Recently the Australian Tourism Board posted a sample of the questions potential visitors ask before coming to Australia, along with answer from the tourism board (copied below). However, I have one to add that may possibly trump them:

Q: Where does the sun rise in Australia?

A: In the west – the world spins the other way here.

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Original list:

Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? (UK).

A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.

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Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? (USA)

A: Depends how much you’ve been drinking.

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Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney – can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)

A: Sure, it’s only three thousand miles, take lots of water.

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Q: Are there any ATMs in Australia ? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane , Cairns , Townsville and Hervey Bay? (UK)

A: What did your last slave die of?

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Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia? (USA)

A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe. Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not … oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.

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Q: Which direction is North in Australia? (USA)

A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions.

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Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia? (UK)

A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do…

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Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? (USA)

A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is … oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

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Q: Can I wear high heels in Australia? (UK)

A: You are a British politician, right?

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Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round? (Germany)

A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.

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Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)

A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.

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Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia , but I forget its name. It’s a kind of bear and lives in trees. (USA)

A: It’s called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

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Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)

A: Yes, gay night clubs.

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Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia? (France)

A: Only at Christmas.

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Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)

A: Yes, but you’ll have to learn it first.

Having been tipped off at the Bible and Critical Theory Seminar, I am now in wikipedia. And sparkling entry it is too, in the List of Notable Australian Presbyterians. To wit:

“Roland Boer – Self-proclaimed Christian Communist and biblical scholar at Renmin University of China and University of Newcastle (Australia).”

 

Nothing like returning from an ‘authoritarian’ communist country like China to encounter a great moment in bourgeois democracy: back in Australia, Tony Abbott (leader of the opposition) runs from parliament so he doesn’t have to vote on his own motion. No argument here about which system is best.

The key factor that distinguishes Australia from any of the countries where I have been is the public toilet. Here you find public toilets liberally sprinkled toilets across the land, and they are always free, so much so that such a piece of intimate architecture should be on our new flag. Not elsewhere: either you pay, buy a drink or a meal in order to use one, dehydrate yourself before leaving home, develop immensely capacious bladders and bowels, or find curious instruction manuals as to how they should be used:

The best response: follow Lukács’s principle that if one does the deed quickly, the chances of being caught are minimal. Soon you will find that the brief corner of a building, a low shrub, a tree, or a moment’s pause in an open space is enough, even where shitloads of people swarm.

Returning home is always a strange experience for me – unsettling, a momentary glimpse of being an outsider. It doesn’t help that I am spaced out for about 12-24 hours after a hefty dose of knockout drugs to manage the flight. But this time I gained a brief sense of what Chinese visitors must feel upon arrival in Australia: it is full of massive, voluminous, expanding barge-arses. The many, many people I met in China do not have barge-arses. Maybe it’s genetics, or perhaps all that smoking, or the endless kms riding bicycles. Actually, I suspect it is has something to do with space. In a country as big as Australia, with only 22 million in a massive land, you can spread out, claim your territory a posteriori and plonk your bum on a vast slice land. But in China, with its 1.3 billion, where minimal space is used creatively, one thing you do not need is a barge-arse.

Australia, an epic of moronic proportions with a budget the size of Suva, stopped the rush of tourists to Australia in their tracks, undid the good work of Crocodile Dundee and left only boat people wanting to come here who hadn’t seen the movie.

(Charles Waterstreet)