After a very brief hiatus, border closures is once again the hot topic in Oz after a miniscule outbreak in NSW. Casual observers may be forgiven for thinking that travel-hungry Aussies unanimously want open borders for Christmas — family reunions, holidays, just to scratch the travel itch — but you’d be wrong. More than a few of us would be happy if interstate border controls remained as tight as a nun’s nasty, if only to keep our weird neighbours where they belong.
For example, there’s them Victorians. We call them ‘Mexicans’ because they live south of our border and don’t work after lunch. I made that last bit up, but it would explain a lot if it were true. Why else would the beardiest hipsters converge on Melbourne except to work part-time so they can spend their afternoons sitting on milk crates in ‘pay-as-you-feel’ cafes finding themselves while choking down kale lattes and debating which of Fitzroy’s edgiest tattoo parlours does the best tribal? They should have their own lentil-based currency. I cannot think of one good reason for allowing a Victorian to travel beyond its borders.
Those poor South Australians. They’re called ‘croweaters’ because somebody once ate a crow, and that was literally the only interesting thing a South Australian has ever done. So exciting are South Australians that their capital, Adelaide, is nicknamed “The City of Churches”. The funnest activity in SA currently is a thing called “the adventure room” where you and 1-14 other daredevil funsters are locked in a room full of ‘hidden and mysterious objects‘ that give clues to your escape. Not solving the clues probably explains why SA’s population has been in constant decline since 1887.
Western Australia is filled with ‘sandgropers’ so-name because much of the state is sand and many of its early inhabitants were involved in mining. Now that there’s nothing left to dig, their reason for staying out there in the desert is unclear. Perhaps they have something to hide. Something buried in the sandpit. Most Australians only visit Perth (the capital) as the unavoidable first leg of an international journey. For many Australians, most of our favourite international destinations are actually closer than Perth so why would you want to go there? That was rhetorical, there is no reason.
Northern Territorians are such a non-entity that they don’t even have a nickname except ‘Territorians’. They call themselves “Top Enders” but that never really caught on. For a place that incarcerates so many young Aboriginal children, I’m sure they could do better. Wikipedia’s entry for ‘Australian Regional Rivalries’ doesn’t even include the NT, so that’s saying something. They don’t fear COVID because Top Enders don’t stand 4m apart, their population density is 0.16 people per kilometre. Somehow they did manager to recruit the cleverest marketing people in the country, though.
Queensland is filled with ‘Banana Benders’ and Asians. It’s where other Australians go if (a) they want a holiday, or (b) they can’t find work. On that basis, you’d think prices would be cheaper but in my experience they’re not. The typical Queenslander has an inflated sense of superiority because they are better at one code of football than NSW, but fail to acknowledge that they suck at everything else. Except tourism. Tourism and COVID don’t mix, hence the angst whenever Premier Annastacia Powashchook (sorry Palashay) opens her mouth.
And finally there’s the Australian Capital Territory. I lived in ‘Can-bra’ once. Locals called it the ‘crapital’ because Sydney, ‘the Emerald City’ is only a tempting two-hour drive away. It’s proximity to Queanbeyan (in NSW) ie ‘Struggletown’ reflects the fact affluent Canberrans are visiting from other states on “important public sector business”, hence the profitability of local restaurants and brothels. Neither bode well for COVID, so I’m surprised the ACT isn’t a hotbed of community transmissions. Being -8°C most of the year probably explains it.
So that really only leaves Sydney, the jewel in the Aussie crown. Why anyone leaves here to go someplace else has always mystified me. Yet whenever a super-spreader jumps on the train at Epping to take the ‘Home and Away’ tour at Pittwater, we go into national lockdown? I mean nobody gives a shit if a thousand Islanders are coughing their lungs up at Mt Druitt staion every morning, yet a single blonde from Vaucluse gets a headcold and we can no longer travel to Noosa? Reality check: there’s 28 people in this ‘cluster’. California alone recorded 60,941 new cases and 398 deaths yesterday.