According to Joe Hildebrand, the rest of the world thinks Australians are a bunch of beer-chugging, racist bogans.
But are they right?
That’s the question Joe and ABC2 are asking in a new show that premieres tonight. And it’s got us thinking that, similarly to ‘Go Back To Where You Came From’, which aired on SBS last year, this has the potential to be BIG.
When you’re dealing with a country as large and as diverse as Australia, there are bound to be split opinions when we’re asked to take a look at ourselves from an outsider’s perspective. And the sad reality is, sometimes a little bit of self reflection can reveal things you don’t want to see.
Incidents like the Cronulla Riots in 2005 and the violent attacks on Indian students in Melbourne, have not done much for the Australian reputation internationally. And those events had their greatest impact just across the pond that they call the Indian Ocean – in the globe’s largest democracy – India.
So that is exactly where Joe Hildebrand chose to start his investigation. He is chaperoning four Indian tourists – law student Amer, call center worker Mahima, education adviser Radhika and journalist Gurmeet – around Australia, testing their preconceptions and stereotypes of what we are really like.
His aim? To either prove or disprove (through an entirely non-scientific approach!) the hypotheses that Australians are actually dumb, drunk and racist.
Mamamia chatted with Joe earlier this week about making the show and what he learned along the way:
1. Where did the idea come from?
About a year ago there was an article written for a US magazine that said Australians are dumb, drunk and racist. It said that Indian call center workers were told Australians were dumb, drunk and racist and The Sunday Telegraph ran an article about that and it caused a bit of a stir here, so we thought ‘alright let’s test the theory’. We’ll go to India, we’ll find out if they really do think we’re all dumb drunk and racist and then we’ll bring some Indians to Australia and find out if we really are…