia (in Nauru), while the Liberal Party believes that asylum seekers arriving by boat should be imprisoned outside Australia (in Cambodia). However, even this difference evaporated in August 2012, when both parties agreed to "just ditch them somewhere where we don't have to look at them and the media can't get footage". Another prominent "difference" is in regard to the war in Afghanistan. The ALP believes that Australia should have around 1800 soldiers in Afghanistan, whereas the Liberal Party believes that number should be something more like 1850.
For many Australians, they don't vote for anyone so much as they vote against them, and they are growing anxious about any change to the status quo. That is why they're changing PMs annually now. (At the rate they're burning them through, you'd think there was a huge lifelong guaranteed pension or something...) Politics is now a meat grinder between the rent-seeking party donors and the voting public. This will speed up until something gives: The public's faith in the system, or the puppetmasters' demands.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Australian political life is the consistent animosity among leaders of the same party. Since the 1980s, various Prime Ministers and Liberal or Labor leaders have clashed with their deputies or other ministers over sheer force of personality, and rarely over policy or politics and rhetoric. It has become a dominant topic of discussion and debate amongst Aussies over the decades.
In the 1980s, Bob Hawke (the absolute strongman of the Labor Party) and Paul Keating (Hawke's personal foil) made a phenomenally effective duo, pushing through a centrist record in government throughout their years together. Due to his disdain towards the left of the Labor Party, coupled with his deregulation, Hawke received the bulk of the blame for the recession in the late 1980s; Keating benefited greatly, despite the recession being due to his stewardship of the economy. In 1988, in the wake of poorer opinion polls, Keating put pressure on Hawke to step down immediately. Hawke responded by agreeing on a secret deal with Keating, the so-called "Kirribilli Agreement", whereby he would stand down in Keating's favour shortly after the 1990 election, which he convinced Keating he could win. Hawke won the election, omitted to resign, and appointed Keating as his deputy. Frustrated, Keating made a rather forceful speech denouncing Hawke to the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery. Hawke considered the speech extremely disloyal, and told Keating that he would renege on the Kirribilli Agreement.
A year of tension later, and Keating finally resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer in June 1991, to challenge Hawke for the leadership. Keating lost, but Hawke, now seen as a "wounded" leader, had lost his long-term political partner; Hawke's ratings in opinion polls began to decrease, and people grew fatigued of the man after nearly nine years as Prime Minister. After Liberal Leader John Hewson outlined his anti-government proposals against Labor, Hawke could not offer any form of rebuttal; many in the party lost faith in their once-authoritative leader, and many felt Hawke was outright feckless without Keating. On December 1991, Keating challenged Hawke for the leadership again, and won by a narrow vote of 56 to 51. Keating won the 1993 election by campaigning hard against Hewson's regressive sales-taxes idea, arguing that it would make unemployment worse and would prove "a dead weight" on the economy, but he could not fight back against public fatigue with 13 years of Labor governance, and lost the election of 1996.
Since then, every Prime Minister has dealt with intra-party discord. The Liberal Party's John Howard, who replaced Keating as Prime Minister, clashed with Tony Abbott over Howard's brazenly anti-worker WorkChoices policy, and found an eternal rival in Peter Costello, his Finance Minister. Howard introduced a ministerial code-of-conduct that forced out numerous ministers during his first term, which aggravated Costello. An avowed nationalist and xenophobe, Howard refused to let his Cabinet join the Aboriginal Reconciliation Walk - Costello refused to obey. In the face of declining opinion-polling, Howard once suggested in 2000 that he would resign at the age of 64, which many saw as a bridge to Costello's ascension to lead the party. In May 2001, an internal Liberal Party memo written by Shane Stone, the Federal President of the Liberal Party, was leaked to the media. The memo was particularly critical of Peter Costello, warning that the government was perceived as "a mean government" that was increasingly "out of touch". This embarrassment flared tensions between Howard and Costello, doubly so once Howard did not retire at 64, leaving Costello bitter.
In the first half of 2001, Howard's government suffered a number of setbacks, including rising petrol prices, voter enmity over the implementation of "the GST" (a goods-and-services tax), and its kowtowing to business, a spike in inflation and a sharp slowdown in the economy. The Coalition lost office in both the West Australian and Queensland state elections in February, while defeat in the Ryan by-election and bad opinion polls led to predictions of the Howard Government losing office in the election expected late that year. Howard then announced a series of reversals and softenings of policy to calm the public down, saving him from any intra-party coups, but he still clashed with Costello over the years. Howard campaigned under a slogan of "go-for-growth", but Costello predicted uncertain economic conditions ahead. In his first newspaper interview of the 2007 campaign, Costello warned of an impending economic "tsunami" approaching the international financial markets, and predicted that the United States economy would weaken in the wake of its subprime mortgage crisis, while the pace of Chinese growth would slow.
To his credit, Howard fought hard against controversies that had birthed from his policies; many thought he would be condemned as a one-term pony, or a two-term pony, or a three-term pony, and he repeatedly proved them wrong. His successor as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, was not so lucky. In 2007, he formed an alliance with Julia Gillard to win power for Labor, and succeeded in finally beating Howard and Costello, but their relationship quickly devolved into a he-said-she-said debacle immortalized by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) documentary "The Killing Season" (2015), which detailed how Gillard took part in a coup against Rudd in 2010; Rudd challenged Gillard for leadership in 2012, but lost. Gillard's popularity polls sunk dramatically in the year after, leading to Simon Crean calling for Rudd to return to the Labor leadership. (Crean was one of the men responsible for stoking the rivalry between Rudd and Gillard with his attacks on Rudd; Rudd did not challenge Gillard for the leadership, and she sacked Crean from the cabinet.) Gillard could not fight back against her declining polling, however, so Rudd challenged her for the leadership again in 2013, and she finally lost to Rudd, who became Prime Minister again; only to lose a Commonwealth election a few months later to Tony Abbott's Liberal/National coalition. Throughout the Rudd/Gillard debacle, Bill Shorten rose to prominence for essentially playing the two against each other and, unsurprisingly, he took over the Labor leadership after a humiliated Rudd left.
The Liberals were going through their own leadership problems at this time, eventually settling (2009) on Tony Abbott as the opposition leader. Abbott was a bad pitchman and a bad deal-maker overall. He tried to be more unilateral, taking advantage of the right wing's inherent hard-on for "strong" leadership. But his decisions scared and confused the party, as well as the public. His pick for Treasurer, Joe Hockey, set the economy back big-time, social programs were chipped away, and Abbott himself caused controversy after controversy with his Donald Trump-like insanity and stupidity. He tried to create a literal aristocracy by knighting British royals, supported dangerous coal seam gas establishments, imposed bizarre and illegal treatment of asylum seekers, and constantly undermined civil liberties in the name of counter-terrorism. There was an up-swell in support for his old rival, Malcolm Turnbull, considered the most "moderate" Liberal due to his views on the environment, asylum seekers, homosexuality, and the monarchy. Eventually, the Liberals demoted Tony and installed Malcolm as their new leader (2015). However, in order to get the top job, Turnbull had to sell out on just about every one of his progressive policies that got him popularity in the first place (although he did scrap the aristocracy idea). He may be more articulate, but his constant U-turning and even more extreme cuts to social programs eroded his popularity; comparable to David Cameron. It's odd that people suddenly felt nostalgic for Abbott, though it's understandable as Turnbull was not nearly as entertaining as Tony was (Onions! Knighthood! Daily security briefings! Boats!). But the problem isn't really Abbott or Turnbull; it's the party generally and as time goes by, any leader is going to feel the strain. Each time someone comes up with a concrete proposal, it's quickly quashed by the interests of big business, Bible thumpers, farmers, and racists. Abbott's removal was only ever about winning the 2016 election. Beyond the election, we had the bizarre situation where Tony Abbott, banished to the government backbench, was considered the real opposition leader with his vocal attacks on his own party's leader, at times drowning out Bill Shorten, the incumbent leader of the Labor Party.
The issue of the Crown
Among the English-speaking Commonwealth realms, Australia has one of the strongest movements advocating for the abolition of the monarchy as an official entity of their country. This is mostly done by Australians who feel that Australia has enough of an identity to depart from Britain, or that Australia is still stuck in the old ways of remaining partly Britannian. Look no further than the Australian flag. Many ask, understandably so, "Why is the Union Jack plastered so prominently in a nation that isn't controlled by London anymore?" Many still wonder how Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott, both British-born citizens, became Prime Ministers at all.
The Australian Labor Party under Paul Keating made it an official policy advocating for the removal of the monarchy. While Keating lost to monarchist John Howard, he did introduce a referendum in 1999 over the fate of the monarchy, but it was kept by the voters. Avowed monarchist Tony Abbott's decision to knight the husband of the Queen was met with uproar by the populace, allowing Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to call for a republican Australia.
The biggest problem facing Australian republicanism, however, is that the republican-leaning advocates have no idea what should replace the monarchy - an elected President with ceremonial powers ala Germany and India? A President appointed by parliament? An elected Governor General with reserved powers? Should said elected Governor General be appointed by parliament? Maybe a full presidential system ala America? A semi-presidential system with the prime minister handling domestic matters and the president dealing with foreign affairs, leading to cohabitation if they are from different parties? Maybe even follow the South African model, where the President is directly elected, but has to rule with the confidence of parliament? Keep the prime minister, and have the President picked by an electoral college?
Nobody can figure it out, and it has inhibited Australia's deluded belief that simply leaving Britain is enough to convince people that it's not suffering from a split personality anyway (with America in this case).
Indigenous people do not enjoy any constitutional or treaty recognition. The life expectancy gap is greater for Australia than for Canada, the United States, or New Zealand which ranges on average from three to seven years; while in Australia the gap is fifteen to twenty years less in spite of the Australian governments expenditure on indigenous affairs being second only to that of Canada. Unlike in the United States or Canada, identification recognition by the Aboriginal community is the central factor rather than a fixed system of registered descent and blood quanta. In the 1996 Census, 352 052 individuals (2% of the total population) identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, while as of 2017, 761 300 individuals (or 3% of the total population) identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Unemployment rates are 38% in contrast to the national average of 9%.
The Federal Government only started to address the issue of aboriginal land usage in the 1970s, the courts only found a common law basis for these rights in the 1990s and the appropriate roles of courts, tribunals, governments and land councils are still being worked out. Although apologies for overthrow have been issued on the state level, on the federal level, the Australian government has not, despite recommendation by Human Rights Commissions.
Recent goings on
After the 2010 elections, neither major party could claim a majority in the lower house, resulting in a hung parliament.[note 5] This led to four independent Members of Parliament engaging in intense negotiations with the main parties over which one would hand over the most cash, and ask the fewest questions about where it was going. ALP had been in power since 2007, with Kevin Rudd serving the first three years until Julia Gillard unseated him in 2010. She ran the country until 2013, spending most of the time trying to cater to the independents and third-party forces. Once her own popularity crumbled, she was ousted by Kevin Rudd halfway through 2013 as Leader of ALP. Rudd called for a federal election in September, pitting him against wingnut Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. At a time when Labor thoroughly soured its public image, Abbott predictably won in a landslide, putting his Liberal-National Coalition as a majority government.
And of course, within two years, Abbott completely annihilated the confidence the people had in him, with a severe foot-in-mouth syndrome and with incredibly unpopular policies that utterly demolished his credibility. In September 2015, Abbott lost a leadership election to relative moderate Malcolm Turnbull, becoming the fourth Prime Minister since 2013.
In 2017, Australia became the 25th country in the world to approve homosexual marriage.
In 2018, Malcolm Turnbull was challenged by Peter Dutton of the conservative wing for Liberal Party leadership, but Turnbull managed to hold his ground. Then Scott Morrison came along and replaced Turnbull as Prime Minister in another leadership spill, all within the same week. Apparently, Australian politicians are prone to backstabbing.
In 2019, Scott Morrison won the federal election against all odds, proving Australia will vote any idiot in who forks out more fucked up policies than ideas that'll do the country any good.
In 2022, Anthony Albanese defeated Morrison, returning the Australian Labor Party to power after 9 years with the goal of undoing all the damage done by Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison.
Australia, like the United States, is made up of states. The states are basically a continuation of the old British colonies when they all united to become the Commonwealth of Australia. They tend to have a lot of power and their main job is to blame the Federal government when something goes wrong usually over funding (unless of course you are New South Wales, everyone else complains that they get all the federal funding.).
Most of Australia is hot, red, and dry. In fact, the only way an Australian can tell if they've died and gone to hell is that the beer is colder.[note 6] Along the coast, the weather is determined by an enormous number of variables, including the temperature of the surrounding oceans, wind direction, the buildup of high- and low-pressure systems and the whims of Mighty Thor, meaning that the weather alternates between droughts and floods. When it is not dry, parts of the country larger than France and Germany combined can become flooded, as it did in 2010. Melbourne has become notorious for having weather that's more unreliable than Australia's National Broadband Network, characterised by 30°C (86°F) clear skies turning into torrential downpours in a matter of minutes.
All the major cities are along rivers or close to the coast.[note 7] There is absolutely nothing of interest in the middle of the country, save for that big rock all the tourists flock to. Most locals wonder what the fuss is about, maybe someday we'll know.
Despite the fact that Australia is in the southern hemisphere, its toilets do not, in fact, flush with the water swirling the other way. This is partially due to the nature of most Australian toilets. While American toilets are basically big bowls of water that swirl the water down when flushing, Australian toilets have less water, and usually flush in different manners which do not involve swirling water.
The continent of Australia, and its wildlife, are the way they are for historical reasons. Australia is an extremely stable and isolated pile of rock, with very little tectonic activity, and has been since its tearful breakup with Antarctica about a quarter-billion years ago.[note 8] What this means in practical terms is that barring some areas around the coastline, its soils — where there even is soil in the usual sense of the word — tend to be old, thin, and nutrient-poor. Except in the southwest, where tens of millions of years of sea spray have made the soils old, thin, nutrient-poor, and even saltier than Australian slang. This has resulted in intense tooth-and-nail (or leaf-and-thorn) competition for scarce resources, which may go a long way toward explaining the more challenging aspects of Australian flora and fauna. (It also has made European-style intensive agriculture somewhat … problematic, both in its execution and its consequences.)
“”You can't be a young-earth creationist and be from Australia. I think if you're a young-earth creationist, you're not even allowed to believe in Australia. That continent is evolution's playground, [its] showroom. [Australian-born creationist] Ken Ham couldn't have built his Creation Museum in Australia because they already have a thriving Evolution Museum there — it takes up the entire island. The displays are fantastic.
Australia is a land full of unique and fascinating wildlife. There are rumours that lurking deep in the outback are a few non-lethal species, but most are venomous or otherwise deadly animals with big, sharp, pointy teeth. There are, however, not many venomous snakes; they were all killed by the spiders. That is unless one counts 5 out of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world including the top 3. Some of the sheep are harmless. But you can't blame the animals – the land itself is inimical, and they've evolved an ingrained nastiness just to survive. In other words, they're a lot like New Yorkers.
Technically, only one of these is a placental mammal like the ones you are probably familiar with. The rest are either marsupials, monotremes, or fictional.
- Kangaroo; a great big two-legged rabbit thing. A single pair of them
walked hoppedfloated all the way from Noah's Ark and spread across Australia. Considered a pest by some Australians. Also delicious, albeit a bit gamey. Often made into sausages, sold as "kanga bangers".
- Wallaby; looks just like Kangaroo but much smaller and just as scrumptious.
- Platypus; (plural: Platypodes). Mammals which lay eggs, are venomous and have a bill like a duck. Rejected by the Intelligent Design QA Committee.[note 9] Mouth-watering, although there aren't many left to eat.
- Echidna; Close relative of the Platypus which also lays eggs. Looks like a porcupine, but its spines are shorter, fatter, and deadlier.
Protects massive emeralds.Eats ants, which makes it the bravest animal on the continent. Savory.
- Dingo; a rabid dog that eats babies. Only wandered onto Australia 5-10 thousand years ago. Meat is a bit stringy when adults, have to eat them when still young and tender.
- Koala; small grey and white tree-dwelling creatures that spend 23 hours a day sleeping. They spend the remaining hour of the day — usually around 2 in the morning — sitting in trees outside people's windows making a noise similar to a motorbike trying to start on an empty tank. It is illegal to throw things at them. The species is ravaged by Koala chlamydia, which did not get into them from humans. Probably; they are not meant to be eaten that way.
- Wombat; A heavily built burrowing marsupial. Known to have buttocks that rival the Kardashians. Cute when young, not so cute as a fully grown adult. Furry bulldozers that demolish fences, dig up gardens, and leave behind square turds.
- Tasmanian devil; often seen whirling about in a whirlwind of dust while growling viciously. They have a language which consists of screaming and biting each other on the face. The species is at risk of going extinct because one of them developed tumours on its face which could be transmitted when individuals bit each other, and they bite each other a lot. Tasty.
- Drop bear; similar to the koala, but with a taste for flesh. Tends to go for the face first, but is repulsed by the smell of urine and Vegemite, which can be smeared behind the ears for protection. Some cranks babble that drop bears are a hoax, however the scientific consensus is that they inhabit much of the east coast, with a notable inland population. Drop bears slightly resemble the Thylacoleo, a prehistoric marsupial tree-climbing lion. Yummy, but they probably think the same way about you.
Lizards and other scaley things
- Goanna; a giant lizard thing. Famous for making people shit themselves when they see it.
- Saltwater crocodile; The largest reptile in the world and an excellent reason for not swimming in muddy rivers. Unlike the American alligator, saltwater crocodiles consider humans to be tasty.
- Snakes; fewer than you'd expect (most of them have been killed by the spiders). Contrary to the bogus reports of foreign scaremongers, most Australian snakes are harmless, but just to be on the safe side, do watch out for the inland taipan, the eastern brown snake, the red-bellied black snake, Dubois' sea snake, the yellow-bellied sea snake, the horned sea snake, the coastal taipan, the peninsula tiger snake, the western tiger snake, the mainland tiger snake, the elegant sea snake, and the Chappell Island tiger snake, as these are all ever-so-slightly lethal.
Dinosaurs with feathers
- Galah; a large, noisy, pink-bellied parrot that is too stupid to live. Scientists are baffled as to how it's managed to survive.
- Emu; the second largest bird in the world at a height of 1.9 metres (6.2 ft). Emus love to play fetch but lack a way to retrieve the thrown object. They are also the victors of the Great Emu War of 1932.
- Cassowary; lives in the rainforests and eats fruit. However, it is the world's third-largest bird, which knocks down trees with its head and kicks people to death for fun. The world's clearest piece of evidence for the dinosaur-bird relationship.
- Magpie; attack people in the Spring and early Summer because it thinks everyone walking by wants to kill its babies. Can often be seen in early Summer going on family expeditions with 1-2 adults and 1-3 fledglings. The fledglings spend much of this time yelling at the parents for food. Magpies have a particular hatred of bicycles, causing Australian cyclists to wear spikes on their helmets in the hope of impaling one. The government offers a bounty for them.
- Plover; the one thing that all Australians fear more than the magpie. During spring they nest in any open field and attack all who come near their nest as Australians run away in fear.
- The Australian raven; an extremely large corvid. Despite its massive size and wickedly sharp talons and beak, it is a massive wimp, and all the other Australian birds regularly beat it up for its lunch money. Eats carrion and garbage. Often found in schoolyards just after lunchtime.
- The Indian mynah; a feral bird which comes from, um, India. Although small, it is a horrible little bastard which scares off the other birds and steals their nests. Also steals chips from tourists.
- The noisy miner; differs from the Indian only by being a different colour and native to Australia. Despite behaving in exactly the same way as the Indian, it is tolerated because it's native (see also; Australian immigration policy). Steals chips from tourists as well.
- Kookaburra; a carnivorous terrestrial tree kingfisher that comes in four flavours, and a unique "laughing" call commonly used in B-movie jungle scenes. Merry merry king of the bush.
- Wedge-tailed eagle; also known as bunjil, is a large predatory bird with brown feathers. Think bald eagle (complete with spectacularly lame voice), but much more dangerous and awesome, cause Australia you know.
- Rainbow lorikeet; a bratty but beautifully coloured bird. The back is bright green, the head and belly are bright blue, the eyes, feet and beak are bright red, and the neck is bright orange or yellow. They can often be heard flying across golf courses and parks, screeching and whinging at each other. They have a very annoying call. They tend to hang out in groups and they hate Kookaburras because they try to eat their babies. Lorikeets are often kept by pets by people who have no consideration for how annoying their screeches and tweets are to everybody else.
- Cockatoos: also bratty but not very colourful. Known for the crest on their heads, and also have one of the most
melodic songsirritating screeches you'll ever hear.[note 10]
- Lyrebirds: very indecisive about what they actually want their call to sound like; neither of the two species has managed to sort it out yet despite hundreds of years to do it. Known for YouTube edits depicting them making sounds that they probably could, but don't.
- Ibis: a large, white wading bird that has infested urban Australia in ever-increasing numbers since the 1970s. Often found scrounging through public bins and tossing rancid garbage all over the place, earning them the moniker 'bin-chicken'.
Fishies in the sea
- Stingrays; Once common in Australian waters, stingrays have been declared an enemy of the people by the Australian government ever since one of them killed Steve Irwin. It is illegal to let them live.
- Great white shark; A docile creature which lives on a diet of surfboards, but sometimes accidentally ingests the surfers riding them.
- Mantis Shrimp; Winner of several undersea boxing tournaments, this little guy is capable of punching so hard he creates cavitations.
Horrible deadly crawly things
- Redback spider; often found on toilet seats, waiting for fresh victims to bite.
- Funnel-web spider; A species of trapdoor spider with its genes for aggressiveness turned up to 11. It does not care how big the thing that just disturbed its web is; it will jump out and go for anything that steps too close to the trapdoor. The deadliest spider in Australia (to humans). The venom is only dangerous to humans, implying that people have always been its easiest source of food.
- Box jelly; Definitely not to be confused with the Australian term for Jell-O. It will kill you for no particular reason. Even if you do survive, several species include "A sense of impending doom" as a prominent symptom of their sting. With the Box Jelly, they're barely the size of your pinkie fingernail, so there's really no way to avoid them; even if you stay out of the water, there's no guarantee.
- Cone snails; An underwater creature that lives in an extremely pretty shell. Known for squirting poison into the eyes of tourists who stupidly pick them up.
- Ants; If you step on an anthill in Australia, please call your lawyer immediately and arrange a last will and testament. Do it quickly. Especially if you're wearing sandals. If your attorney goes deaf from all the screaming, hey, bonus.
- Blue-ringed octopus; Kill you via respiratory paralysis in only a few minutes. Look very large in pictures, but they are actually only the size of your hand.
- Bees; In a cruel, ironic twist, indigenous bees are stingless, and Europeans introduced the stinging sort.
Australian customs are rightly concerned about these because of their massive impact on the environment.
- Human; since their arrival thousands of years ago, have contributed to mass desertification of the continent and mass extinction of endemic wildlife. The European settlers have been the most destructive, but the Aboriginal people have done their share of damage as well.
- Dingo; Yep, imported too, but pre-European. Probably drove the predatory marsupials extinct on the mainland, leaving only the Tasmanian tiger (driven extinct by Europeans) and the Tasmanian devil (currently going extinct because of infection by a transmittable cancer).
- Dog; Like Dingos, but worse.
- Rabbit; have bred like, you know.
- Cane toad; can't be eaten by anything and breed like rabbits.
- Mice and rats; Everywhere, but unintentional.
- Cat; Munching their way through the smaller marsupials.
- Prickly pear; imported as a garden plant but bred incredibly fast; now mostly under control.
- Camel; fit surprisingly well into the Australian environment, since the desert is a pretty hardy ecosystem and the camel didn't really compete with too many native species. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia.
- Brumby; a free-roaming feral horse. Usually gunned down by helicopters.
- Sheep, goats, and cattle
- Fox; for English country gentlemen to hunt.
- Eucalyptus is mostly known for being the Koala's source of food. Are resistant to minor forest fires, and produce a lot of sap and which acts as an accelerate for said fires. During burning some trees have been known to explode. They also have the colloquial name "widow maker", during the dry season (and sometimes randomly) they will drop their limbs/heavy branches. This has resulted in several deaths, because in Australia even the trees are trying to kill you.
- Gympie Gympie a small plant with a "fuck you" attitude, described here, "For two or three days the pain was almost unbearable; I couldn’t work or sleep, then it was pretty bad pain for another fortnight or so. The stinging persisted for two years and recurred every time I had a cold shower." and also "Bromley also told a story of an officer who unknowingly used a leaf as toilet paper. He ended up shooting himself." Sounds bad? Well standing near one for too long (15-20 minutes) results in respiratory irritation, severe nosebleeds, and eventually damage to lung tissues. Also, painkillers do nothing to blunt the effect of the bastard plant's sting. People have even been stung while handling leaf specimens that were preserved in glass bottles for several decades because the venom in the little barbs doesn't seem to decay with age.
In the cities, many more civilised pursuits such as opera, sporting contests, theatre, and gay Mardi Gras may be found to keep the populace occupied. In the rural areas, the inhabitants must make their own fun in a manner slyly alluded to by the famous Australian song Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport.
As showcased by popular Australian exports such as Priscilla and Dame Edna Everage, some Australian men are known to entertain themselves by dressing in women's clothing. Many of the men who enjoy this activity gather annually in Sydney for the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, the largest LGBT pride festival in the world.
In Australia, McDonald's (or "Macca's") is far better than anywhere else in the world. But fuck me is it expensive, and it's just gotten more and more expensive, to the point that you can get better value for your money from actual gourmet restaurants.
Australians are also completely obsessed with sport. In fact, they even refer to each other as "sport" sometimes - and it's the country with the highest rate of organised sport in the world. Cricket, footy (which generally refers to rugby league or Aussie rules), racing, Volleyball, surfing, anything really (apart from soccer, which like Canada, the USA and NZ has never been that important to Aussies). You will never find a fat Australian, because they've all got rock-hard bodies from the sports they play — the 67.4% of Australians that are overweight are actually just storing muscle. Australia has not left the Commonwealth nations, because if they did, they would no longer be allowed to
play in dominate the Commonwealth Games.
Boat racing is also popular and the Henley-on-Todd Regatta is considered Australia's premier river race event. Australia's premier sporting event — the Melbourne Cup horse race — turns every Australian citizen into an instant expert on horse racing, despite their complete lack of interest in horse racing for the other 364 days of the year, although in recent years there has been growing backlash against the treatment of the horses.
Australians also enjoy lecturing people on sun protection, proper electrical installation, and driving at the correct speed limit. On Australian TV, every third commercial is a public service announcement. Apparently this is entertainment in their culture.
Australia is also home to the wildly popular actor and talented singer, Russell Crowe.[note 11] Australia is deeply proud to call him their favourite son (unless he does something wrong[note 12], then he's a Kiwi). The relevance of barbeques (barbies) to Australian culture is slightly exaggerated. The role of drinking isn't.
A one-sided rivalry
Australia is intimidated by her sister New Zealand, and for good reason. Australia seeks to compete in any way it can, often unfairly and in an unsportsmanlike manner. To her dismay, Kiwis rarely take the bait.
A few examples of such cunt-like conduct are outlined below.
As an attempt to assert their authority and superiority over their sister, in the early 1900s, the Australian government sent
criminal spies to New Zealand to steal national secrets; most notably, the Recipe for Pavlova. Australia was unsuccessful; the rest of the world has condemned Australia for its actions, and, as stated by the Global Institute of Pavlova (GIP) "Like a waterfall". Even the Oxford English Dictionary, the second authoritative expert on all Pavlova-related topics, has ruled that Pavlova was created in New Zealand.
To this day, Australia continues to deny any foul play. As a result, the Pavlova wiki page is essentially a propaganda piece; an abundance of alcoholic Australian editors aggressively assert Australian invention, overshadowing the occasional informed kiwi editor.
It is common knowledge that Pavlova in Australia tastes totally terrible.
Flat White scandal
In the late 1900s, Australia tried again to take credit for another masterpiece of classic Kiwi ingenuity, claiming the invention of the Flat White, the greatest coffee of all time. Having learnt from the Pavlova failure, the Australian government engaged in a major misinformation campaign, pouring significant amounts of money into rewriting history. These investments have paid off; history will forever imply controversy over creation.
It is common knowledge that a Flat White in Australia has a thoroughly foul flavour.
Every single Australian exclusively drinks VB (Victoria Bitter), whether they hail from the East, South or North. Not the West, however. However, there is some regional variation when ordering the size of your drink. If you are feeling like a splash of beer, just enough to coat your mouth, and you are on the east coast you can order a pony, which is barely enough for a mouthful. Ordering a pony anywhere else will result in a blank look and directions to the nearest stable. If you have a considerable thirst, but are worried that your beer might become warm before you finish it, you can order a middy which will result in an average-sized drink - this doesn't hold true for Victoria or Queensland where you must order a pot to get a middy or if you are in South Australia where you must order a schooner to receive a middy (or pot). However, if you order a schooner anywhere apart from South Australia you will receive a much larger drink (about one and a half middies or pots). This is true unless you are in Western Australia or Victoria where ordering a schooner is likely to result in a blank look or a pint which is even larger than a schooner. Naturally ordering a pint anywhere in Australia gets you about the same amount of beer, except in South Australia where you need to order an imperial pint. Simple - now you can drink like an Australian.
- Julian Assange - They're busy exposing the corruption of American media...
- Rupert Murdoch - ...while simultaneously being responsible for it.
- Christchurch terrorist attacks - one of the deadliest far-right domestic terrorist attacks in history and recent memory. The shooter Brenton Harrison Tarrant was from Australia.
- Yellowcake - a tasty snack for your pet nuclear reactor
- Rolf Harris - entertainer and convicted child molester.
- Kevin 'Bloody' Wilson
- The Inflatable Voodoo Dolls
- INXS, Midnight Oil, Men at Work, AC/DC,
- Dame Edna
- Bruce Beresford
- Baz Luhrman
- Pauline Hanson
- Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
- David Thorne
- Ken Ham
- Australian jokes
- Lots of different coloured rocks and dusty things.
- Crocodile Dundee
- Processed dirt
- Yellow Tail
- Germaine Greer
- The Celibate Rifles
- Sia Furler
- Peter Weir
- Mad Max film series
Iron oreChina says not anymore
- White people
- Huge floating rafts of vegetation, the biggest one named "Tasmania"
- Nicole Kidman - born in Hawaii, unlike Barack Obama
- Chris Watson - born in Chile, third Prime Minister and first not born in Australia.
- Julia Gillard — born in Wales but an icon for local rangas (27th Prime Minister).
- Tony Abbott — born in England, only became an Australian citizen so he could apply for the Rhodes Scholarship (28th Prime Minister).
- Mel Gibson — born in New York, non-gay Aussies claimed him as their own son until he went all weird with the Catholic sect thing and drunkard outbursts.
- Russell Crowe — often referred to, proudly, as "Australia's semen", born in New Zealand but enthusiastically embraced by all stripes of Australian society.
- Septic Tank (Yank) culture.
- English language (sort of)
- Goodness! Who'd have thought Australia was so white (in its adverts)? on YouTube
- The Long March of the Koalas, Slacktivist
- Down Under on YouTube
- Deadly Animals (Come to Australia) on YouTube
- Technically, New Zealand is part of its own continent.
- Making the homophone "Washminsda" a more apt, but less textually obvious label.
- Alright, fine, they used the Yank spelling to distinguish themselves from the Labour Party in the mother country.
- Who used to be more left-wing than the National Party of Australia.
- Even though most people felt that hanging was too good for them.
- No word on whether Satan and his minions can spell and use words better than Australia's politicians, though.
- Which is where the capital Canberra is situated.
- You've heard of "men going their own way"? Well, here's a whole continent going its own way.
- Except for a minority, who offer the platypus as proof of God's ineffability and inscrutability. (Frankly, they may have a point there. It's hard to imagine anything more ineffable than a platypus.)
- RAAAK RAAAK RAAAK
- Les Mis, we're so sorry.
- … like throw a phone, or a punch.
- See the Wikipedia article on Australia in the Eurovision Song Contest.
- Indigenous Affairs in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States of America, Norway and Sweden
- "Kanga Bangas". K-ROO™.
- "Platypus". Australian Conservation Foundation.
- "Arrival of the dingo". National Museum Australia.
- Dani, Hendrix (14 December 2021). "This Australian hoax fools tourists every year". Medium.
- Middleton, Amy (1 April 2021). "Drop bears target tourists, study says". Australian Geographic.
- "Drop Bear". Australian Museum. 21 April 2022.
- Australia's Real-Life Drop Bears, National Geographic, 11 Mar 2016
- Though there is only one documented death from a cassowary kick. Kofron, C. P.; Chapman, A. 2006. Causes of mortality to the endangered Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius johnsonii in Queensland, Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology 12(3): 175-179.
- See the Wikipedia article on Obesity in Australia.
- "Pavlova created in New Zealand not Australia, OED rules".