"I am ashamed to be Australian"

I've heard a lot of people trumpet this in the last few years. Along with the chastisement "That is un-Australian", this ranks up there with what is fast becoming cliched, hollow rhetoric:

As an Australian citizen, let me assure you that I will NEVER be ashamed of my country, or its people. I may dislike certain elements of it, I may even detest certain places, or political decisions. This will not make me ashamed of my country, my heritage or the fact that I live in the greatest country on Earth.

We have some funny rules about who gets to live here, we spray the passenger compartments of planes arriving on international flights with aerosol cans from top to tail before they land, we have people like Pauline Hanson and Ivan Milat, gun murders in Port Arthur and a society that began life as a rather large jail for the riff raff of Britain.


We also have some of the best red wine districts in the world (The Barossa Valley for example), some magnificent coastline, world-heritage listed national parks, the Great Barrier Reef, International sporting events (the Grand Prix in Melbourne), the Australian Open tennis... We also make some great films

We have some of the best sporting teams and individual sportsmen and women in the world.

Here's a list of other amazing Aussies from past to present:

I cold go on, there are many, many amazing things that have come from this wide, brown land of mine. We don't like to think of ourselves as overtly patriotic, but we are a proud nation.

So the next time someone tells me that they're Ashamed to be Australian I will politely remind them that they are free to leave at any time. Another luxury we take for granted here in this great land.

I am Australian, and proud of it.

Goodness me, Patrick Bateman! How easily I seem to fit your "most Australians are beer swilling, sport watching yobbs" model. Being good at sport does not necessarily make you a good person, I agree. But then neither does being good at science, education or the arts. Inspiring a nation, being a hero and giving people something to aspire to on the other hand...

Time and energy spent becoming the best you can be in your chosen field is not time wasted as far as I'm concerned. If that's running faster over 400m that anybody else or pioneering medical discoveries, it's far, far better than sitting around wishing your life was better, and that the world didn't suck as much.

For the record, I am apalled at our treatment of refugees, and I didn't as you suggest stand by and do nothing. I used my vote at the recent election as my conscience dictated. We still got John Howard, but that's democracy in action, isn't it? I am not "most Australians", neither are you, and neither is everybody else in this country.

Please don't suggest that I am a nazi simply because I choose to be inspired by prominent sports people as well as other significant Australians.