Terry Lane: Sorry mate, no such thing as a fair go
“But one has had reason to take another look at Mr Howard’s words these past few days and one has spotted a semantic error in the juxtaposed qualities a dinkum Aussie must keep in tension. We understand that excellence and fairness are euphemisms for profit on the one hand and a damn good thrashing if you ask for a decent wage on the other. And we understand that independence and mateship are code words for well-deserved wealth over dole bludging.

The essence of mateship, as a universal virtue, is that it is an impulse to help strangers, assuming the best of them until they prove themselves unworthy of an altruistic helping hand. Mateship is a shorthand way of describing a system of social organisation based on the moral imperative of doing one for others without calculating that one day you may need them to do one for you. It is a sort of bucolic golden rule that even affects social interaction in the cities.”