If I was looking for a metaphor for Australia this Australia Day long-weekend, I’d choose the barbecue. A place where lamb chops can sit alongside teriyaki chicken skewers and greek-style calamari, and where diners can enjoy the benefits of diversity.
In my lifetime, this country has blossomed from a slightly gawky adolescent still unsure of its place in the world, to an independent nation. With little fuss we have built a peaceful and prosperous nation made up of people from across the globe without compromising the values of fairness and opportunity that has made us a beacon to migrants.
We are part of a young nation whose story is still being written. The issues that always pop up at this time of year: the flag, the republic, whether January 26th is the right day to celebrate our nationhood, are signs of healthy debate about our future.
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“I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could,” reads the bumper sticker of a passing Ford F250, nearly the size of an Australian tow-truck.
Everything is BIG in Texas – trucks, hats, steaks, beer and most of all pride. Texans are damn proud of the land their grandfathers fought to own, as if their very blood flowed beneath the soil and not the rich black oil the pump-jacks work non-stop to extract. The Texan flag is the only State flag legally flown at the same level as the Stars and Stripes.
Following our first ever Thanksgiving lunch, my wife and I settled down with our extended family to watch a football match between the University of Texas ‘Longhorns’ and Texas A&M University, The Aggies. It was a room divided, as if a new civil war was being played out over turkey and ham leftovers.
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