Beware the politican in a brand new hat and boots
In an election year many politicians including the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader will travel the nation hoping to impress the electorate and attract votes.
They will discover that Australia is divided into two groups - those in the bush who wear elastic sided boots as standard acceptable attire and those who assume they are missing out on something typically Australian and promptly buy a pair.
The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wears boots all the time no matter whether the occasion is formal or informal. The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott wears them when dressed in jeans and casual shirt but he did not wear them when temporarily lost at Fossil Creek. Bill Clinton has two pairs and both George Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger each received a pair as a present from John Howard during visits.
RM Williams started making elastic sided boots as tough and durable footwear for people in the bush in the 1930s following a chance meeting with an itinerant saddler named Dollar Mick. While the boots proved very popular with the bushies they have become trendy internationally and are exported as far as Japan and Europe.
The boots were made for outback conditions and enabled Australians to cope with the harsh Australian climate. They are now “must haves” not only for people from the bush but also for a long diverse list of celebrity shoppers including political leaders, actors, sportsmen and entertainers.
At the time of RM William’s death in 2003 both the Prime Minister John Howard and Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said that the bootmaker was an Australian icon. RM Williams lived a life that legends are made of and will be remembered for contributing to our unique Australian identity. By wearing black elastic sided boots perhaps Rudd and Abbott are also dreaming of icon status.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was pictured wearing his black boots while meeting President Barrack Obama at the G20 Summit in London in March 2009. After publicly expressing his annoyance at being downgraded to second tier status at the Summit he was greeted with a wave of ridicule by British media and dubbed as a boot wearing geek from Down Under.
Bush folk hold a cynical view of people who wear a wide brimmed hat and RM Williams gear hoping to look like a rural landowner and the cynicism surges if the boots are black and not tan. Such an outfit epitomises a city slicker most probably a journalist, a lawyer, a politician or public servant arriving to do business in rural areas. Bush folk know such arrivals have most likely never dirtied their hands on a hard-to-start tractor or on an obstinate generator, let alone ridden a horse.
How do I know this? I was a senior public servant who foolishly wore a wide brimmed hat and black boots and travelled to rural areas. I received a public reprimand on my manner of dress from an old bushie in the main street of Charleville on my first visit. Prime Minister Rudd and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott please heed this warning - do not pretend to be someone that you are not!
Read all about it
Up to the minute Twitter chatter
The latest and greatest
Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…
I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…
In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…