Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When is an Australian not an Australian?

Yesterday I got accused of not being a real Australian. I was just sitting in the shade with an Australian friend and two German backpackers. We were in King’s Park to celebrate Australia Day. I can’t remember what we were talking about. Something to do with being Australian. I said: “I’m Australian too.” And my friend answered: “Yeah, but not really.” And I said: “Yes, I am. I’m an Australian. Really.” And my friend said: “You’re only an Australian on paper.” I answered: “So are you.” And she said: “No. I’m seventh generation Australian.”
I did not want to make a fuss on Australia Day, so I left it at that, but privately I was quite offended that she did not think I was a ‘real’ Australian. What is it that makes me less of an Australian than she is? Is it that I speak with a Swiss accent? But many Australians have different accents. Hardly anyone speaks with the stereotypical broad Ozzy accent anymore. Is it the fact that I was not born in Australia? Does the fact that more of her ancestors have been born in Australia make her more Australian? Is she more Australian than say, someone who is sixth or fifth generation Australian?
I suspect that her line of reasoning is that I was not born in Australia, therefore I am not a ‘real’ Australians. I’d like to think I’m a real Ozzy. I’ve been living in Australia for years. I went to high school here. I study here. I have many, many friends here, some Australians some not. I had my first boyfriend in Australia, although he was not an Australian. I voted in the last federal election. I voted in the local elections. I have an Australian passport. I cheer for the Australians at the Olympics. I go to the ANZAC Day service. I have sung at ANZAC Day services in France, England and Australia with my high school choir. I celebrate Australia Day every year. Over the years I have considered moving either overseas or just over east. But as the song says: “I still call Australia home.” I live here. I study here. I work here. I live my entire life here. I may be a Swiss Hispanic Australian. But I still am an Australian. I don’t think there is such a thing as less or more Australian or ‘only an Australian on paper’. As far as I’m concerned if you’re an Australian you’re an Australian, nothing more, nothing less.

1 comment:

  1. bah to her. ur as aussie as anyone. and since i know u i can safely say ur prob more aussie than most australians. i beleive that ur australian if i claim u to be one and u r defintatly australian. ur just to damn cool to be anything else .
    u know who i am poopsikans :D