Although I now live in Australia’s most populous inland city, my first 25 years was spent in Melbourne.
Aussies romanticise the outback, claiming it defines our nation. We use it to promote Australia to the rest of the world, and the documentaries you’ve seen are part of that projection of our image. Yes, the people and places you see in them are real, but most Aussies aren’t like them.
In reality, 90% of Aussies live within 100km of the sea and the vast majority have never even visited “The Outback”. We are city dwellers, very much like those from any other western civilisation. We are multicultural and cosmopolitan. We are generally well educated and keenly aware of world news.
However, we are being driven by our media and politicians towards an insular societal model: we now keep those seeking refugee status in detention centres (ironically, often located in The Outback ….), we treat our indigenous people as third world citizens and we are encouraged to adopt American culture and world politics as our own. It’s working – a culture of fear is starting to insinuate itself into our normally off-hand psyche.
I do maintain my hope for our culture though – we tend to laugh at any form of authority (including religion). With luck, Aussies will wake up to themselves and reject the society we are becoming.