The Null Device
The Rudd government wants to overhaul Australia's image abroad, ditching the traditional images of bronzed Aussies drinking beer on beaches and cheesy strine colloquialisms like "where the bloody hell are you?", so favoured by the traditionalist former government, in favour of a new campaign promoting Australia as "a mature, creative, innovative society". (Those drawing parallels between Rudd and the early days of the Blair government in Britain will see echoes of Blair's "Cool Britannia" here.) Anyway, a number of ad agencies and magazines have had a go at coming up with ideas:
The Sydney Magazine approached a few advertising companies for inspiration. One of them came up with the slogan "Sydney. Proudly UnAustralian".. It features that great staple of Australian tourist brochures, the Sydney Opera House, but with a twist - it's white-tiled roof is emblazoned with the words "NO WAR" in bright red paint. Another image features two butch rugby players locked in a passionate embrace.
"Sydney, it's a bit like London. Classic Museums, Rich History, Hyde Park, Paddington, the Queen on Our Coin. It's just lacking the miserable weather, miserable people, pasty faces, snobby bitches, soggy chips, warm beer, cold winters, teens pushing prams, lager louts, slappers, geezers, madcow diseases."
The Olympic torch relay, dogged by protests against Chinese government policies across its journey, has finally had a smooth, protest-free run—in North Korea, where it was met by thousands of North Koreans waving flags in perfect unison, with absolutely no sign of protest:
"We express our basic position that while some impure forces have opposed China's hosting of the event and have been disruptive. We believe that constitutes a challenge to the Olympic idea," Pak said.
They do things differently in Australia's rough-and-ready west, it seems. The leader of the West Australian opposition Liberal Party, Troy Buswell, has admitted to having sniffed the chair of a female Party staffer; the incident took place in 2005, in front of other staff members.
Mr Buswell has previously admitted to snapping a Labor staffer's bra as a drunken party trick and has been accused by retiring Liberal MP Katie Hodson-Thomas of making sexist remarks to her.
Deputy Liberal leader Kim Hames was today standing by Mr Buswell, describing him as a "rough diamond with a robust sense of humour".Buswell has said that he will not stand down as Party leader.
Police in China have found a factory making Free Tibet flags for export to the Tibetan government in exile.
Workers said they thought they were just making colourful flags and did not realise their meaning. But then some of them saw TV images of protesters holding the emblem and they alerted the authorities, according to Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper.It seems that even the Tibetan government in exile agrees that when you want something made, you go to China.