Saturday, September 08, 2007

Australia's true colours

My deepest concern is that the Driza-Bones handed out to the visiting APEC leaders on Saturday might actually represent the spirit of Australia.

Back more than 40 or more years ago Australia had an important design decision to make.

We had to create a new currency - $1, $2, $5, $10 and $20 paper notes that would say something about what Australia in the 1960’s was and what we hoped it would be.

The notes were bold, garish, incredibly bright and unlike those of virtually any other nation...

They said that we were positive, straightforward, with faith in the bounty of the future.

A few decades on in the early 90s the designs had to be replaced by ones suited to new plastic notes.

The replacements chosen said we were pastel people – muted, trying not to offend. We don’t feel proud to carry them in our pockets.

The Driza-Bones given to George Bush et al yesterday are like that as well. They are certainly not offensive. They are muted; with only apologetic slabs of colour.

My fear is that by saying nothing much, the costumes in fact say a lot about us and about how we now see our place in the world.