opinion

'The election result may have Australia divided, but we can't forget how lucky we are.'

There’s a lot of uncertainty and apprehension, not to mention anger, after this weekend’s shock win to the Liberals.

Some didn’t see it coming, some want Queensland ‘Quexited’ pronto – Labor’s blaming the Coalition’s preference deals, and without a clear climate change policy, many are predicting the doom of this country and our children’s children’s future.

And I get it… truth is, I wish half these people on social media had come out before the election, before the voting to state their points, their beliefs and reasons for arguing one way or the other, rather than waiting until it’s too late.

Nonetheless, as an observer, who’s still coming to grips with the country’s politics again, after being away for seven years, there’s one thing I do know – in the grand scheme of things, Australia’s got it pretty good.

Seven years away from Australia has made me realise more than ever that this sunburnt country really is the ‘lucky country’.

Sure, we might have a range of fairly mediocre politicians with some questionable motives to choose from (some say it was the hardest voting they’ve ever had to do). But the thing is, unlike many others, we actually have a right to choose.

As one person from Malaysia wrote on Facebook, “We didn’t have security guards standing with guns at the polling booths, instead we had sausages!” Yep, democracy is truly alive and well Down Under.

Listen: Bob Hawke Through The Eyes Of Blanche d’Alpuget. Post continues after audio.

Yes, compared with many other countries, our taxes can seem alarmingly high, but among a host of other things, we have good schools and solid infrastructure. We don’t have to worry about our safety on a daily basis. In Australia, safety isn’t an afterthought.

When your friend’s little boy in America worries about going to the bathroom during school, in case there’s a shooting and he gets stuck outside the classroom in a lockdown, you can be pretty bloody thankful you’re in Australia and the gun buyback happened in 1996.

And unlike our counterparts in the U.S, we have a pretty decent medical system, on tap.

It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg (literally) to be seen, like it does in many countries.

And while real estate in the big cities really is verging on exorbitant, we have space!

Space to take a moment to stand in our backyard and look up into that soaring expanse of (mostly) pristine cerulean sky and breathe.

In so many other countries a blue sky is pale blue-grey at best, and in many others, more than 50 shades of grey, with face masks the accessory of the day. Australia’s unspoilt rooftop is almost enough on its own, to warrant it the lucky country.

Sure, you might think traffic in the city is excruciating in peak hour, and in all fairness, it’s no picnic, but try driving in countries where road rules are the exception. You’ll be thankful for the orderly structure in which the bumper to bumper traffic is ticking along. A stroll along the footpath isn’t fraught with nerves and panicked looks over your shoulder as you scurry sideways because a driver’s using the footpath as an alternative route.

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WATCH: Jacinda Ardern redefined what it means to be a leader. Post continues after video. 

The internet, at times, might seem patchy as all hell, but at least we’re not censored, well not that we know of. We can easily jump from Google to Facebook and over to YouTube should we wish, without having to pay for a VPN (Virtual Privacy Network) to pretend we’re in another country.

We can practice any type of religion, should we choose to. Gay marriage is finally legal, and couples can hold hands and be affectionate in the street without fear of retribution.

While we are, sadly, suffering the effects of a crippling drought, when it comes to food, mostly we’re spoilt for choice. The food (and coffee) is generally fabulous, and hey, not only do you get water at your café table without even asking, you can even clean your teeth with tap water.

And ‘smashed avo’ although a little pricey, is really something else, right?

We don’t need to carefully pick through breakfast, wondering if the chef’s used gloves let alone, washed his hands. And if he hasn’t and you end up in hospital with a bad case of… ahem, you won’t have to BYO Dettol and food.

We can enjoy the ability to cartwheel through freshly cut green grass (well perhaps our younger friends can), which is saying something when you can’t even sit on grass in other countries for fear of what’s in it or ‘damaging’ it.

And to top it off we’re a rather friendly bunch. The birds are chirpy and so are we.

My American friend summed up the whole country when I showed her a picture of my small person’s uniform, ‘It’s so damn jolly!’ she said.

So, even though some of you are feeling a little jaded right now, take heart knowing Australia’s the real winner here.

All things considered, Down Under truly is one of the lucky countries.

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