Australia is governed by a parliament who legislate like ‘strict but loving parents’ and inhabited by people with no concept of distance, a British expat living in Queensland has claimed.
In a series of TikTok videos titled ‘Things they should tell you before moving to Australia’, comedy writer Jordana Milward discusses the unusual quirks she has noticed since relocating from London to Brisbane.
Because the country is so vast, the 34-year-old said people have little concept of distance and are more than willing to travel hundreds of kilometres for low-key outings like coffee with a friend.
Ms Milward said she finds it ‘weird’ how rigidly Australians abide by the law, having grown up in a nation where authority is taken less seriously, and likened Prime Minister Scott Morrison‘s government to ‘your strict but loving parents’.
British comedy writer Jordana Milward (pictured on Mount Tamborine, southeast Queensland) feels Australians have little concept of distance because their country is so vast
No concept of distance
Ms Milward recalled feeling excited after a friend invited her to the beach – only to discover it was more than three hours’ drive away.
Travelling such a distance in the UK would require considerable forward planning, she said, from turning off switches to packing food and leaving her phone number pinned to the fridge for family to contact in case of emergency.
‘Australia is so big, [so] distance is not a thing that worries people,’ Ms Milward said.
‘Just going to the next town could be hundreds of kilometres, and there’s no street lamps in between them!’
Ms Milward encouraged fellow expats to embrace the epic journeys and accept invitations to far flung destinations if they want to experience the Aussie way of life.
‘To be Australian, it’s not just about having citizenship – it’s a state of mind,’ she said.
‘So if someone asks if you want to go to the beach, you just reply with this: Four hours away? Too easy.’
Ms Milward likened the Australian government to well-meaning parents who hold citizens to account for minor infractions far more than British authorities.
Citing COVID-19 social distancing laws as an example, Ms Milward argued that Britons simply ‘don’t fear’ penalties from police or Westminster parliament because official instructions are issued in a suggestive rather than a directive manner.
But in Australia, she noticed the vast majority abide by the rules because of the government’s uncompromising stance that ‘actions have consequences’.
The 34-year-old (pictured at Kangaroo Point in Brisbane on May 30, 2020) debunked the myth about Australia’s venomous creatures, assuring viewers the country is far from overrun
‘It’s weird living in a country where the government have power over us,’ she said. ‘They’re like your strict, but loving, parents.’
Followers agreed, with one woman writing: ‘In Australia, we have a concept of ‘doing the right thing’ and are generally highly compliant with rules, provided we think they make sense and are fair.’
Ms Milward replied: ‘And I love that!’
One man remembered the 2006 Commonwealth Games, hosted in Melbourne, when foreign visitors were ‘surprised that Victorians waited for the green light to cross the street’.
Ms Milward (pictured in Brisbane in June 2020) was surprised by how rigidly Australians abide by the law
The myth about spiders
Australia may be home to some of the world’s deadliest creatures, including Mulga snakes and funnel-web spiders, but the country is far from overrun with them – a fact Ms Milward said Britons and other nationalities struggle to accept.
While many of her friends refuse to visit for fear of close encounters with venomous beasts, she said millions of Australians go about their daily lives without ‘battling’ spiders or other dangerous animals.
‘Should you check your shoes before you put them on? I guess, not really in the city but maybe in the country,’ she said.
It’s more important to keep an eye out for the Hemsworth brothers, Ms Milward joked, referencing Hollywood actors Chris and Luke who are often seen out and about in the bohemian town of Byron Bay, New South Wales.
Unhelpful public transport
Interactive signs on UK buses announce the upcoming stop, but in Queensland commuters are expected to know where to alight themselves – something Ms Milward has struggled to wrap her head around since relocating.
‘You get on and tell the driver where you want to go, and he just has to remember your stop,’ she said.
‘It’s like Australians play a game of guess the tourist – it’s the one who looks panicked because they don’t know where they’re going!’
Ms Milward said drivers always say hello and tell her where she needs to go, which has led her to believe that people are friendlier Down Under than in her native London.