Aussie arrogance will be their undoing

Neil Manthorp –  05/09/2002

As difficult as it may be for South Africans to stomach, the bare truth of the average Aussie/South African relationship is that the Aussie inherently believes he/she is superior. And not just on the sports field, either.

Vast areas of the planet have been colonised at some time or another and the majority of the world’s people have been, or are, dominated by the minority.

The same applies today in Australia but you won’t find many people acknowledging or admitting it. In South Africa, of course, that revolting truth was given a name by Hendrik Verwoerd. Most others left it to the oppressed to name their suffering.

As a great Australian friend of mine said one night after too much wine, “Thank God for white South Africans – put on the earth to make the rest of the oppressors feel better about themselves.”

That feeling has been growing in Australia for half a century and has now become a state of natural existance.

In a sporting context, just look at the Ben Tune drugs scandal in rugby. A decade of whingeing about cheating Chinese swimmers and Bulgarian weight-lifters was suddenly forgotten because “Tuney” was a “dinkum, good bloke Aussie” who would never dream of taking any banned drugs. Right.

So when a press release landed in my inbox today from the Australian Cricket Board, I was particularly interested in one mistake. For a start, the ACB Communications Department is so perfect they ‘never’ make mistakes, but this one was really special, straight out of the drawer labelled “born, natural arrogance.”

In announcing the Australian Test squad to play against Pakistan next month, the statement glamorously introduced off-spinner Nathan Hauritz before making the following observation.

“The squad has been reduced from 15 to 14 after Australia’s successful Travelex Tour of South Africa, which Australia won 3-0.”

Believe me, that was no typing error. That was an assumption made by an Australian who is employed and paid to be thorough, accurate and even-handed. He is expected to know better.

His name is Pat O’Beirne and I know that he reads this column. If he has the manners to correct his statement, I promise you, readers, you will be the first to know.

(In case you need a reminder, Pat, South Africa won the final Test of that series which, I believe, made the scoreline 2:1)

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