Politics Is Australia becoming too obsessed with US political culture?

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Bareth Garry

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Jan 20, 2014
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I'm a little fed up of the whole "left vs right" endless arguments. And it feels in this country a recent development. Australia has had a revolving door of Prime Ministers. Parliament structured in a way where traditionally you might be edging a little here or little there depending on things like taxes and investment. Generally we've never been a nation known for political fascination. I spent time working in England for a while and I never saw Australian political news covered. Most people probably never heard of John Howard. They could name a list of famous cricketers off with ease though.

Now it seems to me there is a mimicking of what is going on in the United States whereby certain politicians and especially media commentators want to co-opt American political issues as some kind of wider culture war. It seems desperate to me. We are not American. We don't share history, infrastructure, business and systemic factors which is behind many of their divides. Over there like in England most people probably have never heard of our PM yet so many Aussies feel some way strongly inclined to their president. In a way that never happened with Obama or Bush or any other.
 

Geelong_Sicko

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Blame the internet. Instant opinion and all that. It's fantastic in that we have an entire world of instant information right at our fingertips and we can be as informed about a topic as we each want to be. The BAD thing is we have an entire world of instant information right at our fingertips and can feed on our prejudices so much more than we used to in online echo chambers.

Truly a double-edged sword.
 

Jello_B

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I'm a little fed up of the whole "left vs right" endless arguments. And it feels in this country a recent development. Australia has had a revolving door of Prime Ministers. Parliament structured in a way where traditionally you might be edging a little here or little there depending on things like taxes and investment. Generally we've never been a nation known for political fascination. I spent time working in England for a while and I never saw Australian political news covered. Most people probably never heard of John Howard. They could name a list of famous cricketers off with ease though.

Now it seems to me there is a mimicking of what is going on in the United States whereby certain politicians and especially media commentators want to co-opt American political issues as some kind of wider culture war. It seems desperate to me. We are not American. We don't share history, infrastructure, business and systemic factors which is behind many of their divides. Over there like in England most people probably have never heard of our PM yet so many Aussies feel some way strongly inclined to their president. In a way that never happened with Obama or Bush or any other.
Fair points. Do you have any examples of this co-opting other than the inquiry into China for the “Chyna” Virus (which is a overwhelmingly globally supported opinion).
 

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Bomberboyokay

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American politics is seeping into Australian news because it's 1) genuinely interesting at the moment, and 2) in English and ready to go. Doing it for 99% of other countries or expanding Australian political news would mean hiring people and spending money. If Biden wins the coverage will drop back a little but still be there because it's cheap as fu**.
 
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Gethelred

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fu** yes.

People extrapolating US cultural norms and political discourse into an Australian legal, cultural and political setting can piss right off. It's disingenuous, it's incorrect, and above and beyond all else it imports a set of definitions that are completely different to those we hold here.

Joe Rogan has zero to do with Australian politics.
 

Kwality

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Blame the internet. Instant opinion and all that. It's fantastic in that we have an entire world of instant information right at our fingertips and we can be as informed about a topic as we each want to be. The BAD thing is we have an entire world of instant information right at our fingertips and can feed on our prejudices so much more than we used to in online echo chambers.

Truly a double-edged sword.
When we have political reporters predominant in the mainstream news area they tend to see everything in political terms, see Covid 19 coverage.
It is very easy to read opinion believing it is news, more so when news is directed to you based on what someone/something has decided your interests are, what box your views are in.
 

Geelong_Sicko

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When we have political reporters predominant in the mainstream news area they tend to see everything in political terms, see Covid 19 coverage.
It is very easy to read opinion believing it is news, more so when news is directed to you based on what someone/something has decided your interests are, what box your views are in.
I think that is a real danger - opinion dressed up as news. 'Infotainment' is what they're calling it these days. An enquiring mind and a healthy dose of skepticism are needed now more than ever.
 

Kwality

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I think that is a real danger - opinion dressed up as news. 'Infotainment' is what they're calling it these days. An enquiring mind and a healthy dose of skepticism are needed now more than ever.
I'm more concerned all news sources doing it, pushing their opinion as news. Check out the ABC/Just In site, its my go to news source & its deteriorating.
I want the news, whats happened & I can choose what I read, I'm interested in all views, not just those that make me feel good, happy to be challenged.
Yeh a healthy dose of skepticism, even scepticism/cynicism o_O
 

CD Xbow

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American politics is seeping into Australian news because it's 1) genuinely interesting at the moment, and 2) in English and ready to go. Doing it for 99% of other countries or expanding Australian political news would mean hiring people and spending money. If Biden wins the coverage will drop back a little but still be there because it's cheap as fu**.
and 3) they are the Romans. Perhaps the internet is allowing us to witness Rome burn again? They are in such a bloody mess.
 

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Mofra

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We have enough of a distance from US political culture in Australia to be very thankful right now.

Take the Covid19 responses or the bushfire response in Australia - for all it's faults there were bipartisans agreement between state and Federal governments, bipartisan agreements all over the country, coordinated responses with national committees established in the wake of Covid 19.

Compare that to the US where blame-shifting has taken precedence over action and the contrast is stark. I doubt the US could mirror Australia's coordinated responses any time soon.
 

jono23

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There's obviously a little more coverage at the moment because the media have created an unprecedented click bait around Trump, but the reality is that Australia is always going to get more coverage of larger allies than those larger allies get coverage of us. And particularly the US, who is our closest political ally and leader of the free world, it's in our interests to know what's going on with them.
 

Gethelred

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There's obviously a little more coverage at the moment because the media have created an unprecedented click bait around Trump, but the reality is that Australia is always going to get more coverage of larger allies than those larger allies get coverage of us. And particularly the US, who is our closest political ally and leader of the free world, it's in our interests to know what's going on with them.
International news is one thing, getting involved and invested in the US elections and in the nitty-gritty of their parliament proceedings when the same people cannot stand Australian politics shits me to tears.

It. Is. A. Different. Cultural. Context.

That's not necessarily directed at you, but this whole area is a huge pet hate of mine. The problem isn't people seeking out and partaking in international news and seeking to become more aware. The problem is that people are doing so in ignorance of their own internal politics and extrapolating US political tropes, trends, structures and identities over into Australian contexts.
 

RunningBounce

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I reckon Australia's had an obsession with US culture since WW2 - movies, music, TV etc. Not sure if it's good, bad or indifferent.

The "left vs right" thing is much more worrying. It's almost like some recent development in the way humans socialise and communicate has reduced our complex, multi-dimensional thoughts and beliefs into one-dimensional shouting at the anyone who disagrees.

I'd really like to get back to detailed discussion, listening, agreeing on some things, disagreeing on others, and above all else, connecting and coming to a consensus, but I've run out of characters.
 

jono23

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International news is one thing, getting involved and invested in the US elections and in the nitty-gritty of their parliament proceedings when the same people cannot stand Australian politics shits me to tears.

It. Is. A. Different. Cultural. Context.

That's not necessarily directed at you, but this whole area is a huge pet hate of mine. The problem isn't people seeking out and partaking in international news and seeking to become more aware. The problem is that people are doing so in ignorance of their own internal politics and extrapolating US political tropes, trends, structures and identities over into Australian contexts.
That's an interesting view you've got because at least from what I've seen, either in my social network or observations online, I haven't encountered what you describe. If anyone is genuinely invested in US politics, they're at least as or more than invested in Australian politics. But, if anyone does fall within what you describe, then that is quite bizarre and nonsensical.
 

Kwality

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That's an interesting view you've got because at least from what I've seen, either in my social network or observations online, I haven't encountered what you describe. If anyone is genuinely invested in US politics, they're at least as or more than invested in Australian politics. But, if anyone does fall within what you describe, then that is quite bizarre and nonsensical.
Some apply US process to Aus as if it were real, not the fiction they want it to be.
 

Gethelred

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That's ok though, let them be ignorant and naive. It's not like they change how our system of government operates.
Except they vote, they determine the issues alongside everyone else. They cannot change the system of governance, but they can assist in changing the government and the popularity of policy.
 

Gethelred

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That's an interesting view you've got because at least from what I've seen, either in my social network or observations online, I haven't encountered what you describe. If anyone is genuinely invested in US politics, they're at least as or more than invested in Australian politics. But, if anyone does fall within what you describe, then that is quite bizarre and nonsensical.
You run into it a lot if you talk to people who don't normally discuss politics.
 

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