A Pair of Budgie Smugglers

One thing a Yankeewombat can do after being 30 years resident in the Land of the Long Weekend is to discuss the ongoing delight of Australian working class humour. The upcoming Australia Day holiday – the 26th – is a government invented, government imposed, national holiday that is roughly supposed to serve the same function as the 4th of July in the US. Just how unseriously Australians take Australia Day is amply demonstrated by the Australia Day lamb commercials put out by MLA (Meat and Livestock Australia). If you are not Australian you will find a bit of background in this report in The Australian about the ad itself and the protests to it by the politically correct. Fair warning: its an absolute necessity for the non Australian viewer.
You can view the ad itself here.


  • Australian model Schapelle Corby got done at the Bali airport with a large amount of pot in her bag. She got 15 years and was lucky not to be executed.
  • Middle stump – you don’t have to understand anything about cricket to work this one out.
  • Pair of budgie smugglers = Those slightly homoerotic Speedo bathing trunks. Still don’t get it? Budgies are parakeets

All of which demonstrates that Australians ‘construct’ patriotism differently than Americans and a lot of other places too – at least on Australia day. Significantly the Australian national anthem – Advance Australia Fair – is playing in the background of the ad. That anthem was imposed by government too and many Australians aren’t entirely happy with it and feel that Waltzing Matilda should be the national anthem. In the 2005 version of Kekovich’s lamb commercial (The actual link is further down the same page as the 2006 version) he even refers to Waltzing Matilda as the ‘national song’. More than in most countries there is a strong and overt split between the official national culture and the real deal. The real deal is a bit rough but it is honest and robust. I think America is quite a different place and this irreverent layer of culture manifests itself more in things like South Park.
So, do Australian’s ever take their national identity seriously? On Anzac Day (April 25) it is serious because the true core of Australian national identity was formed at Gallipoli. That long battle, which was a terrible and bloody defeat, touched the great majority of Australian families. The honor rolls in small country towns contain the the names of many brothers who lost their lives at Gallipoli. I mean two or three pairs of brothers, and sometimes three brothers, from a town that is big enough to have a bank or two. The key to understanding that feeling of national identity is that Australians felt betrayed by being used as disposable colonial troops by the mother country. All this is made abundantly clear in the 1981 Australian film Gallipoli which is still worth a watch. A lot of Australian anti Americanism is anti colonialism arising from the Anzac experience. WW2 produced an generally positive view of America, but Vietnam reopened the Gallipoli wound. Current opposition to Australian involvement in Iraq is a direct result of this aspect of Australian national identity. Needless to say the outcome in Iraq – whatever it is – will strongly effect the future of anti American feeling in Australia.

3 Responses to “A Pair of Budgie Smugglers”  

  1. 1 Ian


    Budgie smugglers = a bra? No.

    The term budgie smugglers refer to speedos, dick togs, or whatever else you like to call them. I think somebody’s been having you on!


  2. 2 admin

    Well Ian you sound sure and I had myself on I’m afraid. I can’t remembering specifically hearing the experession before but it has the familiarty of the half heard. I took the reference to be to a bra from the way Kekovitch said “I’d rather you didn’t” – sounded like a reference to drunken cross dressing plkus there was that pained look on his face. As I thought about your comment I realized that bras, illogically enough, don’t come in pairs, and speedos certainly do. Thanks.

  1. 1 Yankee Wombat | An American in Oz

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