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May 26, 2024

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box – When you don’t go to Rio

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Rio Olympics
Rio Olympics

Every four years I look forward to watching the Olympics. It’s a bit of a thing for most people. In between times I’m not an avid watcher of sport, and I don’t have a team that I have bonded with. I’m never really sure whom to barrack for.

The Olympics makes that simple. When it’s your country playing other countries it’s pretty clear who your team should be. But not this time. I’m just not interested. Which is weird because I still get goosebumps when I think back to watching Cathy Freeman win gold in the 400, or Thorpey smashing it up in the pool or Sally Robinson having a little lie-down in the rowing.

But not this time. When my baby smiles at me, I don’t go to Rio. This morning I worked out why. It’s not the Olympics I’m disenchanted with. I’m really not that fussed about drugs in sport. I don’t care. As far as I’m concerned they could do the whole thing on Ice. Be great to see them nail the marathon in under 10 minutes.

In theory I am still into the idea of watching Olympic sports. What I’m not really into at the moment is Australia. I don’t really feel like we have that much to be proud of. It’s hard to get behind a country you’re embarrassed by.

We’ve disgraced ourselves at a global level. The United Nations certainly isn’t impressed with our human rights record. We’re one of the biggest emptiest countries in the world and we’ve turned away thousands of the world’s most vulnerable people. We’ve accused them of throwing their children overboard to make them look like animals. We’ve put them and their children in detention. We’ve re-traumatised already traumatised people.

In the Northern Territory we’ve been violently abusing Indigenous children in our juvenile detention centres. Our First Nations people continue to occupy our jails and die at much higher rate that the colonials. Life expectancy for the Indigenous community is still around a decade shorter than non-Indigenous community.

We’re the only Commonwealth nation that still doesn’t have a treaty with our Indigenous people.

Instead of being a First World leader in carbon reduction, we scrapped the carbon tax. We are stalling on marriage equality. We’ve destroyed one of the seven natural wonders of the world for coal exports. Internationally owned coal seam gas companies are still poisoning our water supply. Australian manufacturing is at its all-time lowest with most of our iconic Australian brands being made in sweatshops overseas.

Queensland has ripped up so much forest that in the next five years there won’t be any koalas left in the sunshine state. When a woman bled to death on a beach in Iluka after a massive vaginal trauma, the two men responsible weren’t charged. Our current PM ripped $200 million out of the ABC last year… so in the end, who stands up for democracy?

And let’s not forget that when we step into the world arena we are disgusting bigots. We have used Manus Island and Nauru as our offshore penal colonies, outsourcing immigration detention while at the same time causing political unrest for our poorest and most disempowered neighbours. Our mainstream TV personalities feel quite at ease to share their extreme views that we should close borders to Muslim migration. This feeds a culture of religious hate and intolerance that has resulted in our 45th Australian Parliament sporting four One Nation senators. It’s humiliating to admit it but we’re rednecks.

Maybe it’s time to engage the Olympic philosophy in Australian politics. It’s a bit sad when the sporting world has a mission statement more noble than your nation:

‘The goal of the Olympic movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.’

Perhaps it’s time we Australians engaged mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. Until then, the Green and Gold leaves me cold. Aussie Aussie Aussie? Noy Noy Noy.


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13 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you Mandy. This is what needs to be discussed around dinner tables, in pubs and clubs across this nation. The people can change all of this, but only if we can actually accept the dreadful reality of what we are. Time to turn the ship around Australia!

  2. Yes. Being an Aussie who has spent 4 months of each year for the last decade(+) in Europe – based in Munich – I’ve learned to just allow the Germans (and others) to mistakenly identify me as an American.
    Initially, I was quick to correct their faux pas, but then came to the realisation that their exposure to the type of Aussies that target Munich Oktoberfest as a piss-up holiday, had locals tarring me with the same brush. Linking arms and singing to the omp-pa-pa band with a happy bier-buzz glow (locals) vs. standing on tables chucking brown-eyes, pissing anywhere, brawling, vomiting before (mercifully) going unconscious on the ground; our ambassadors to Germany.
    We certainly have a lot more to be ashamed about with regard to our heritage (your points) – but mistaking me for an American isn’t much better.
    Love them to say “Norwegian” when guessing where I come from.

  3. Thanks Mandy, for telling us like it is. It is good to have one of our most revered Social Commentators attempting to pull our heads up out of the sand so that we can see what is coming for us and at the same time, protect our arses! More Power to you Mandy!

  4. As someone who was once an aspiring Olympic athlete, and later in life wrote a history of the Olympics from an Australian perspective, I might be expected to mount the counter-argument to what Mandy Nolan has written.
    But how can I? I too am ashamed of what the people running our country to feel pride in the flag.
    On a personal level, I do empathise with all athletes, from where-ever they are from, and can enjoy their efforts.
    As for inspiration – I have found that from, for me, the most unusual of sports: shooting.
    I am not intimate with Fehaid Aldeehani’s story, but feel confident in saying, that as a member of the 10 person team of refugees, it can not have been an easy journey.
    This morning, competing under the banner of “Independent Olympic Athlete”, Aldeehani won the gold medal in the Men’s Double Trap.
    Salut.

  5. On ya Mandy!

    I left the USA in 1971 because I was ashamed to be an American. And now I am ashamed to be an Australian! Where else can I go to be proud of my country? I will continue to sign petitions and write letters to the powers that be. Thanks for the inconvenient truth.

  6. Totally agree….our politics are appalling….you have summed it all up with sickening accuracy. Thank you for your clear expression of disgust with our conservative, gutless politicians and law keepers.
    How have we managed to sink so low? We are going backwards in humanitarian terms with alarming speed. Or has middle Australia managed to predominate once again ,and join a rising wave of intolerance worldwide. Trump’s rise to power with a fervent following is surely a warning about the future for all of us.

  7. Don’t agree with you at at all. This is our country, be proud to be an Aussie! We have a lot of unresolved issues as all countries. Maybe we haven’t the best government but who voted them in? If you want the boaties in then go and live with them. There’s too much to possibly say in an Email, I have always liked and supported most of your opinions, but not this!

  8. So you’d bring all the invaders disguised as “refugees” into the country? Are you blind you can’t see what’s happening in Europe or are you plain stupid thinking it’s not gonna happen in Australia? Can’t you read newspapers to see how black and islanders Apex gang is destroying Melbourne?
    If you’re ashamed of country where you were born, simply fuck off.
    I’ve done it, and moved to Australia because of her values and culture. As immigrant I worked my ass off, follow and obey Australia’s laws even if I think some of them aren’t the best ever.
    Look at the mohammedan terrorist how they demand everyone else bows down to them and let’s them get their way.
    And you are complaining government somehow protects us from the destruction called “multiculturalism”?
    People like you are the problem of Australia

  9. You say it all Mandy. Australian policies and the way we treat the environment and the animals that live with us is more and more horrific.

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