We’re always reluctant to leave Amsterdam and come back to Australia. We’re delighted to see our family and friends again of course, but when, after five months out of the country, the plane thuds down at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport and we open a newspaper we’re jolted into a depressing reality check.

The Sydney Morning Herald would claim to be the best daily newspaper in Australia. This is not a trashy tabloid. This is where thinking Australians go to get their news about the important issues of the day.

The top stories reported on the SMH website (excerpt above): a football final, a celebrity engagement (cricketer Shane Warne and actor Liz Hurley), a prostitute/businessman scandal, Courtney Love to tell all about Kurt Cobain, restaurants to maybe cost more at weekends, a car crash, a tax fraud, a rugby player’s wild night out and headlining the news today, wait for it…An online shopping site can’t supply 100,000 people with the cheap Havaiana sandals they ordered! Shock, horror!!! Gee, you really have to feel for all those poor hard-working Australians who spent $24 and may not even get their thongs in time for summer.

It’s a holiday weekend here, and it’s good to know there’s nothing else going on in the world that we should be concerned about.

Meanwhile we hear people moaning about the Carbon Tax – a government plan to make the country’s 500 biggest polluters pay for some of the damage they do to the environment. Why should we pay a tax, they whine, when China and the USA and all those other dirty countries overseas cause far more pollution than little Australia does?

Oh? So if the factory down the road is pumping waste into the river, it’s perfectly fine for you to dump your household garbage there too? A little more mess hardly makes any difference, does it?

And what about that terrible flood of hundreds, yes HUNDREDS of refugees arriving in boats and totally ruining the way of life of the 22 million decent, hard-working Australians who had the foresight to get here first?

Politicians are trying to outdo each other with their promises to stop the boats, sink them and make the illegal immigrants swim back to Afghanistan, or Malaysia or wherever. They’re probably all terrorists anyway, or at least Muslims. Yes, we believe in mateship and fair play, that’s the Aussie spirit. So sorry, we’d like to help, but what with this global financial thingy, we can’t right now. Ordinary Australian families are doing it real tough at the moment.

Australians doing it tough?? You need to get out more. Harden up, princess – when drinkable water comes out of your kitchen tap, you are not doing it tough compared to most people who have ever lived on this planet. Even if you’ve just blown $24 on a dodgy designer flip-flop deal.

Beaut to be back. Please excuse the rant. I’ll write again soon – about the things we love here.


Filed under Travel-Australia


  1. Bram

    Time to change your source of news!

    • When the Chinese and Americans change their source of news, I might consider doing it too, Bram.

      How much does a change of news source cost anyway? Won’t it force up my electricity bill?

  2. shawjonathan

    Welcome home, Richard. We just saw Page One last night, the movie about the New York Times, and were muttering darkly abuit teh SMH in pretty much the same terms

  3. Paul Martin

    Well said. Australians do not deserve the ‘tough’ label – the rural community does, but not city folk. Australians are getting softer every year. One drop of rain and they’re ducking for cover as if they’re being shelled… and don’t get me started on all the ‘safety gear’ we are being forced to wear. ūüėČ

    I only watch ABC & SBS news. I haven’t watched commercial television for ages but when I occasionally bump into it, I’m horrified… same goes for much of what passes as news in the newspapers. Tabloid rubbish.

    The Dutch have their heads screwed on properly.

    • Perhaps soft Aussie heads need those bike helmets to protect them, Paul, though I’m not sure there are any brains inside worth saving.

      I do hear a lot of the same nonsense spouted in Nederland too, so not all Dutch heads are properly screwed on. Some of them are properly screwed up.

  4. Laurens

    As you know dear Richard, you are always welcome in Drenthe, but don’t wait to long, ’cause also here people are moanig: “Holland is vol and vol is vol! This slogan is the last time even used in advertisements.

    • I just did a calculation, Laurens.

      Australia has 22.4 million people in an area of 7,617,930km2. That’s 2.9 people per square kilometre.

      Nederland has 16.7 million people in an area of 33,889km2 of dry land. That’s 488 people per square kilometre.

      Nederland could well argue that it’s full, and even though a lot of Australian land is desert, we still have a fair bit of space left over, at least relatively speaking.

  5. Laurens

    Indeed Richard I am totally aware of that. But I am afraid the moaners do not make these calculations and are using irrelevant opinions and arguments.
    Also in Holland people think they are hard working and decent and that refugees only come over to take their jobs or even worth: they come here to do nothing and just take money from the social security.

  6. I am always a little depressed when I get home as well. While in Italy, I constantly hear on international news that Austalia is doing well and when I get back home I hear nothing but doom, gloom and complaining. I am truly tired of hearing about ” illegal immigrants” being demonized.

    • That’s the point, isn’t it? Compared to most of the world we are doing well, we have a great life and yet people still want more.

      When the biggest news for today is whining that setting a pre-determined limit on poker machine losses will somehow bring communities to their knees, you have to wonder what sort of people live here.

  7. Iva Lee

    I agree with the gist of your sentiments, but it’s not everyone. For a start – news source, it’s been ages since SMH was a quality read, go to ABC or SBS only. Lots of people are doing good things with the environment, volunteering with refugees. Let’s be honest, there’s good people and lazy whingers people in every country.

  8. For Me to Know, And You to Find Out

    You know that all of this article is a complete generalization, not all Australians are like that.

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