OPINION

Mate, the news is out - we're a pack of flaming galahs

Mate, the news is out: we're a pack of galahs

Let's face it, Australia is known as the land of big things and weird animals. You can't even go to Bunnings at Ballina without being confronted by a giant prawn, and a parfait at the Big Pineapple was the pinnacle of perfection when we were kids.

There are people who trek from one big thing to another, collecting selfies at the Giant Jumping Crocodile at Wak Wak in the Northern Territory, the Big Barrel at Bundaberg, and the Big Easel in Emerald.

For Aussies, bigger is better. And like it or lump it, our wildlife is a bit out there too.

Who has a fluffy, swimming mammal with webbed feet and a bill, no feathers and who lays eggs? We do! It's a platypus. What about the kangaroo? A jumping triangle that carries its baby in a pocket in its pants?

Meanwhile, our favourite native bird can laugh up a storm.

Then there's the emu...

Animals have a bit of an aura about them. Puppies are adorable, swans are elegant, spiders are icky and rats are revolting.

And emus? Well, they are quizzical, and slightly threatening.

They definitely fit our weird national profile.

However, much as we love a good yarn at the expense of ourselves, things can go a bit too far.

When a national current affair show - no clues for guessing - serves up a story about waiting for an emu to poop out a silver earring, you have to wonder what the world is coming to. Bert, the 1.5m emu, has found himself catapulted into the spotlight when, like the rest of us, he just fancied something shiny. Fair dinkum.

No wonder the rest of the world thinks that we're a pack of galahs who are all living in Woop Woop.

In all seriousness, what the flaming heck is happening?

I'm old enough to remember the golden days of 60 Minutes and Four Corners. Back in those days, young reporters didn't chase small-time fraudsters and people whose dogs barked too loudly down the street in their cuffed pants and white sandshoes. They might have sported sky-high 80s hair and shoulder pads, but the news was real, and the impact was real.

I've long ago switched off the world of neighbourhood disputes, families fighting over lotto tickets and dodgy builders.

But somehow, this one about the emu just got my goat.

Welcome to Australia, where current affairs and Tik Tok are one and the same.

Marie Low is a freelance journalist living the other side of the black stump, Australia.

This story Mate, the news is out: we're a pack of galahs first appeared on The Canberra Times.