Australian chauvinism

I just don't get Australian chauvinism. Perhaps because I'm European and we have our own particular approach, deeply rooted in our (war) history, to nationalism. But after seeing literally zillions of occurrences of "100% Australian Made and Owned" just about everywhere in Sydney, I still don't get the need for this kind of show-off.

My last good laugh at it is from a box of Carman's "Original Fruit-Free Muesli". After the compulsory "100% Australian Made and Owned", we find this fantastic declaration (emphasis is mine):

We always try our best to source our quality ingredients from Australian farmers. Unfortunately, that is not always possible and sometimes we have to import ingredients from other countries.

What an horror! Shame on those Australian farmers who force Australian muesli-lovers to eat imported junk from overseas(*). Shock and awe!

And I gotta love this last one: "Proudly Printed on 95% Australian Recycled Board." That leaves us with infinite speculations about the remaining 5% of that board. Not recycled? Imported? As inconceivable as it seems, could it possibly be both?

No, seriously, what is this compulsive need for displaying proudness all about? You've got a continent of your own and you're afraid of the outside world?

Note:
(*) Which can be the only explanation for that piece of tooth-breaking stone we found in this Carman muesli pack.

4 Comments

I would call it economic protectionism (which is not always a bad thing, protecting jobs for example) and maybe consideration of environmental issues.

From an historical point of view, lots of the products consumed in Australia came from the UK, and it was a colony. Being able to 'stand on its own' feels good for a colony I guess (even if the Queen is still head of state). Then China & the tigers are much closer than in Europe, so when I visited, almost everything was "made in China" and a "made in Australia" tag was a welcome sight.

Disclaimer : I live in a French region that is very proud of its 'Produit en Bretagne' label and believe that the environment would benefit from less shipping of goods when we can produce them close to us.

Yes, though economic protectionism usually takes different, more efficient forms (taxes, barriers to importation and business etc.). Here it's more akin to the "Produit en Bretagne" or "Fabriqué en France" with the tri-color flag next to it, except that it's absolutely EVERYWHERE. Maybe customer brain washing is better than customs taxes ;-).

I now live at about 2,000 km of Sydney, and we're neighbor with a lot of different countries and cultures. I strongly feel that such forms of protectionism do actually more harm than good to the various islands around. Australia may feel that they can live without their neighbors because of its size. I'm not sure it's a good bet (it's definitely NOT for the small fish like New Caledonia).

This, from a French person? "What about the Académie française"? You've got an institution dedicated to keeping foreign words out of your language! I can barely move for the irony.

If you're having trouble finding the airport to flee this terrible country and return to Paris with its sunny climate and warm beaches, I'd be happy to pay for your taxi.

@Boris : well, I don't care much about the Académie nor do I condone any French chauvinism for that matter. And if you insist to compare economic chauvinism with language (quite a stretch frankly), I really hope for Australians that their efforts are more efficient than those of the Académie Française :-).

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