Reaction Weekend

Australia “takes the bar on”: China, WHO and now Big Tech

As Australia takes on China, WHO and now Big Tech, Helen Dale explores where the country gets such a strong back bone from

BY Helen Dale   /  20 February 2021

In Australia, there’s an activity in which individuals of a belligerent nature have been known to engage. It’s called “taking the bar on”, and it means what it says. That is, a large strong man (a bikie, perhaps, or a stockman) fights all-comers in his local, aided and abetted by drink.

Rows of this type regularly pour out the front door and finish up all over the footpath. Occasionally they drag-in passers-by. When I was a baby barrister in what is euphemistically known as “the regions”, I handled one such matter (with multiple co-accuseds) where the entire adult male population of a small country town had indulged in an all-in brawl: grown adults throwing fists like pies in that scene from Bugsy Malone.


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