The perennial values debate has reignited once more, with Federal Education minister Brendan Nelson suggesting that people unwilling to accept Australian values should "clear off". But what are "Australian values"? What does it mean to be Australian? Always keen to discover the pulse of the people, should it exist at all, Sterne headed into the streets to chat with the great unwashed. Here's what they had to say:
Kate, 16, student
I'm not afraid to say that I love Australia. I mean, we've got Andrew G, and he is like so much hotter than Ryan Seacrest! And we get TV and music and shit from like all over the world, from both England and America, so we have a really good mix of cultures. Like, you can be watching CSI: Delaware and then a minute later you're watching something British on Channel Ten, like have you seen I'm a Celebrity So Smash My Face In? It's so awesome and it just makes me feel so cultural, you know? I think it would be good to learn Australian values in school. I totally support teaching Muslims about Simpson's donkey. The only thing is we shouldn't stop with their donkey. Like, remember that time they had an elephant called Stampy? Now that was good value!
Bryce, 35, businessman
Australia's business is business, and you don't succeed in business without possessing the right values. Take mateship, for example. My mates are like my family. I watch out for them, comfort and support them, help them to grow. Then, when they least expect it, I stick the knife in and take them for everything they've got. And they're still my mates! To me, mateship means never having to say you're sorry. That why the Abbos are all wrong with this crap about their being "invaded" or whatever. 1788 was a corporate takeover. Nothing personal, so why can't we all be mates? Let's sit down, I'll buy you a beer - or a sniff of petrol, if you prefer - and we can all get on with our lives.
Barry, 66, Vietnam veteran
I didn't fight Jane Fonda back in 1972 just so Australia could be turned into an Islamo-fascist state. No, I fought the bitch to stop her making movies! Did you ever see Barbarella? What the fuck was that all about? And now here she is, back again with Monster-In-Law! We sacrificed our lives in 'Nam, but sometimes I wonder why we bothered. Did I watch my best friend dying face down in a Playboy Playmate at the USO show for nothing? What's wrong with good Australian movies, like The Man From Snowy River, or that thing with Paul Hogan as an angel? Saw that with me missus a while ago. Laugh? The fuckin' steel plate in my head was ringing for days afterwards! Gah, the whole place has gone to hell!
Jenae, 32, mother of three
The problem with Muslims is they hate our freedom. Because they all have to wear headscarves and commit hari kari if they're dishonoured, they think the rest of us should too. My Paul has one in his class at school. He's a little dark boy, wears a hooja or whatever they're called. I won't let Paulie go anywhere near the bugger. I want my kids to grow up with real Australian values, like tolerance and respect. Fuckin' towel-heads wouldn't understand tolerance and respect if it bit them on the bum, if you'll excuse my French.
Kenneth, 43, country and western singer
What does it mean to be Australian? It's one of those things that is hard to put your finger on, but I think John Williamson came pretty close with his song "True Blue". If I remember correctly, it goes something like this:
I've had other guys
I've looked into their eyes
But I never knew love before
'Til you walked through my door
I've had other lips
I've sailed a thousand ships
But no matter where I go
You're the one for me baby this I know, 'cause it's
You're the one I'm dreaming of
Your heart fits me like a glove
And I'm gonna be true blue, baby I love you
That song always gets me, right in the ticker. God, what a country!