They aren’t our elections

Stephen Colbert as the fictional Stephen Colbert.

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I live in Australia and we love American culture. Our love of American culture, in particular their TV shows is reflected by the fact that Australians are per capita the highest downloaders of illegal content in the world.  In fact, Australians downloaded so many TV shows from the US that Australian TV networks have been forced to “fast track” US TV shows so that they show days after they screen in the US or in the bizarre case of Bionic Woman, the day before the US.  Before they started doing this late last year, the Australian TV networks would show content from the US 6 months to 2 years after it screened in the US.  We found this unacceptable so we downloaded the shows.

This obsession with American TV shows isn’t a new thing.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s on a diet of US TV shows that at that time was tempered by just as many TV shows from the UK.  It probably goes a long way to explaining why celebrating Christmas in summer time has never felt right to me despite the fact I have lived in Australia for my entire life.

Our news programs are also obsessed with American news.  Our daily news has at least one if not more stories about the US Presidental campaigns every night.  Also, pay TV (called cable TV in the US) has CNN and Fox News direct from the US and we get the Daily Show and The Colbert Report screening just hours after it screens in the US.  Yes, we do indeed love our US news, especially their presidental campaign.  So much so in fact that two Australian channels screened all three Presidental debates plus the Vice Presidental debate live.  This is as many channels as showed the Australian Prime Minister candidate debates.  The campaign for our new PM only lasted 6 months, which we all complained was far too long, and costed less than Obama’s campaign raised last month alone.

Therefore, I guess, it is unsurprising that many Australians (and I shamefully include myself in this number) can name more American Presidents than they can Australian Prime Ministers.  However, it seems that Australians are now believing that they can in fact vote in the US Presidential elections.  I was on the bus today when a woman got on wearing an Obama t-shirt and had an Obama badge on her backpack.  I thought she may be an American tourist, but when she opened her mouth to buy a ticket she had a definite Australian accent.  Well, there is nothing wrong with an Australian fan of Obama, I thought.  However, I then overheard this conversation, both participants had very broad Australian accents which Americans no matter how long they have lived in Australia can never emulate.

Woman one: Who are you voting for in the Presidental elections?

Women two: Oh, I am voting for McCain.

WTF??  You are Australian!  You cannot vote in the US Elections, because you are not US citizens.  I weep for my fellow countrymen, I truly do.

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12 responses to “They aren’t our elections

  1. OMG!

    Thank you! I know that the US Presidential election is interesting and all (probably more interesting than our own) but it is still the US elections.

    It’s no wonder they think they’re the most important country in the world.

    Sigh – now I’m going to go watch The Simpsons and read some Superman comics…


  2. Awesome. I love that. We’re the 51st State in almost everything but law.

  3. So good to see that Aussies are continuing to honour their great convict heritage…please don’t become too American!

    Used to live for many years in Oz and would love to return but am now stuck (forever, I fear) in bloody Africa – the test-to-destruction centre of the world.

    Australia has always been a wonderful and workable amalgam of British and American cultures which has resulted in a unique thing called “Australia”. You have no idea how much I miss you…


  4. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    I know you guys don’t have Hersheys, but you guys have Lift cola so you might win on that! (I lived in Melbourne, Australia with my Dad when I was in high school–I miss it so much!)

    Wait, they don’t sell Hershey’s at the Dimaru? I thought they did?

  5. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on the plates!

    That is hysterical that they want to vote!! Maybe we can do American Idol style and everyone in the world can have a say!

  6. you crack me up!

  7. Oh, boy. What a conversation!

    Minor point, though – Australia doesn’t elect new PMs. Aussies can only vote for local reps and senate members. The party (or coalition) with the most seats wins the ‘right’ to form government and hence have ministers including the prime minister. The parties determine who is prime minister.

    Okay. Polly-sci lecture over :-)

  8. Nyssa: You are totally right, we do not vote specifically for our PM. However, I thought going into the Australian political system might make this entry a little too long though, so simplified it for the sake of brevity and so non-Australian readers would understand.

    Erin: Specialty stores do sell Hershey chocolates but they are hideously overpriced and we don’t get all varieties available in the US.

    Spearpoint: Come back to us!! We have Jaffas and Caramello Koalas here.

    Lee: I wrote this article and then went and watched Law & Order and then The Daily Show. I admit I am a US TV show junkie.

  9. Haha! So who are YOU voting for? I don’t know.. I think I peg you for an Obama girl, but if I’m wrong, please don’t shoot me…

  10. That is hilarious. I’m so sorry Australians have been sucked into the madness of the American elections. It’s been going on for TWO YEARS and I am so sick of it.

    Thanks for stopping by. I love your blog–I’ll be back!

  11. Thank you so much for stoppin’ by my blog. This entry is hilarious! I had no idea our television shows were so coveted. I do not watch TV myself, I’m more of a movie gal. I’m glad to see that Twilight is on your list to read. It is an AWESOME book and I couldn’t put it down. Funny thing is I get people from different states that still ask me what Twilight is, as if it is just a “Utah Thing”. LOL! Well, keep up the good work! I sure enjoyed stoppin’ by.

  12. I am guilty of watching many US shows but have a softer spot for UK shows as I lived half of my life in England. Aussie shows tend to take a back seat.

    I have often been asked who would I vote for in the US elections. As bloggers I think we get even more involved because of contact with US blogs and bloggers. The election campaign goes on for so long too – it seems that as soon as one election is over the campaign for the next one starts.