Our colleagues in the US recently ran a post based on a Quora forum about Things America Does Better Than The Rest Of The World.
Sadly, our own trawling through Reddit and Quora came up with the usual responses – sport, beer, mates, thongs that you wear on your feet.
Which got us to thinking that maybe Australians don’t know their own country as well as they should.
So we went it alone and came up with this list of some of things you might already know Australia does better than the rest of the world, and probably a lot you don’t. And also because every now and then, it doesn’t hurt to feel good about ourselves.
1. Deadly snakes
Starting with deadly creatures might be the most obvious place to start. But at least half of the world’s deadliest land snakes, and a sea snake that patrols the northern coast, for some reason find Australia the most convenient country in which to kill things with their venom. Yes, we do snake venom better than anyone. Say it loud and proud.
We’re the most photogenic country in the world – Instagram says so. Well, SkiftIQ says so, which tracks brands on the popular pic-sharing site. And of the 2000 brands it tracked in 2013, a staggering 197 photos of the top 200 most liked came from Tourism Australia’s account.
3. Empowerment of women
We’ve still got some way to go when it comes to equal pay, but we’re way out in front when it comes to empowerment. International consulting and management firm Booz & Company put Australia on top of a 2012 list of 128 countries for women’s access to education, equal pay, childcare and anti-discrimination policies.
4. Paying McDonald’s workers
If you want to make a career out of flipping burgers, Australia is the best place to start. When McDonalds workers in the US were demanding a minimum wage hike to $15 an hour last year, US media were quick to learn there was a magical place where employees not only already earning double what they were used to in the US, but also in the process of topping it up by 15%.
5. Showing the effects of global warming*
In 2013, Australia recorded the highest above-average temperatures globally. In a year that made the top 10 warmest on the globe since record-keeping began in 1850, that’s no mean feat.
*Because when you’re Australian, any win’s a win.
6. Deposits of expensive minerals
About 31% of the world total. We only export it for energy purposes, as we’ve signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as a non-nuclear weapons state. Most of the deposits currently being mined are in WA, but big opportunities are looming in SA and Queensland.
But it’s not just uranium – according to Geoscience Australia, we’re also the world’s leading producer of bauxite, rutile and zircon and are sitting on the world’s largest resources of gold, iron ore, lead, nickel and zinc.
7. Being a place for young people
The International Youth Foundation and The Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington just came together to produce The Global Youth Wellbeing Index. It assessed the quality of the lives of 1.8 billion young people in 30 countries aged between 10 and 24.
And Australia came out on top, with an index score of .752 showing Australian youth enjoy the highest levels of well being, ranking ahead of Sweden, South Korea and the United Kingdom.
Basically, because the CSIRO invented it. US courts agree, too, ruling in 2012 that companies which produce wifi devices have to pay our sciencetific research body a royalty for each one they sold. Up to the point when the patent ran out – November last year – the CSIRO has hauled in some $430m from its discovery, with more likely to come after restrospective cases are settled.
The invention of wifi stemmed from the CSIRO’s work with radio telescopes, according to Ian Oppermann, director of CSIRO’s Digital Productivity and Services Flagship:
“They took some of the techniques they had been looking at for really super-sensitive radio astronomy systems and built them into the in-building, in-room wireless environment. If we can apply them to outer space we can apply them to inner space.”
9. Being friends to fish
More from the CSIRO – it developed a marine ecosystem model nearly 10 years ago that is still considered the world’s best when it comes to trying to save the Earth’s troubled fisheries. Known as Atlantis, the model simulates trends in fish numbers and catches in order to find best management practices. A recent international study found Atlantis came up with ways to successfully rebuild damaged stocks in at least half of the troubled fisheries it examined.
10. Making scotch whisky
They all laughed back in the 90s when the little Hobart distillery announced it was going into the “Scotch” whisky business but if you bought a case of Sullivan’s Cove French Oak Cask at $100 a bottle – in particular, one bottled from barrel 525 – you’d be feeling pretty cheery right now. That’s because you’re sitting on the prestigious 2014 World Whisky Awards’ best single malt in the world.
11. Legal heroin
While you’re in Tassie, you might want to check out its’ world-beating heroin, er, morphine – otherwise known as poppies. Although you might want to heed the warning you’ll find on fences surrounding some 15,000 acres of the stuff:
Tasmania has monopolised the world trade for years, growing 49% of thee world’s legal thebaine. There’s a huge illicit market in other countries, but the sanctioned version adds $250m a year to the Apple Isle’s economy. Victoria’s parliament approved a bill decriminalising the narcotic crop last month, which is expected to see another $100m harvest added to Australia’s output.
12. Looking after our mentally ill
Treatment for those with mental health issues is rising faster in Australia than anywhere else in the world.
Study results released in February show the rate of treatment for Australians suffering from conditions like anxiety, depression and substance use rose from 37 per cent in 2006/7 to 46 per cent in 2009/10. The University of Queensland authors of the study say the rise is directly attributable to Medicare and the Better Access initiative launched by the federal government in 2006.
13. Growing goats
We’re a nation obsessed with lamb and fried chicken, but the real sleeper in the world of meat is goat. The world’s most favoured meat tops the list in densely populated countries such as China, India and Nigeria, according to Meat and Livestock Australia. Australians don’t like it so much and rank somewhere in the world 30s when it comes to production.
But the fact we export nearly all that we produce makes us the world’s largest single provider of goat meat, mostly to the US and Taiwan – roughly $145 million worth each year.
14. Mobile networks
Australia’s has the world’s fastest LTE/4G speeds. OpenSignal’s State of LTE report for the first quarter of 2014 put Australia on top with world-beating speeds of 24.5Mbps, thanks mostly to Telstra. Gizmodo reports that the often maligned telco was the first to deploy the super-fast networking standard in the land Down Under back in 2011.
15. Making pizza
Just last week, Australian chef Johnny Di Francesco took out the World Pizza Championship. It’s held every year in Parma, Italy, so the judges know what they want in a pizza. Specifically, “under 35cm in diameter, cooked in a wood-fired oven and contain only certain ingredients, such as peeled tomatoes, cheese, garlic, olive oil and salt.”
Di Francesco, who owns restaurant 400 Gradi in Melbourne’s Lygon St, nailed it with a classic margherita.
16. Old guys kicking snakes in the face
Rounding the list up nicely with a return reference to our obvious “deadliest creatures” at No.1, our old men probably kick venomous snakes in the face better than anyone else too.
Have a good day, Australians.
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