Thursday, December 28, 2006

HUMOUR: New Auslandia? Too right ...

I know we Aussies have always regarded our cousins across the Tasman as ever-so-polite. We've always presumed that behind all that haka bravado lies a nation of SNAKs (Sensitive New Age Kiwis) renowned for being so laidback they're horizontal.

And now a bi-partisan Australian Parliamentary Committee has recommended that Australia and New Zealand consider merging into one country. Seriously.

Now before you throw off your SNAK veneer and exclaim in unison three words beginning with the letters w, t and f respectively, consider this.

A merger might be just what us wild West Islanders need. Things haven't been going well for us in recent times. I'm sure newly elected Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd wouldn't knock back some of Helen Clark's political luck.

Maybe Aunty Hilun could take over and lead the ALP to victory against the hitherto invincible Howard.

I doubt whether a Kiwistani agricultural board would have been caught out paying secret bribes to Saddam Hussein.

And the way things are going, Aussie tourism advertisements have been consigned to the deepest depths of bloody hell.

Let's be honest. There are plenty of examples of Australia and New Zealand having close cultural ties. Fair-dinkum, true-blue Aussie musicians like the Finn brothers and Russell Crowe love touring Kiwistan at every available opportunity. Rumours surfacing in pubs across Bondi have it that they may have even purchased property there.

We Aussies could also do with Kiwis running our beaches. I doubt there'd be race riots at Cronulla if the place was inundated with SNAKs sharing fush'n'chups with the locals. Certainly we'd have fewer shark fatalities if we had Kiwis patrolling our coasts.

Aussie sport isn't the best either, notwithstanding the Ashes. The last time I appeared on TVNZ I made sure I wore my Wallabies jersey. But I'll be the first to admit our rugby players aren't all that crash-hot with traditional war dances or tackling All Blacks.

On the positive side, there is plenty the Kiwis could learn from us.

There's no doubt our journalists compensate for our rugby players in the tackling department. One of Rupert Murdoch's scribes decided to practise his tackling skills at the otherwise sleepy annual Walkley awards.

And mentioning Murdoch brings me to another reason why you Kiwistanis should favourably consider an Australian merger proposal: imagine having virtually each and every newspaper editorial and columnist calling for Helen Clark to send Kiwi troops to Iraq (or whichever hot spot the Americans target next for "regime change").

The LACA parliamentary committee wants the Australian Parliament to invite the New Zealand Parliament to establish a committee to work towards harmonisation of our legal systems.

It then makes this incisive observation:

The merger of Australia and New Zealand or the progression to a unitary system of government in Australia, however desirable, might not be easy to achieve.

You don't say? But the report gets better.

Australia and New Zealand should also consider introducing a common currency.

I think this makes perfect cents.

Every time I cross the Tasman, the shrapnel situation confuses the hell out of me. Why? Because for some weird reason, our $2 coin is smaller than our $1 coin, but with the Kiwis it's the other way around.

Clearly, our countries have so much in common already - sharing a currency is but a small step.

And so I urge my fellow Aussies to support this grand crosstasman merger project. Let's extend the Sydney Harbour Bridge eastward. Let's build a light rail to Auckland.

Let us join with you, our Kiwistani cousins, to create the world's first South Pacific superpower.

And if you are still reluctant, let me remind you of the words of your former tribal chief Robert "Piggy" Muldoon and increase the collective IQs of both our nations.

* Irfan Yusuf is a Sydney lawyer. A version of this article was first published in New Matilda. The version reproduced on this blog first appeared in the New Zealand Herald on 19 December 2006.