August 28th, 2013 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments
from The Australian, August 27, 2011
HOW will Tony Abbott perform on the world stage?
It is a question that has been exercising the minds of The Age’s readers of late as they wait, calculators at the ready, to run through Joe Hockey’s costings.
One correspondent wrote recently: “Do we really want the rest of the world seeing Tony Abbott as representative of the ‘ordinary’ Australian? I don’t. Urgh!”
The Australian intelligentsia’s apprehension of what others might think of them is as strong today as it was in the late 1950s when Arthur Angel Phillips identified the cultural cringe. He described a type of intellectual who was “forever sidling up to the cultivated Englishman, insinuating ‘I, of course, am not like these other crude Australians’ “.
These days, it is not English eyes that trouble denaturalised sophisticates but “the eyes of the world”. Human rights lawyer Greg Barns, for instance, wrote in Hobart’s The Mercury recently that the tragedy of our tough border protection policy “is that we are diminishing ourselves in the eyes of the world for no purpose”.
One suspects that the eyes Barns and his chums would like to appease are those that turn to The Guardian or The New York Times for moral guidance. Their monotonous outlook is sometimes referred to as “world opinion”, and the penalties for offending it can be severe. [continues]