Bindi tourism ads? What a croc…

I want lots of tourists to come to Australia. Really, I think it’s important for our nation to welcome travellers to come and experience the unique delights of Australia. So we should do whatever it takes to convince the world to spend their holidays with us. Except for one thing. I do not want visits from tourists who are convinced to come to Australia by an ad featuring Bindi Irwin.

There seems to be some doubt over whether Bindi will actually appear in a Lara Bingle-esque advertisement – presumably without the bikini or profanity, but who knows how low Tourism Australia will go? It’s been subsequently reported that the current ad is with us for another year, which would be good news if the current ad wasn’t already so awful.
Are crocodile hunters (and huntresses) the best image for modern Australia, though? This is, of course, the saltie that Tourism Australia has always had to wrestle with – many of us are embarrassed by that ocker Paul Hogan image, but it’s what the punters overseas evidently want to see. Steve Irwin’s great success was that he used his upbringing on a wildlife park to actually become Crocodile Dundee, right down to the khakis. But these attempts to remake Bindi into Crocodile-Dundee-meets-the-Olsen-twins really make me cringe.
Look, I know Bindi lost her dad, and of course that was a terrible tragedy. A tragedy that I probably would have chosen to address via private grief, but the Irwins did everything for the cameras, so I guess it’s not surprising that they keep popping up on television screens around the world. It’s the way this is used to relentlessly promote Bindi that I’ve got a problem with.
When John Lennon died, Yoko didn’t hit the talk show circuit spruiking Sean’s singing career. It just seems tasteless.
And come on, a few interviews is understandable, but Bindi’s addressing the National Press Club in Washington, for goodness’ sake. Why don’t we go the whole hog and make her UN Secretary-General while we’re at it?
Her emerging role as Prominent Australian Ambassador is also, frankly, a little concerning. The quote today where she says that she feels “like I am Dad” reflects the pressure that’s been put on her. Sure, a lot of it may have come from her – every little extroverted kid would lap up what she’s been doing, probably – but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good idea. And in particular, I don’t think we as a nation should be responsible for thrusting her further into the public spotlight.
Still, I’d rather they used Bindi than brought back Lara Bingle. At least she won’t be accused of breaking up prominent sportsmen’s marriages.
Dominic Knight