As we have amply discussed here at this salon of civic discourse, the bogan is fiercely proud to be Australian. It is wracked with patriotic quiverings whenever Australia’s history is mentioned. It is like the proverbial horny bull at a rusty gate when making a spectacle of its ‘patriotism’ – whether on its car or on its skin. It fully supports any initiative to keep the country’s borders safe from outsiders. The bogan wants foreigners to know that Australia is bogan country, and any prospective Australian should become a bogan themselves if they expect to be welcomed – otherwise, they should simply ‘go home’.
The bogan believes it possesses all qualities unique to Australians, and has appointed itself both gatekeeper and keymaster to the thrice-locked security locker of boganic Australianness. The existence of indigenous Australians, however, throws a distinctly obstinate spanner into the works of this line of thinking. Whenever a bogan uses the apparently water-tight “I was here first” logic to engender in itself a snugly fitting sense of unchallenged entitlement to the country, a distant but unshakable feeling of self-doubt is stimulated. When this feeling gets too much for the bogan, it reminds itself that it likes Ernie Dingo.
Like many Aboriginal people who are elite athletes or media personalities, Ernie Dingo is embraced with enthusiasm by bogans as the smiley, clean cut face of Aboriginal Australia. In his TV journeys into the outback, Ernie allows the bogan to see the country it is so proud of, witness some maxtreme four wheel driving and perhaps a spot of fishing. It desirously gazes at sumptuous food and luxury accommodation, and chuckles at the assorted on-road hijinks, without, of course, having to leave the couch. More comforting still for the bogan, engagement with the local population is kept to a minimum, and when it does occur, it is at the depth one might expect to accidentally plumb whilst on a Contiki Tour of Thailand.
The bogan’s take on the situation is similar to the bogan’s take on most politically charged topics – simplistic and ill-informed, yet held onto with the white-knuckled grip of the truly terrified. When quizzed on Aboriginal disadvantage, the bogan will take a massive swig on its sixth massive can of Woodstock, and tell you everything would be perfectly fine for Indigenous Australians if they only “got off the booze”. It will tell you Aboriginals get an unfair share of government handouts, yet remain vigilant for opportunities to rort workers’ compensation schemes, and vociferously decry any attempt to reduce indigenous poverty or increase lifespans as “political correctness gone mad”. The bogan is, however, happy to be pro-Aboriginal when it comes to Ernie Dingo, who delivers it sharp pangs of patriotic pride, mixed with pleasant, light-hearted, unchallenging entertainment. Just as the bogan is happy to take ownership of any Indigenous athlete who earns a gold medal or Premiership trophy. The bogan does a similar thing with New Zealand actors and, at times, homosexuals of note, but is quick to switch around when they fall out of favour, and toss them on the scrapheap of fame.