What's wrong with Australia?

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    Don't get angry just yet. What I want to know is the bad sides of otherwise praised-for-everything country. I'm moving to Melbourne in a month and I would like to prepare myself as well as I can for any unpleasant surprises.

    Disclaimer: I definitely think there are more good things than bad things, and I know my perception of the bad things is subjective to my own experience as a born and raised white Australian.

    Some things I think are not great here, macro to micro:

    The weather. Can't actually do much about this one. If you like warm places it's probably fine, but Australia has some extremes of temperature, and with global warming it's getting ever more unpredictable. Bushfires are a regular summer threat, and the heat dictates everything from the cost of buildings to the waxy texture of our chocolate, which has additives to stop it melting.

    Tall poppy syndrome. (meaning) Valuing a fair go for everyone, hard work and equality can mean that the social consensus is to pull others down to their level. This is visible at every level of Australian society, but especially in the media and in our comedy. We tend to be a very satirical country with lots of mockery of celebrities, politicians, etc.

    Anti-intellectualism. Australia is a country that loves sport and food, tourism and the arts… but it isn't so fond of science. This ties in somewhat to the above, but generally as a country there is strong disfavor towards the use of facts and statistics (such as the general skepticism towards global warming) and science tends to get less government funding. Regular public schools do not have much support for gifted children. There is very little encouragement of innovation and new ideas. A lot of people who get science degrees from good universities move to Europe where scientists are treated better.

    Insecure National Identity. Maybe it’s because we’ve only been a country for 200 years, or because we are still a British colony, or because our location and vast tracts of land has made us something of a cultural melting pot for Asians and Europeans looking for a new start, but Australia really struggles with identity. Often it seems like we want to be just like America - certainly large American corporations like McDonalds and Nintendo find it beneficial to use us as a testing group for the larger American market. But most Australians will speak derisively of America. Our interest in the British monarchy only really extends to the tabloids and we consider ourselves independent… and yet we voted against becoming a republic, and recently officially started participating in Eurovision. We scoff at the stereotypes of Australians seen overseas, the shrimp on the Barbie, that's not a knife, kangaroo riding g’day mate people does not reflect the majority of Australians. We throw around terms in the media saying something is “UnAustralian”.

    We barely know the words of our own national anthem, definitely not more than the first verse. “Australia Day” is celebrated on the day we invaded, colonized and slaughtered the Indigenous people already living here. And more and more the attempt to provide Australia with a strong, proud national identity involves an insecure us vs them rhetoric, where “us” is white Australia. Which brings me to my next point.

    Racism. I shouldn’t have buried this so low because it really is, I think, one of the worst things about Australia. It’s only within the last fifty years that there has been push-back against the White Australia Policy. One Nation, a political party that supports that same old white Australia rhetoric, managed to land multiple seats this last election, and Pauline Hanson has been assured of six years in the senate despite the fact that she actively and vocally hates Asians and Muslims and associates with Neo Nazis. The disenfranchisement of the Aboriginal Australians who weren't even classified as human until the 60s and still struggle with deeply entrenched racism today, such as the recent Bill Leaks cartoon controversy. The death of Indigenous languages.

    The difficulty Aboriginal land councils have in getting council approval to build on their land grants - it can take over sixty years for a housing project to develop. The Cronulla riots. The amount of Australian comedy that relies on mocking Greek and Italian stereotypes. The high percentage of our lowest paying jobs being staffed by non-whites (nursing and food service especially.) The Islamophobia that is still on the rise that leads women with head coverings or men with turbans to recieve open abuse.

    The fear of terrorism. Tony Abbott’s crusade to “stop the boats” and the continuing atrocities at Nauru. Our government breaks international human rights laws daily with its treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. It makes me embarrassed to be an Australian.
    Size and population density. Australia is a big country, but not much of that is livable due to arid conditions, so we tend to cluster around cities, particularly on the East coast (Sydney in NSW and Brisbane in QLD). That causes a lot of problems. One is that the government finds they have to meet the needs of very different groups of people - urban groups with access to lots of technology and convenience, who see lots of other people daily and have access to good education and international news, etc. And rural groups who work very hard to eke out a living, do not have access to a lot of conveniences, see less other people (and arent really as exposed to people with different values or cultures).

    This is why independent politicians such as Bob Katter get elected. Another problem is that our geography means a lot of technology that relies on lots of people in one space doesn't work as well here - for instance everything from review websites to Bluetooth tags to geolocate lost objects to online dating websites are less effective in Sydney than they are in NYC or Tokyo or London because there are less users overall. This leads me on to my next point:
    The Internet. Internet speeds here are dismal. We have recently dropped to 60th in the world for Internet service provision and speed. It is incredibly expensive to get unlimited data, and the new roll-out of the NBN in urban areas is yet to actually produce an increase in speeds. This has a lot to do with population density, again, but what it means is that a lot of Australians do not really use the Internet very much, let alone to its full potential. I often encounter people of all ages who are surprised at the things I can do for them just using my phone and internet (the old “there's an app for that” trick). There’s a wariness towards smart tech though, too, for the kinds of reasons I mentioned in my anti-intellectualism point.

    The entertainment industry. Australia really struggles to produce film and television that does well on the global stage. There aren't major animation studios. There’s no Hollywood or Bollywood. Most actors find their big break in the same ongoing soaps - it's a running joke that every Australian celebrity in Hollywood has worked on Neighbors or Home and Away. I work in film, and most people I know in the industry aspire to go work overseas where they feel there are more opportunities. In addition, the Internet limitations mean that it is difficult to freelance long distance in post-production - that is to say, when you’re editing a TV show or film you have to transfer large amounts of data, huge raw files of the footage to work with. So if an Australian wanted to work on an NBC or BBC TV show from the comfort of his or her own office, they would need a much higher overhead due to the data costs, and risk being much slower. (I use this example specifically because it's my field, so I know the most about it.)

    Import pricing. We’re far away from everyone else and the government wants things to be made in Australia so that our small economy thrives, so it's understandable to some degree that products from overseas cost so much. This isn't so much of a problem when it comes to, say, food, or mineral resources, as Australia has plenty to offer of its own there. But media, music, technology, video games, makeup… stuff that in which we just aren't strong competitors in the international market? The pricing is coconuts. A US$1000 Apple laptop will cost AUD$3500 here. Most iTunes albums cost $20+. Buying a book in a bookstore will also cost you $20–40. 99c apps are $2.99 in our store. This is a difference that is not solely accounted for by conversion to the Australian dollar.

    Cost of living. Okay, so with the health care, social welfare, and high minimum wages, this doesn't cause mass poverty. But our cities are some of the most expensive to live in in the world.

    Anyway, that's just a few things mostly off the top of my head! I’m a middle class suburban 28 y/o white person so a lot of these problems don't even affect me directly or often. And I do love my country and the opportunities it's given me, especially since I know other countries have their own problems that might be more difficult to live with. So please take these negatives as honesty rather than condemnation.

    Source: https://www.quora.com/Whats-wrong-with-Australia

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