Saturday, August 7, 2010

Bogan hospitality

This is where I come on all small-l bleeding-heart liberal lefty, but I can't help it - I have to say something. Last week on The Chaser's "Yes we Canberra", the boys came out to the federal seat of Lindsay, which is next door to the one I live in, and vox-popped some of the Penrith locals, asking whether something should be done to "stop the boats", a phrase which fills me with embarrassment and shame every time Tony Abbott or one of his colleagues uses it. Or the PM, for that matter. And predictably enough, for no other reason than what took place in the editing suite, every single punter they spoke to (each of which was more boganny than the bogannest bogan you've ever encountered) responded exactly as you'd expect: "Yep, we should stop the boats, we don't need any more boat-people, I'll vote for anyone who can stop the effin' boats."

OK, so these punters might have been edited into prominence, but it's also true that they're out there, in most corners of Australian society. Which is why it struck me like a ton of felafel when I was sitting in the Penrith Westfield food court today, and this is what I saw, left to right: Thai, Italian, Japanese, American, Anglo, Mexican, Chinese, Vietnamese, more American, traditional Aussie roast, Lebanese and Turkish, Indian. And a bit more American. And if I was in any of a number of other suburban food courts, I might have even found some African. (What I haven't yet seen in any food court is bush tucker, but maybe one day soon that will come.)

But here's my point: is that what the average Australian wants, for all prospective immigrants of all flavours to come here, leave their family recipe books, then bugger off back "home"? "I don't want any of that foreign muck - I'll just grab a pizza or a doner kebab on the way home from the pub?" Really? If so, say goodbye to me right now, because I'm off to live in Nauru...