What are some illusions Australians live by?


Thor May
Brisbane, 2014


meetup group: Brisbane Active Thinking Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Brisbane-Active-Thinking-Meetup/

online discussion: please use the "discussion page" tab on http://www.meetup.com/Brisbane-Active-Thinking-Meetup/ (not the main Meetup page - otherwise people get flooded with notifications which many don't want to see. Note that you can also switch notifications on/off in the settings).

discussion topics blog (for the list of proposed topics): http://discussiontopics.thormay.net/

topic suggestions: thormay@yahoo.com

topics already discussed: http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/DiscussionTopics/DiscussionIndex.htm

comments: Thor May - thormay@yahoo.com;

Thor's own websites: 1. articles at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay ;

2. main site: http://thormay.net


This is an initial starter list for discussing the "Illusions Australians live by " topic. The list makes no special claim to quality, and additions are welcome.


Topic notes from Thor (these notes, like the reading links, will be expanded over time)

This looks like a wide open topic. Everyone could easily go off on their own tangents, and perhaps we can have some fun doing that. However, the questions behind the topic question might be more interesting and more focused. For example, we are often vocal about other people's "illusions" (or delusions), but certain of our own beliefs. Another word often used in this context is “myth”. So what is going on here psychologically, and does it have consequences? When it comes to countries and cultures we may be socially, or even legally, required to profess public belief in certain cultural, religious or political icons while privately thinking the whole thing is a bit crazy (insert your own examples here..). Then there are "us" and the "sheeple". Now we don't have pretensions, .. do we? We are never led by the nose, .. are we? And most of us can think of some pretty rude things to say about, say, the American worldview. What are some things they might be saying about mighty Australia?

BattleOfBrisbane1.jpg https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQmJDZTXd5Kyzi8UQ1dbUTDsPqPUu5Nw4Lr8fImuCHWLQSfETSA






Everyone is a hero in their own movie. That’s true for commandoes, rock stars and bank clerks. It’s even true for the most despised and the most timid, the Gollums, and those fragile folk safely locked in apartments with their daily news scare of murder and dark deeds in the big bad world out there. Their version of hero might not be yours. Is your heroism derring-do, is it voting against the whole consensus of a meeting, or is it a smile and little white lie to deflect a risk and fight another day (as you say to yourself)? No matter. The hard bit comes with trying to fit the rest of the world’s menagerie into our own movie, with us still as hero. At this point the documentary of life is apt to acquire tinges of fiction around the edges. To stay safe and sane in our own bubble, we have to reinvent the world and see what we want to see. Where stuff doesn’t fit, we have to label it as bad, mad or a cosmic conspiracy. All the world old is queer save thee and me, and even thou art a little queer (Robert Owen, C18th). It is you who are delusional and living a myth, not me. We probably need illusions of some kind to survive with any confidence. The problem may be one of opacity. Even with rose-tinted spectacles, or Ray-Ban shades if you like, we can still see a credible outline of impinging reality, and adjust when necessary. The drivers of old cart horses used to put solid leather blinkers on the nags so they wouldn’t be frightened in modern traffic. When our illusions are shielded by the solid blinkers of the fanatic, the ideologue, or the narcissist we become a menace to ourselves and everyone in the vicinity.  

As life’s movie is edited for the self-respect and benefit of lonely you or me, so it goes for families, groups, clans, cultures and countries. Start your own religion, claim to be a prophet, and you are a quick candidate for a mental asylum. Gather a thousand followers and you have a social dynamic going which can make its own truths and condemn the unwashed masses to purgatory. Gather a 100,000 followers and you can start a war, become president of a country and write yourself into the history books. You didn’t conform to accepted truths, you made a new reality that enough people were prepared to tolerate (and you still might be clinically insane).  


Relating this meetup to the topic


To ask about illusions is to ask about, well, everything by adopting a critical frame of mind, with the usual exception, as I have noted  above, of asking about self. On the face of it, trying to ask about everything is a bit silly in a two hour discussion. There is some method in my madness however. The Active Thinking group has yet to find its own identity, and discover what most of its members are comfortable talking about. Below I have therefore offered a smorgasbord of possible “Illusion” headings, with a few personalized comments under only some of them. I am hoping that these navigation points will help the meeting to find its own path. .. Long ago, newly employed in a new institution, I was surprised to find that there were no concrete paths in the grounds. The director explained that people would make their own preferred tracks, and that these would later be turned into proper paths. Something like that is going on here. 

 And so we come to the piece of real estate where fate dropped me as a child. It is called Australia… 


1. Illusions about history and ancestry


Coat-of-arms-1580.jpgGenealogy has become a popular hobby in Australia. It is a fun pastime tracing ever more tenuous links to an ever increasing number of dead people. My sisters claim to have found threads of our family name going back in England for 700 years, which is a lot of birthday cards to buy if you think of all the descendants. Somewhere along the way there is even a coat of arms (these were only granted by the king) which to me looks for all the world like a leopard in a cooking pot. Another branch hung out in Dean Hall in Gloucestershire for 250 years – it now seems to be the oldest inhabited house in England, originally a Saxon hall for the first Lords of Dene from 1080AD, and before that the site of a Roman temple (the last Romans left England in 410AD). A couple of scions of this family killed each other in a duel over the dining room table in the 17th Century, fools to the love of a woman. A bit of natural selection going on there. Less gloriously, one gent on my mother’s side was shipped to Australia in the early 19th Century as a convict, apparently for stealing a sheep, while yet another, a sometime ship’s cabin boy, jumped ship in Tasmania, found gold on the Victorian goldfields, and started a large farming family, but liked whisky rather too well ….  

The point of all this stuff is that it is a personalized hobby, with the bonus of helping us to learn lots of interesting social history (as opposed to the life and death of dopey kings). The delusions and problems start when you take it too seriously, let historical characters control expectations for the present, or even construct mythologies of race, wrongs to be righted, and glories to be recovered. That is what happens when the politically ambitious get hold of history. Like most countries, Australia has its share of manufactured political history, wheeled out to support this agenda or that. We are not our ancestors. Over more than about three generations, the genetic potentials become so mixed that you might not even recognize your great great grandfather/grandmother. On a larger canvas, race or cultural “purity” is a kind of bad joke. I stumbled upon a report from one Chinese geneticist who tried to trace “the Han race”, and discovered that northern Chinese shared more genetically with Caucasians than they did with southern Chinese. At my birth in 1945, 97% of Australians claimed an English or Irish ancestry. Nowadays that figure is about 67%, and Australia, with more than 200 source nationalities counted amongst its population, is an historical child of so many histories that pretensions of racial or cultural exceptionalism are laughable. Almost as laughable (but telling) as Australia’s current Prime Minister (2014) who has reintroduced English nobility awards in the face of general derision.


2. Illusions about Australia as a place, the environment and sustainability


I love a sunburned country / A land of sweeping plains / Of rugged mountain ranges / Of droughts and flooding rains / I love her far horizons / I love her jewelled sea / Her beauty and her terror / The sunburned land for me. / (Dorothy Mackellar). If my childhood is a special room of memories, Dorothy Mackellar’s little poem is an essential part of the recipe. It was taught in every primary school. There was no cognitive dissonance in knowing that, like 85% of Australia’s population I lived in a suburban street. My family’s brief ventures in the 1950s into the parched moonscape of the Australian landscape beyond the coastal mountains had more to do with recollections of dust, sweat and stinging ants than, um, beauty. But if the poem was a kind of myth, it was one we wanted to believe in. As urban creatures, we needed some validation for squatting on the edge of this unimaginably big, empty lump of earth and claiming it as our own. Nowadays perhaps glossy TV adventure series play for something like the same trick. Now with a large percentage of the population as foreign born immigrants, or their children, I wonder what resonance this earlier sense of the Australian continent has for them. Ironically the main Australian cultural obsession, day to day, seems to be fighting over the price of real estate in a handful of crowded cities around the coast.


3. Illusions about Australia as a people, population, immigration


"larrikin" - a kind of impish anti-hero who acts out a mistrust of authority rooted deep in Australia's national character.[ Matt Siegel in Newsdaily, describing Clive Palmer].  This newspaper definition says a lot about my early enculturation. My father could best be described as a larrikin who, by his own account, in the Sydney of World War II threw all of his army gear out of a train window so he could join his mates playing football in the Air Force, then tiring of that, borrowed a drunk sailor’s discharge papers in order to become a marine commando under an assumed name. They didn’t have computers in those days, things got lost, people got killed, and heck, it was wartime. Snafu, as they used to say (“situation normal, all fucked up). The larrikin ideal is implanted deeply in one stream of Anglo-Irish-Australian culture. After all, the country grew out of a prison colony, and prison governors were definitely not the popular heroes. Our early literature is built around larrikinism, from iconic poets and storytellers like Henry Lawson, Banjo Patterson and CJ Dennis (see the reading list for links). Child of an itinerant carpenter, I grew up on this stuff and still find its values embedded in my psyche.  

A second stream of the national psyche did arise from the more elevated social pretensions of the Governor’s circle, the exiled bad sons of good families (“remittance men”), socially ambitious women, dubious businessmen, and eventually a socially conservative middle class desperate to mark themselves off from the factory workers, labourers and tradesmen who, unlike their British doubles, despised any gesture of respect towards the respectable. It may be that my generation is the last for which these social divisions, and their violation, seem authentic.  

Since 1947 Australian society has exploded into a cornucopia of cultural diversity. Meeting strangers who happen to have an Australian accent, I no longer feel it safe to make any assumptions whatsoever about their attitudes, beliefs, background knowledge or ancestral origins. It leads to interesting encounters, but whereas my father would have had no trouble at all in 1942* in distinguishing an Australian from competing foreigners, I am not sure any more exactly what an Australian is (putting aside the legal blah of official documentation). [* In 1942 300,00 American servicemen overwhelmed the local population of Brisbane where I now live. Brisbane’s population at the time was also 300,00. During the infamous “Battle of Brisbane”, 5000 Australian and American soldiers brawled for two days through the streets of the city. Yeah, it was mostly about who got the girls..]. Just to add to the identity confusion, about a million Australians now work overseas as expatriates (May 2004), while electronic “friendships”, many of them transnational are increasingly ubiquitous (May 2013).  


4. Illusions about what values and beliefs are shared, multiculturalism, equality, opportunity, justice, governance


Stop anyone in the street, in any country, and ask them for a character description of “the people in your country”. They will paint you a picture, a rehearsed stereotype. If you probe a little deeper, ask in a friendly way about people and situations you have actually encountered which seem to contradict the stereotype, then most of your informants will freely admit that first story was a public confection only tenuously related to actual experience. This is interesting, and it is not trivial. The mere fact that almost everyone everywhere can produce this “paint a picture of my culture for a stranger” artefact, suggests that it meets a psychological need for its champions. Perhaps it is part of the need to have some integrated idea of who we are.  

It is not that everyone has the same story to retail, although that may vary with the political environment. The unemployed drifter from Leeds in England might have a different tale to tell from the London banker. Many governments struggle through their education systems to have their populations locked into a common narrative. The outcome is often transparent and derided propaganda,  which your new friend will gleefully undermine when he or she knows you are to be trusted. In all of the tertiary classes I taught in China over five years there was invariably a known Communist Party representative (student) who would deliver weekly reports to the institution’s Party Secretary on everything which had been uttered by the students and by me. All students were also required to attend “Scientific Socialism” courses (Karl Marx would have spun in his grave), which were universally abhorred. That is, they were primed to parrot the Party line of the day. Yet it was not too hard to hear gritty asides on what “old hundred names” (the Chinese term for everyman: laobaixing, 老百姓; lit. "old hundred surnames") really believed, as opposed to the thought police version. We could ask whether “civics classes” in the United States project a similarly dubious narrative about what America is “really like”. For an Australian government version of what the government officially projects to foreigners (or at least did in 2012! Now?) see the readings list below for an entry from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (February 2012). To my eye it looks like a credible summary, but as with all stereotyping, expect your personal experience to colour it in different and contradictory ways.  

In section 3 I suggested that from the earliest times of European settlement in Australia there were two broad public narratives on “what Australia was really like” – the identity story “the battlers” (working class) told themselves, and the story “the nobs and snobs” (privileged and upwardly mobile) told themselves. At the time of my birth in 1945 the Australian population was relatively homogeneous ethnically, so these currents were easy to discern in political parties, education, opportunities, the division of wealth, and the application of laws. There was a dynamic tension in the society, neither side had definitively subdued the other, but everyone understood the terms of the game. Individuals might transgress the divisions, but there was general agreement about what constituted transgression. From gender relations, to employment, to sport, to broad moral questions of life and death, it was possible to talk coherently about a single national community as “Australian”.  

To large numbers of Australians the current national political administration seems weird and destined for a short shelf-life. It is apparently weird not because it is a conservative government. The country has comfortably accommodated numerous conservative governments. People are puzzled and outraged (at least as I understand it) because the current party leadership does not represent the diversity Australians embody in 2014. The current party with its ideological self identification as Anglo-nostalgic “nobs and snobs” serving “the big end of town” (large commercial interests) would have been comprehensible in a pre-World War II environment, although perhaps a caricature even there. Australia in 2014 is an incredible mix of constituencies, cultures, types of enterprise, wealth & poverty patterns, and wildly different ideas of “who we really are”. Governing in the common interest of this mix is challenging to say the least. A proscription and enforcement of “traditional values” (i.e. what somebody thought they learned in a British oriented private school for the privileged 40 years ago), can only produce confusion and resistance. Leadership in this mixed cultural environment needs to demonstrate fairness, empathy, and negotiated goals. I regularly attend a meetup of immigrants and foreign tertiary students newly arrived in Australia. They ask me “what is Australia really like; what makes an Australian?”. I can joke about politicians, well known characters, the habits of this person or that. In the end though, I cannot really tell them what makes an Australian in 2014.  

If thoughtful people are confused about the meaning even of their own national identity, even the most blasé of individuals struggles to understand what “the world” might imply. Is it simply a television creation? A collection of sports matches, or random atrocities, or faintly remembered “history” myths from high school, or the vague origins of a few immigrants we know? Well, at least one industry is devoted to answering this puzzlement with the illusion of manufactured experience. Some of the clearest evidence that we all live in bubbles comes from the tourist industry. The tourist industry is one of the world’s largest employers, and there is hardly a country or a district on the planet where local officials and enterprising business souls are not attempting to sell their local mountain or badly planned street as a special experience for hoped-for, wide-eyed visitors from far places to come and admire at a price. Often these entrepreneurs  are genuine enough in their enthusiasm, partly on the basis of simply not knowing about the zillion other similar places a well-travelled tourist might go to instead.

No matter, when it comes to marketing a tourist experience, two critical words are “unique” and “authentic” (see Groundwater 2014 in the reading list). This is generic advertising bluff of course. The woman who pays $500 for a handbag also wants to hear that it is unique and authentic. We might pity her as deluded, as we notice the countless identical shanzhai (fake) ripoffs from some little factory in China, but she wants to be deluded. Her self-image depends upon it. Likewise, the tourists who cough up thousands of dollars to leave their suburban lives for a short time, also want to believe that they are heading into unique and authentic experience. For them, personally, perhaps it is. That’s OK. But is certainly is not how the locals understand the places they are living in, whether those places are another part of the tourist’s own country, or some more exotic destination. The tourist industry is nevertheless a rather interesting branch of human enterprise.  Cheekily it enters into a kind of conspiracy with complete strangers to assist them in temporarily creating illusions or simulations of places, artefacts and people who are interestingly different from their daily experience. (Those inclined to irony might observe that the enterprise of religion, by contrast, attempts to engage people on a permanent basis with exotic illusions to coexist with their daily mundane lives.)

Australians, being relatively wealthy as a population, are avid international tourists, but often hate the “tourist” label. That is, they may have a taste for “authentic” experience, meaning that they are apt to distinguish themselves as “travellers” as distinct from the group travel turkeys who are herded en-masse from place to place in convoys of air-conditioned buses. Perhaps we should just say that the opacity and size of the bubbles we live in is a rather personal choice. I spent almost a quarter of a century in my adult life living outside of Australia. The places I visited, and the places I worked in, had an entirely different meaning for me both as a tourist and as an expatriate, than they had for local people. I had a passport and could leave at any time. Was my experience of China, or South Korea, or the Pacific Islands … etc. authentic? The sights and sounds and people I lived amongst were certainly not those of a suburban Sydney street. While I was forever a foreigner, for me personally the life I lived was “authentic”. I was not trying to be someone I was not (though that might be fun sometimes). I joke that I am a citizen of the world, a spiritual state only marginally less authentic to an inveterate outsider as the tax-paying citizenship required to obtain a library borrowing card from Brisbane city library.


5. Illusions about relationships between the individual and the state, privacy, obligation & compulsion


6. Illusions about the independence of mass media, critical journalism, influence on public thinking


7. Illusions about the Australian economy, consumption and standard of living, industries & services


8. Illusions about work and careers, underemployment, welfare, retirement


9. Illusions about real estate, investment, personal savings & debt, personal financial planning


10. Illusions about education, teaching and learning, the nature of knowledge, functional literacy in reading, math & statistics (especially risk evaluation), IT & search skills, critical thinking, initiative & self-help


11. Illusions about science & technology, magic, uncertainty & risk


12. Illusions about health, psychology, body management, diet, fitness and ageing


13. Illusions about personal relationships, gender, friendship & acquaintance


14. Illusions about relaxation, entertainment, participation & spectator roles


15. Illusions about Australia’s self-reliance, creativity & innovation


16. Illusions about the rest of the world, travel & tourism, international relations, foreign aid, trade, national security, conflict, friends and frenemies


17. Illusions about the future, stability Vs change, the built environment & nature



References (note that the writers in these links are expressing their own views. We don't necessarily share them)


Anonymous (n.d.) "Australian Myths; Fact or Fable?". Convictcreations.com website, online @ http://www.convictcreations.com/research/myths.html

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (February 2012) “People, Culture & Lifestyle”. [recommended for some basic statistics and a quick introduction to the official (2012) narrative of what Australian culture is about]. DFAT website online @ http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/people_culture.html

Dennis, C.J. (1915) "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke". Reprint of the original Angus & Robertson Ltd edition online @ http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/denniscj/sbloke/sbloke.html

Davidson, Sinclair (2012) "The 'mining boom' myth". IPA REVIEW ARTICLE online @ https://www.ipa.org.au/publications/1649/the-%27mining-boom%27-myth/pg/2

Field, Topher (April 8, 2014) "The Dangerous Illusion". The American Thinker website, online @ http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/04/the_dangerous_illusion.html

Findlay, Rosie (27 October 2013) "More to fashion than meets the eye". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/search?date=all&date_from=&date_to=&page=4&q=illusion&sort=relevancy&type=all

Four Wheel Drive Australia (2013) "Myths and Facts". Four Wheel Drive Australia Council website, online @ http://www.anfwdc.asn.au/myths_facts.php

Goldrick, James(2 November 2012) "To defend Australia, we must defend the sea". The Interpreter website, online @ http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2012/11/02/To-defend-Australia-we-must-defend-the-sea.aspx

Groucher, Gwilym (18 February 2014) "Good, Bad and Ugly: Public perceptions of Australian universities". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/good-bad-and-ugly-public-perceptions-of-australian-universities-23318

Groundwater, Ben (June 6, 2012) "What do foreigners really think of Australia?". Sydney Morning Herald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/travel/blogs/the-backpacker/what-do-foreigners-really-think-of-australia-20120605-1ztxo.html

Groundwater, Ben (July 30, 2014) "Authentic? Tourists, you're kidding yourselves". http://www.smh.com.au/travel/authentic-tourists-youre-kidding-yourselves-20140730-3csz6.html#ixzz3908sb2kH

Hodgkinson, David (10 November 2012) "The Australian Government, Kyoto and the illusion of progress". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/the-australian-government-kyoto-and-the-illusion-of-progress-10631

Hogue, Cavan (20 July, 2005) "Does Australia have a National Identity?". CPD Centre for Policy Development website, online @ http://cpd.org.au/2005/07/does-australia-have-a-national-identity/

Howcroft, Russel(July 17, 2012) "Australians are not helpful or trustworthy, foreign travellers say". News Ltd. website, online @ http://www.news.com.au/travel/australian-holidays/australians-are-not-helpful-or-trustworthy-foreign-travellers-say/story-e6frfq89-1226427567188

Hutchens, Gareth (July 12, 2014) "Economists reject Abbott crisis claims". Sydney Morning Herald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/economists-reject-abbott-crisis-claims-20140711-3bsh9.html#ixzz37Eh1Y7lB

Janda, Michael (15 Jan 2014) "Home buyer beware: the illusion of affordability". The Drum website, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, online @ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-15/janda-the-illusion-of-housing-affordability/5200706

Kellaway, Carlotta (1953) ""White Australia"—How Politicai Reality Became National Myth". The Australian Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 2 (June, 1953), pp. 7-17. Published by: Australian Institute of Policy and Science. Jstor scan online @ http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/41319191?uid=3737536&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21103969794041

Kelley, Laura and Jennifer Kelley (21 March 2014) "Animals could help reveal why humans fall for illusions". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/animals-could-help-reveal-why-humans-fall-for-illusions-23957

Knightley, Phillip (April 2002) "What is Australia? Perception versus Reality". Papers on Parliament No. 38, Parliament of Australia, online @ http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Senate/Research_and_Education/~/~/link.aspx?_id=F2F97AB90F3E4F73B34ECF5DEE568DFF&_z=z

Langton, Marcia "Beyond the Myths". Reconciliation Australia website, online @ http://www.shareourpride.org.au/sections/beyond-the-myths/

Lawson, Henry (1892) "The Drover's Wife". Readbookonline edition online @ http://www.readbookonline.net/readOnLine/12053/

May, Thor (1984) "The Price of Freedom ..the true story of a Vietnamese military officer's escape from Vietnam, and its aftermath". Online @ https://www.academia.edu/2430900/The_Price_of_Freedom_..the_true_story_of_a_Vietnamese_military_officers_escape_from_Vietnam_and_its_aftermath

May, Thor (2000) "Seventeen in 1962". The Passionate Skeptic website, online @ http://thormay.net/literature/timepassing/hidingeyes.html

May, Thor (2001) "Individualism or the Group?". Online @ https://www.academia.edu/2333623/Individualism_or_the_Group

May, Thor (2004) "Inquiry into the Status of Australian Expatriates". Submission to the Senate of the Australian Parliament, Inquiry into the Status of Australian Expatriates, online @ https://www.academia.edu/1830250/Inquiry_into_the_Status_of_Australian_Expatriates and also at http://www.aph.gov.au/senate/committee/legcon_ctte/expats03/submissions/sub437.pdf2

May, Thor (2013) "The 541st Facebook Friend ". The Passionate Skeptic website, online @ http://thormay.net/literature/timepassing/FacebookFriend.html

May, Thor (2014) "How Can We Treat Refugees Humanely? – An Australian Perspective". Online @ https://www.academia.edu/6051758/How_Can_We_Treat_Refugees_Humanely_-_An_Australian_Perspective

Michael, Erin (September 16, 2011) "Cultural icons like Crocodile Dundee and Neighbours warp world's perception of Australians into 'dumb blondes''. Courier Mail, online @ http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/dumb-blonde-oz-seen-as-la-la-land/story-e6freoox-1226138154262?nk=02c11044be8af268d364cd532cfe2264

News Ltd(April 09, 2014) "Common myths about Australian icons". News Ltd website, online @ http://www.news.com.au/finance/business/common-myths-about-australian-icons/story-fnkgdftz-1226811336563

Nichols, David (8 June 2011) "The Boom: They’re cashed up alright. But are they really bogans?". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/the-boom-theyre-cashed-up-alright-but-are-they-really-bogans-1551

Patterson, Andrew Barton 'Banjo' (1890) "The Man From Snowy River". Poet's Corner version online @ http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/pater01.html

Patterson, Andrew Barton 'Banjo' (1892) "The Man from Ironbark". Middlemiss website, online @ http://www.middlemiss.org/lit/authors/patersonab/poetry/ironbark.html

Refugee Council of Australia (May 2014) "Hoax E-mails". Refugee Council of Australia website, online @ http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/f/myth-email.php

Reynolds, Henry and Marilyn Lake (April 3, 201) "Myth over what matters". Sydney Morning Herald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/national/myth-over-what-matters-20100402-rjy8.html#ixzz37EzSoa3L

Richardson, Jeff (12 May 2014) "Australia’s ‘unsustainable’ health spending is a myth". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/australias-unsustainable-health-spending-is-a-myth-26393

Robb, James (April 10, 2014) "National myth-making – and a new antidote". A Communist at Large website, online @ http://convincingreasons.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/national-myth-making-and-a-new-antidote/

Rouffet, David and Hans Westerbeek (21 January 2013) "Lance Armstrong, doping and the illusion of control". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/lance-armstrong-doping-and-the-illusion-of-control-11680

ryanintheus (February 24, 2013) "The World’s (Funny As Hell) Perceptions About Australia!". ryanintheus blog, online @ http://ryanintheus.com/the-worlds-funny-as-hell-perceptions-about-australia/

Skelley, Jemima (March 26, 2014) "88 Crazy Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Australia". Buzzfeed website, online @ http://www.buzzfeed.com/jemimaskelley/facts-about-australia

Stephens, Kim (July 12, 2014) "Tony Abbott tells LNP he is 'rescuing our country'". Brisbane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/tony-abbott-tells-lnp-he-is-rescuing-our-country-20140712-zt5jd.html

Taylor, Lenore (Saturday 31 August 2013) "Rising cost of living 'just an illusion'. The Guardian (Australia), online @ http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/30/household-bills-australia-wages-rising

Unconventional Economist (April 22, 2014) "High immigration is creating an illusion of growth". Macrobusiness website, online @ http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/04/high-immigration-is-creating-an-illusion-of-growth/

Unconventional Economist (July 9, 2014) "A nation of stressed-out fatties". Macrobusiness website, online @ http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2014/07/a-nation-of-stressed-out-fatties/

Wikipedia (2014) "Battle of Brisbane". Wikipedia online @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Brisbane

Wikipedia (2014) "National Myth". Wikipedia online @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_myth

Willis, Karen and Kirsten Harley (7 February 2013) "Private health insurance and the illusion of choice". The Conversation website, online @ http://theconversation.com/private-health-insurance-and-the-illusion-of-choice-10985

Wright, Tony (July 10, 2014) "The emperor in the check shirt, Clive Palmer makes Tony Abbott wait". Sydney Morning Herald, online @ http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/the-emperor-in-the-check-shirt-clive-palmer-makes-tony-abbott-wait-20140710-3bpq7.html#ixzz3792nXgIQhttp://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/the-emperor-in-the-check-shirt-clive-palmer-makes-tony-abbott-wait-20140710-3bpq7.html#ixzz3792nXgIQ

Yeates, Clancy (July 18, 2014) "Richer rich bad news for us all". Brisbane Times online @ http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/money/planning/richer-rich-bad-news-for-us-all-20140710-zt0gl.html



What are some illusions Australians live by? (c) Thor May 2014


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