The phrase UnAustralian has long resonated deeply with the bogan. The bogan knows that it is Australian; indeed, the best kind of Australian. Anyone who disagrees with things the bogan likes is therefore not Australian. QED. However, something has occurred this week that gives us pause, as we consider the possible death of one of the classic bogan-baiting calls of all time. This is kind of like when Liberace died.
Much has been made of the success (and phenomenal ROI) of the mining companies’ campaign against the MRRT, or RSPT, or GREAT BIG ROCK TAX (GBRT) of late, as for a piddling investment of about $22 million, the likes of Rio Tinto, BHP, and Xstrata managed to put the kybosh on a tax that would have cost them as much as $100 billion. Such a meagre investment was all that was required to convince sufficient bogans that their well-being, their incomes, their VERY WAY OF LIFE was at threat because the government sought to tax the extraction of goods that were technically part bogan-owned in the first place.
Do the maths, because the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) certainly have. In other words, Woolworths have. Woolies, who own 75% of the ALH and over 10,000 pokie machines nationally, are ready to take their case to the bogan. They have witnessed the value for money on offer in convincing bogans to act against their own interests, and, in tandem with the Australian Hotels Association (AHA), are ready to punch out a $20 million propaganda campaign to convince the bogan that its happiness and well-being are conditional upon allowing large corporations to run armies of one-arm bandits. Because, like all canny operators in a bogan-facing sector, Woolies have learned that to gamble on the bogan’s stupidity is to make a sure bet.
When the bogan is off capitalising on its $1 litre of milk, it will not pause to consider that this is being subsidised by its grandmother in Armidale, who is tossing the fortnightly pension cheque at Woolworths’ 10,000 machines. Such is the callous ability of the bogan to selectively ignore causality and dwell in the fleeting present. The same callousness is however visibly absent when it is faced with the possibility of having to pay $1 more for a pot of beer so that 300,000 people have a significantly reduced chance of blowing their life savings into a slot attached to a shiny box.
While the likes of Nick Xenophon (that wog bloke) and Andrew Wilkie (that weather bloke) have attempted to combat the situation with facts and common sense, the bogan cares not. After all, they are nothing but greedy politicians looking to curry favour from people that are not bogans. Despite its reasoning faculties being significantly truncated, it knows that there are more bogans than non-bogans which means that it can get pretty much anything that it wants. Even if it means condoning a crippling social malaise that has irreparably damaged tens of thousands of households in its own neighbourhood. What is far more important is its God given right to cheap dairy and beer.
One of the bogan’s true strengths is its ability to tactically ignore facts when those facts are inconvenient to it achieving the requisite amount of awesome, and nowhere is this more pronounced than when gambling. The (Un)Productivity Commission recently declared that 1 per cent of the country’s adult population (130,000 people) are estimated to have severe problems with gambling, while an additional 160,000 adults are estimated to have moderate problems. To the bogan this can only mean one thing. That 290,000 gamblers lost that day, 130,000 of them, the whole dole cheque.