Tuesday, January 22, 2019

New Australia-land

The video above is the Australia Day promotional ad for Meat and Livestock Australia, promoting Australian lamb. Ordinarily, that’s not something I’d talk about on this blog, but this ad is funny, and aware of Australia’s problems in a way that may not be that common. And, it makes its humour trans-Tasman.

The ad begins by mocking the revolving door of the Australian prime minister’s office, and also mocks the far-right “One Nation” political party, and the underarm bowling incident of 1981 that still pits Kiwis against Aussies (a documentary about it is abut to air on one of New Zealand’s free-to-air channels. Seriously.).

The ad proposes a new, unified country, New Australia-land. "As we all know, Australia is the greatest country on earth, but frankly right now, New Zealand is doing Australia better than Australia," an Aussie politician says.

The ad continues, "Think about it,” Australia's "lambassador" says, “we've got awesome stuff, you've got awesome stuff. Most of our stuff is already your stuff. Best of all, you get to share our prime lamb.” The politician adds, “And we can share your Prime Minister."

"Sounds like a Fair Trade Agreement," a Kiwi responds.

The ad plays off the traditional good-natured rivalry between the two countries, and is surprisingly self-aware for an Australian ad: They’re usually not as critical of themselves, especially when it comes to comparing themselves to New Zealand.

But the reality is that their politics are a mess, and ours aren’t. They have a Prime Minister du jour, and we have stable government with a popular prime minister at the head. They could do far worse than adopting our prime minister.

But, it’s an ad. It wants Aussies to buy their lamb, and, they hope, Kiwis will, too. We don’t have lamb very often, but when we do, and we have a choice, we choose New Zealand lamb, of course. This ad can’t change that.

But if it could convince Australia to join New Zealand in a new country, rather than us joining them, that would be interesting—but with no chance at all.

Things have moved on since the underarm bowling incident, and the second-best lamb in the world isn’t an inducement to change anything, is it?

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