Australian Expatriates could Advance Australia Fair on Australia Day

| January 24, 2016
Australia Day

Are you an Australian living abroad? If you want to enjoy some Aussie traditions this Australia Day, Sue Ellson has a list of events for you. She also explains how Australia could benefit from an improved exchange of knowledge, skills and networks with expatriates.

On the 18th of December 2003, I attended the launch of Professor Graeme Hugo’s Report into the Australian Diaspora. I distinctly remember Senator Amanda Vanstone saying that what Australian’s miss most when they go overseas is Cherry Ripes!

As I have published content for newcomers, expatriates, repatriates and migrants online since 2001 via, I can certainly tell you that Australians overseas, according to all of the forums, miss a whole lot more than Cherry Ripes – they miss Tim Tams, Twisties, Burger Rings, Mint Slices, Golden Gaytimes, Minties, lamb and a whole lot more (but they always miss their friends and families the most)!

What is perhaps more interesting is that when an Australian goes overseas to live or work, suddenly they notice how Australian they really are. When we are immersed in our own culture, we don’t necessarily notice our daily actions, behaviours and customs – but when we leave, we observe different actions, behaviours and customs in the new location and suddenly we realise that there is a culture in Australia (not just in Europe, Asia etc).

Australia is extremely good at celebrating the success of our arts industry expatriates – musicians, actors and fashion designers. We also like to boast about some of our Australian inventions – the refrigerator, the black box flight recorder, the lawn mower, Hills Hoist and even plastic wine casks. was established in 2002 as a global network of Australians abroad. It is based in the USA and has chapters around the world. They have recently announced that the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, will be a Patron (previous prime ministers have also been patrons). This is a good public acknowledgment of the value of our expatriate population – but will it lead to any significant development of our diaspora population? Are there any votes in it, a pessimist may ask.

Various state governments and educational institutions have attempted to connect with Aussies overseas, and unfortunately many of these programs have been short-lived and not led to ongoing exchanges of knowledge, skills and networks.

I regularly hear from Australians who are disappointed by the lack of recognition they receive when they are representing Australia overseas and are even more disappointed when they return to Australia and face personal challenges during their resettlement – in particular, finding suitable work that matches their skills, experiences and salary expectations. Whilst I personally offer services in this area, they do not always find me, and sadly many general career services do not understand the unique aspects of working with Australian repatriates.

Over the years, many organisations have only had a half-hearted focus on repatriation at the time of expatriation. If organisations could help expatriates prepare for their return when they leave Australia, there would be a much greater chance of success when they do return.

Expatriates are not always advised to keep in contact with their colleagues and friends or even Australian news whilst they are away, so returning to Australia can be very isolating when Australia has ‘changed,’ and they have changed. The transition is not always managed sensitively. Sometimes, they return and find that they no longer even have a job.

These disillusioned expatriates are at enormous risk of leaving Australia and going back overseas again. As a country, we lose a great opportunity to capitalise on their international experience. Many Australians see it as a rite of passage to study, go overseas and then return to settle down and have a family – and I for one would love to see these people transition back into Australian life a whole lot quicker and better.

Some countries go all out to manage their expatriate populations. Ireland is well known as one country where they have a huge number (relatively speaking) of Irish descendants living outside of Ireland with Irish passports – they even have a Minister of State for the Diaspora – Jimmy Deenihan.

On 17 May 2011, the International diaspora Engagement Alliance was created in the USA and at the time they mentioned that over the previous 45 years the number of people worldwide living outside their country of origin had almost tripled – from 76 million to 215 million – and that in 2012 alone this global diaspora sent over $534 billion to their friends and families in developing countries. Their alliance has encouraged diaspora communities worldwide to give back to their countries of origin or ancestry via investment and entrepreneurship, philanthropy, volunteerism and innovation. Local diaspora communities are invited to add themselves to the IdEA map.

I still see Australia as being a long way behind in acknowledging and managing our diaspora effectively. A whole of government approach would be a good start – so I do hope that the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP will be an effective advocate for Australian expatriates in the future.

It is really nice to hear about Australia Day functions being held around the world, and it is my hope that at these gatherings individual Australians will come together and consider ways not just to enjoy some Aussie traditions for the day, but actually discuss ways that they can work with government and enterprise in Australia in effective ways in the future so that they can have an even better transition when they do return, but also so that Australia can gain from their international experience in a much more effective manner.

It is time for all Australians, in Australia and overseas, to work out ways to not just sing ‘Advance Australia Fair’ on Australia Day – but to actually advance Australia fairly in the future.

Here is a small selection of Australia Day Global Events for 2016 (if you have missed these events, please check again next year and follow up with the organisation listed for their upcoming 2016 events that you can enjoy throughout the year!):

Hong Kong


“Celebrate Australia Day in London with a host of live sport, movies and the annual Triple J Hottest 100 countdown. Join us for breakfast with an early start to the festivities with Australia hosting India in T20 cricket at 8:30am. Triple J Hottest 100 kicks off from 11am and continue all day on ground floor until the end.”

“Whether you are Aussie by blood or by heart Australia Day is here and what better way to celebrate than getting maggot on the streets of Shoreditch!

Our day time Bogan Bar Crawl will take you for a Bogan brekkie of VB and Parmies at Translate before Waltzing Mathilda-ing through four watering holes ending at Cargo for Bundy drinking and dancing!”

  • UK0715 Australia Day Wine Tasting (Tuesday 26th Jan 2016), London, $2,000 (excluding GST) per table (14 SKUs)“The biggest event on the UK wine calendar, our annual Australia Day Tasting is the largest annual tasting of Australian wine outside of Australia and will showcase more than 1,000 wines from approximately 75-80 exhibitors to influential wine trade and media from across the UK and Europe.”
  • Comedy Carnival’s Australia Day Show (Tuesday 26th Jan 2016), Bar Rumba“An all Australian line-up of stand up comedy. This year’s show features entertaining Aussie Pete Jonas, the dark and manic John Robertson, token Aussie (Kiwi) Javier Jarquin and a guest MC. Starts at 8pm and goes until 10pm. Tickets start from £14 in advance for the show and after party.”

Los Angeles

  • G’DAY USA Gala presented by QANTAS (Thursday 28th Jan 2016), Vibiana Restaurant, 7-11pm, $750“The star studded 2016 Gala, hosted by Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths, will honor Academy Awards nominee and Mad Max director, George Miller with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Academy Awards nominee, Australian actor, writer and director Joel Edgerton with the Excellence in Film award.Guests will dine on an Australian style menu designed and prepared by celebrity chefs Neil Perry and Neal Fraser and enjoy an evening of Australian entertainment. A segment of the show will honor high-profile Australians for their contribution to the US-Australia relationship.”

New York

  • American Australian Association Australia Day Black Tie Gala (Friday 22nd Jan 2016), Capriani Wall Street, 6:30pm – 1am, $250 members/$300 non-members.“Honouring Gordon Elliott, Marcia Hines, Nick Hardcastle and Georgi Hay. Ticket price includes pre-dinner reception with passed canapes & open bar; chef created three-course dinner showcasing Australian food & wine, and entertainment. After-party with music and dancing.”
  • New York Magpies (AFL Club) Australia Day Open (Saturday 23rd Jan 2016), 8pm till late, $20 entry“Table Tennis tournament, free drink with entry, wear your tennis whites, Cadbury giveaways, drink specials”.
  • Australia Day Party (Tuesday 26th Jan 2016), The Australian Bar NYC, 11am till late
    “Triple J’s Hottest 100 + Live Music, $1 off all Coopers & Door Charge from 4pm.”

San Francisco

  • Beer Olympics Australia Day Hottest 100 Party (Monday 25th Jan 2016), 5pm till late, RSVP required for entry“Join us for the Fourth Annual SF Beer Olympics Hottest 100 Australia Day Party & Sausage Sizzle! Triple J’s Hottest 100 Songs of the Year streaming live from Australia! Aussie themed games! Tim Tam Slams, Fairy bread, Australian-Style Hermit Crab Racing, the ‘Neighbours’ Team Drinking Challenge, and Australian beers”


  • Barcelona’s Biggest Australia Day Party (Tuesday 26th Jan 2016), Belushi’s Sports Bar, 11am till late, Free entry.“Belushi’s Barcelona has always been an Aussie favourite and we’ll be serving up heaps of Aussie Beers, Bundy Rum, Meat Pies and classic Aussie Works burgers. We’ll be rocking out all arvo to Triple J’s Hottest 100 and there’ll be plenty of live sports to get stuck into as well!”


  • Paris’ Biggest Australia Day Party (Tuesday 26th Jan 2016), Belushis Paris, 1pm till late“Coopers Pale Ale and Bundy Rum, Triple J Hottest 100 counting down from midday, Chicken Parmi, Live Sports on all day, the best Aussie Works burger in town, Live music from 9pm,Beach bar & deckchairs, Doors open all day, so put on your short & bikini & join hundreds of Aussies for the best holiday of the year! Come with your Australian’s passport & get 3€ pints from 6 to 8pm!”


  • Australia Day Party (Tuesday 26th Jan 2016), 7pm till late, free entry.“Come Celebrate All Aussies and all those who like getting drunk with Aussies! Great Live Aussie music followed by cool Aussie DJ madness with DJ craig eee! Japan’s #1 Didgeridoo player. Great Aussie Grill Dinner Selections to order at the Bar!”


  • ANZ Australia Day ‘Strictly Come Dancing” Ball (Saturday 23rd Jan 2016), 7pm-2am, $235 members/$270 non members.“Black tie event, Sparkling wine and canapés on arrival, 6 course fine dining experience with an Australian flair, fine Australian wine and beer all night, top-class entertainment, live Aussie band, exclusive raffle and lucky door prize”