Your browser does not support iFrames
Why is Australian suddenly the accent of choice for diplomatic communication?
They admit they're not good at it, yet they are determined to ''give it a burl''.
An admirable sentiment if we're talking about the Australian bob sled team, Celebrity Apprentices or other sheltered workshops, but how about global leaders?
First British Prime Minister David Cameron did his best impression of a nine-year-old Eton boy impersonating a poor person Daddy once fired from the mines for whinging about the conditions, when he recounted a throw-away line our Prime Minister had floored him with at CHOGM.
Then President of the United States, Barack Obama, gave us all a briefing on the ''chin wag'' he had had with Julia, and expanded on the ''ear bashings'' he receives in Washington DC, before assuming that our regular dominance of cricket meant we also invented it, when he attributed ''sticky wicket'' to Australia as well.
Of course Obama is the leader of the free world, the ambassador for hope and if we're honest a bit more likeable than Cameron, so we declared the former a wit of first world order and Cameron a twit who was out of order.
But why is Australian suddenly the accent of choice for diplomatic communication?
Is this the sign of a new world order? Have consonants been found responsible for global tensions? Will Ban Ki-moon be bringing a motion to the floor of the UN General Assembly to replace Esperanto with Strayan? If so, will UN peacekeepers start wearing sky blue helmets with two cup-holders attached for their beers?
Obama claimed that he came over all Skippy in order to reverse the trend of the Australian language being Americanised. A worthy cause to be sure, yet isn't the greater concern here the way in which the Australian language is being stereotyped? In particular, the fact that the accepted standard for our accent is some back-of-Bourke cultural fiction who wears an Akubra with corks dangling from it, loves his sheilas and worst of all, drinks Fosters?
Let's be honest. She's never right. Nor is she going to be apples. Nick isn't particularly high on the pecking order. If I'm blue, it's not a reflection of my honesty. My dinkum, whatever it is, is actually quite biased.
Oh, and rhyming slang is cockney, but the Australian accent is not.
So who do we blame for this global misconception that every Australian's identity sits just bogan of Norm on the cultural compass?
In the past 30-odd years, the billions of dollars invested in this organisation have produced two memorable campaigns. Paul Hogan's benchmark setting efforts and Lara Bingle's ''Where the bloody hell are you?'' While many bemoan the latter's choice of phrase, the former was the real culprit. A country that had never thought of a shrimp as anything other than someone too short to ride the rollercoaster, suddenly discovered they'd been throwing them on the barbie for years.
The Crocodile Twins
Which brings us neatly to Hoges' other contribution to the Australian iconography, Crocodile Dundee. Here was a caricature so ridiculous, so insane that only the most naive and unworldly of cinemagoers would take it as a case study in reality. And sure enough America did. Only for Steve Irwin to spring up as the Crocodile Hunter and validate every Dundee-based misconception the world had of Australia, and add a few more.
The University of Woolloomooloo populated entirely of Bruces may have spawned the Philosopher's Song, for which we are all eternally grateful, however David Cameron's Julia Gillard would seem to have more than a dash of Eric Idle in it. Albeit an Eric Idle shorn of his comedic skills.
Ultimately when we're talking about a cultural crime, we always end up in Hollywood. And this is no exception. The good folk of Tinseltown do think Australian is a foreign language. Before he had even made the film, Peter Helliar was offered a deal based on the script of I Love You Too to do a remake in American. History doesn't relate whether a translator was necessary for the contract negotiations.
Pick your favourite of Hollywood's worst Australian accents. Is it James Coburn in The Great Escape sounding like Dick Van Dyke doing a cockney twang? How about Meryl Streep in Evil Angels whose boy-b had been absconded with by a dingo? Or more recently Jude Law in Contagion, whose character was either meant to be Australian or a stroke victim.
Which is not to say that actors from overseas can't do a convincing Australian accent. Rhys Ifans in Danny Deckchair, Robert Downey Jr. in Tropic Thunder and Daniel Radcliffe in December Boys were all convincingly local in tone and lingo.
We have had some revenge on this front too. Cate Blanchett's American in Hanna had clearly grown up in the 51st state South Bostexas. Equally the regular gang from Australian central casting who turn up in films such as X-Men: Wolverine and Don't Be Afraid of the Dark often sound as Armenian as they do American. Yet if we look at actors such as Xavier Samuel, accents must not be impossible for those who can act. He is now taking English roles away from English actors, in films like A Few Best Men and Anonymous having previously grabbed one of the more prized American roles in The Twilight Saga: New Moon.
Yet Hollywood loves to butcher our accent in the name of entertainment, and not just on camera. Stars touring the country love to do an impression or two of the locals off camera, if they're clever, on camera if they're not. Oprah's tour down under saw not only her, but John Travolta choking out a ''Geedaaay mate'' or 10. Clearly the politicians of the world are watching movies. Or Oprah. Probably Oprah.
Comedians touring Australia do it too, though the likes of Dylan Moran and Eddie Izzard are forgiven when they throw a bit of ocker into the routine, for one simple reason: They. Are. Funny.
Ultimately, this is the crux of the issue. Make us laugh and we'll forgive you. Be you John Cleese, Paul Hogan or Robin Williams (though we might still take exception to the use of the term ''redneck'').
Barack Obama (or to be more accurate, his team of speech writers) understood that, and laughed with us. After all he'd probably also had a chuckle at new local terms like Obamarama and the #aubama hash tag with the rest of us.
David Cameron on the other hand was making a joke of another politician's joke, and arguably of the politician herself. The sort of cheap shot that certainly won't rank him next to Churchill in the prime ministerial quip ranks and just makes me look forward to Eddie Izzard's arrival in the House of Commons, for I suspect Cameron's Big Book of Classic One Liners won't be a big seller this Christmas.