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From lockdown paradise to love island: Australia’s bizarre pilfering of UK doctors

Last week, whilst perusing the internet, I stumbled upon a rather amusing story. It turns out a delegation from Western Australia has been dispatched to the UK in a bid to lure underpaid and overworked British workers with the promise of higher wages and better living standards. Government and industry officials are trying to fill almost 31,000 vacancies across numerous professions such as teaching and nursing and other skilled workers such as builders and plumbers.

Led by Police and Defence Industry Minister Paul Papalia, they arrived in the UK at the end of February and, as part of a nine-day tour, will visit four major cities – London, Edinburgh, Bristol, and Dublin. Papalia is tasked with pimping out Perth to as many fed-up Brits as possible.

I don’t envisage Papalia having much of a problem. According to Google Trends, searches for the term ‘emigrate to Australia’ have risen 125 per cent in the UK since March 2020. Meanwhile, an average of 58,000 Britons leave these cold and miserable shores each year for a new life down under.

With the promise of lower bills, Papalia told the press, ‘We are here to steal your workers by offering them a better life in one of the most beautiful places on the planet.’ He went on to say, ‘Many of our ancestors were sent from the UK to Australia as convicts. Now, it would be a crime not to make the move.’

This seemed to ruffle the feathers of a few UK politicians. Notably, Paul Bristow. The Conservative MP and member of the Commons health and social care select committee called Papalia’s use of the word ‘steal’ ‘unfortunate’ – perhaps in reference to his somewhat self-deprecating use of the term ‘convicts’ when making his pitch. You’ve got to love the Aussie’s sense of humour. Anyway, a rather joyless-sounding Bristow was keen to stress the many wonderful benefits of working and living in the UK

Come again?

Britain has one of the lowest GDP growth rates in the western world, crippled by high taxes, extortionate food and energy costs, terrible weather, and a police force more concerned with policing our language than our streets. Meanwhile, the number of people in England waiting to start hospital treatment has reached 6.4 million, the highest recorded total since records began.

So let me get this right. Australians are offering better wages, a lower cost of living, and a significantly better health care system, coupled with beautiful beaches and 3,200 hours of sunlight a year. What’s to complain about? Okay, there are thousands of nasty critters hiding under rocks, crawling out of the toilet, or swimming in the sea that’ll kill you, but we’re just splitting hairs now.

What Papalia did next I can only describe as ‘peak Aussie’. The minister has apparently attempted to woo prospective ex-pats with the promise of … love. When it comes to a bit of kinky fun down-under, Aussies appear to have a supply-and-demand problem. Keen to promote Australia as a land of sex-starved, beautiful singletons, Papalia boasted to the press, ‘We are the new love Island.’ It might have worked. You see, nothing will stand in the way of 60,000 horny Brits. Not even a great white shark. The guy’s pulled a blinder!

Is it really wrong to try to poach Brits? Despite the fact that tens of thousands leave every year, an almost equal number of illegal immigrants arrive on our southern shores to replace them. A small number seem eager to start work, especially in the culinary world, judging by their knife skills.

Rather than dismiss this as another piece of sensationalist journalism, stirring up confected hatred for our antipodean cousins, let’s reverse this and see how well that would go.

A delegation from Visit Britain will be arriving in Australia next week. They will hold a series of job fairs and presentations in four major cities – Melbourne, Brisbane, Sydney, and Adelaide – in an attempt to entice Australians to come and work and live in England. I can picture it now:

‘Take a picturesque drive to one of our many rundown and neglected seaside towns. Go for a dip in the ocean. But don’t stay too long. Due to water companies pumping thousands of gallons of raw sewage into our rivers and seas, if you don’t freeze to death, you’ll catch hepatitis. Be prepared to be culturally enriched by visiting one of our major metropolitan cities. Spend a fortune paying a climate tax for the privilege of driving into London. Or, if there’s not a strike, take a crumbling, overpriced, and unreliable train. Visit Britain! #PleaseForTheLoveOfGod

Look, as a native Brit, it pains me to say this. But what’s there to lose? How we’ve managed to hold on to people for so long is beyond me. If you’re not doing everything you can to get on the first plane out of here, I admire your patriotism, but there’s little left to love in this country.

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