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Letter 45: ‘Enough With That Desolate, Overheated Outback stuff.’

Letter 45: ‘Enough With That Desolate, Overheated Outback stuff.’


Below are a few of my favorites pitches — both serious and playful — followed by our weekly roundup and a recommendation for a photo festival we’re working with that’s eager for quality entries.

Share the word. Share your Australia Diary anecdotes. And, of course, share (and sign-up for) this newsletter.

Feedback? Find us at nytaustralia@nytimes.com and in our NYT Australia Facebook group.

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Tassie Time

Enough with that desolate, overheated Outback stuff.

Australian mainlanders and foreign outlanders alike need to know there is a place down here that, despite being wild and dangerous, has four seasons, charmingly spread across 12 months.

The new Dundee should be a feature-length version of “Rosehaven.” The Luke McGregor character doesn’t carry a knife but he can still charm the leg off an iron pot.

Even the NYT called “Rosehaven” charming — not a word usually applied to anything Oz. And if you feel the need to put a Hemsworth in it, Chris would be an excellent ghost of Errol Flynn, roaming the streets of his Tasmanian childhood.

— Sheila Allison

An Aussie Battler

Wind the clock forward. He or she can be a small business person, who does an enjoyable and authentic job, up against a multinational corporation.

A David and Goliath story, or as Australians would think of it; a little battler does good story.

Something heartwarming. Characters you can relate to and really get to like, but not quite sophisticated. Street smart, but honest street smart. Hard working, believes he or she can mix it up with the big players. Has a lot of front, but not brash.

Maybe the character is a bit like a Federation house – all grand frontage that leads to a lean-to at the back. Doesn’t want to rule the world, but wants a fair share.

Of course, our politicians can get involved, but based upon their antics over the last couple of years they would be uncouth. I’d even give a cameo to the locked filing cabinet. I’d call it the Cabinet’s cabinet after Major Major of Catch 22.

Would the battler win? Of course. Not in the courts, but with daring do.

For the cast, it is hard to go past Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe.

— Mark Thomas

‘Croc Dundee,’ Feminists First

It should be a girl.

Margot Robbie has inherited her dad’s bar in Alice Springs. She operates with a no-nonsense style, making it a draw for tourists and locals alike.

One night she has to remove an unruly customer, which a patron videos and posts to the Internet.

She becomes a viral sensation, and soon a crew from the New York Times comes calling.

When they get to the bar, she is the real thing, and they want her to come to the States to appear in a reality TV show, “Croc Dundee, the Woman”

She reluctantly gives it a try, and is a “fish out of water” in Brooklyn, where she can’t understand the appeal of $5 cups of coffee and over-priced meals. After she encounters a bigot berating an Aboriginal (somehow one of them made it to NYC), she gives him a thrashing which is recorded by a “man on the street” with an iPhone, but this time she grabs it from the man and smashes it, saying “one viral video in a lifetime is enough.”

She packs it up and heads back to Alice Springs, where her portrait is painted for inclusion in the museum at Canberra, and she meets up with an male mate from grade school. (second grade).

Their children’s romance is rekindled and they operate the bar which is now a tourist mecca, featuring the “New York Strip Steak, cooked Brooklyn style.

They have a YouTube channel and post videos of famous people who drop by.

— Kirby Franklin Warnock

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Watching While You Run

Photo



The autonomous (Orwellian?) drone, in action.

Credit
Laura Morton for The New York Times

The autonomous “selfie drone” that will follow you and film you is finally here.

As someone who both loves technology but hates seeing and hearing drones hovering over some of Australia’s most beautiful coastal walks, I’m not sure how to feel about this.

Neither is our tech columnist, Farhad Manjoo.

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Olympics!

Photo



Tyler George bought his Skechers at a shopping mall in Duluth, Minn., eight years ago. He might win a gold medal in them.

Credit
Ian Willms for The New York Times

Are you watching the Olympics? Our complete coverage can be found on our 2018 Olympics page.

But if you only read one story, or if you’re just looking for something playful and less than purely jingoistic or celebratory, don’t miss this feature on one athlete’s ridiculous and revolting shoes.

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The Aussie-Israeli Connection

Photo



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.

Credit
Pool photo by Ronen Zvulun

The Israeli police recommended on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu be charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust, in a scandal that has ties to Australia’s own James Packer.

According to the police, expensive cigars, jewelry and pink champagne flowed into the prime minister’s official Jerusalem residence in quantities sufficient to stock a small cocktail lounge — and Mr. Packer was one of the patrons.

Read our colleagues’ take from Jerusalem.

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Australia and Beyond

Photo



Barnaby Joyce, deputy prime minister of Australia, at a parliament session last year.

Credit
Lukas Coch/European Pressphoto Agency

An Affair Puts Spotlight on Australia’s Crony Culture: Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is fighting for his political life, and Canberra’s cozy, clubby ways are looking increasingly inappropriate. (International)

Is Australia’s Media Too Prudish for a Sex Scandal? Australia’s married deputy prime minister is having a child with a former staff member. The country’s media have been strangely reluctant to cover it. (Opinion)

Who Is Harry Harris, Trump’s Pick for Ambassador to Australia? Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., the commander of the United States Pacific Command, is a vocal critic of China’s military expansion in the region. (International)

Even Australia’s Medical Marijuana Poster Boy Can’t Get the Drug: Though legal in Australia, medical marijuana is difficult to obtain. One teenager, Lindsay Carter, has become the face of the issue. (International)

Missing a Blue-Tongued Friend: A reader discovers her husband had a loyal companion while tending to his garden. (Australia Diary)

Their First Adventures Began on a Slow Bus: Two very different travelers find their way to love, with sojourns in Australia, the United States and Latin America. (Weddings)

At New Zealand Trail Huts, Shelter, Conversation and Community: Sometimes there’s solitude. Other times, lively discussions with new friends. And at every stop in the hut system there’s the Intentions Book. It’s must-reading. (Travel)

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…And We Recommend

Continue reading the main story


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