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A decent mob: letter to the editor of the Australian Sept 2004

Australians are a decent mob. I know this since I lived with them as a student in Queensland in the late 1990s. They have become my mates. And once a mate, you are always one.

The ordinary bloke and shiela hold dear the quintessentially Australian values of a "fair go", "mateship" and of course being a "larrikin". "A fair go" means that everyone should be given an equal chance to explain or to prove, mateship means when two become steadfast friends because of a shared experience (often a hard one, doing the "hard yard" as we say) and being a larrikin means having a healthy distrust of authority, especially when authority says something nonsensical.

Filipinos and Australians shouldn't worry that their mateship will be broken. Australians have likely dismissed Alexander Downer's and John Howard's irresponsible statements on our government's policies. After all, Aussies are larrikins. They know that come the next general election, Howard and Downer will be parliamentary history.

It is John Howard and Alex Downer who have tarred the Australian ethos of a fair go and mateship. The Philippines did not get "a fair go" since its reasons for withdrawing its forces from Iraq were unfairly criticised and linked to other hostage taking incidents. Australia and the Philippines have faced great crises in their shared history especially in World War II. So we are really mates in the true sense of the word.

I trust the Australian people that the values that make their nation great will outlive the narrow minded opinions and policies of its politicians. Australians are decent people, good mates and lifelong friends.


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