AUSTRALIANS living in the UK are a fairly tight community. We drink together, we play together, we travel together and together we reserve the right to whinge about the weather and whinge about the whinging Poms.
No matter how often I hear people saying ‘I didn’t come all this way to hang out with Australians’, it doesn’t change the fact that from time to time we UK Aussies group together to share a moment, some advice, plenty of opinion and yes, perhaps even a drink.
But I have been left a little miffed by one section of the Australian community in the UK.
This past week, there were several high profile speeches made in London by Australian leaders about that ‘little’ island we call home.
One of them was by the Australian High Commissioner to the UK, John Dauth, titled ‘Advance Australia – Where?’. He was speaking in an address to the Anglo-Australasian Law Society and The Royal Commonwealth Society on Australia’s Foreign Policy and our role within the Commonwealth. Apparently it was a thoroughly entertaining (and quite eye-opening) speech.
Unfortunately though, those at the Law and Commonwealth societies, for reasons unexplained, deemed a major speech by our representative in the UK about our place in the world to be a media free zone and only for the ears of those present. Talk about a closed session. I guess it’s pointless asking them about that ‘cameras in court’ chestnut.
On the other hand, we also had this week the former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull not only speaking for free in front of almost 200 interested Aussies and Londoners at the LSE, but then putting his speech up online so everyone could share in his thoughts. Good on him and it is great read.
Wayne Swan is jetting into London town on Monday for a business lunch and a chin wag. I wonder if I tell the deputy Aussie Prime Minister that I really hope he’s more like Malcolm (and less like ‘our’ societies) if he’ll still let us come to his speech?