So Australia is the dumb blonde of the world. Well, according to Simon Anholt and at least 12,271.7 Australians anyway.
Apparently Australia has a one dimensional image and even the smallest incident could be bad for the country. The example he uses is the attacks on the Indian students studying in Australia. He notes that this has had a huge affect on Australia’s reputation. Tell that to the 77 000 incoming migrants to these shores last year. Or the 5.8 million tourist who arrived in the last 8 months (considering Australia’s population is around 22.2 million). This was a 6.7% increase on the previous 12 months.
People the world over love Australia and Aussies (except maybe the South Africans who don’t live here). They love Paul Hogan, Don Bradman, Cathy Freeman, Dame Edna and INXS. They love Bondi Beach, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and the Sydney Harbour Bridge! The love Hugh Jackman, Toni Collette, Anthony La Paglia, Nicole Kidman and Heath Ledger.
According to Mr Anholt, a survey of 39,000 people in 26 countries ranked Australia the ninth-most admired country in the world. 39 000 people? That’s a pretty small sample if you consider the world’s population. Australia was also ranked best in the world for natural beauty and as a place to visit if money was no object. By the same people.
He goes on to say, “‘What you have is an image of a country that is considered to be very decorative, but not very useful.”
Mr Anholt said Australia was unusual among developed nations in not having an organisation devoted to the promotion of culture, such as Germany’s Goethe Institute or France’s Alliance Francaise. Did he notice how ‘old’ those two countries are? How much culture they have to promote?
I wonder if Anholt was one of those people advising that you shouldn’t travel to South Africa for the Football World Cup or to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games?
Poll taken by “The Age” newspaper