Greetings from out here in the real Australia,
OK, so we need to clear something up. What our now officially sworn-in Prime Minister Scott Morrison meant to say at the climax of his victory speech on election night was "How good is real Australia? How good are real Australians?"
If these were indeed questions and not, as some have theorised, rhetorical exclamations, the only answer to both is, of course: "Real good, ScoMo, real real good!"
More of politics in a moment. But, first, a detour into the outback and what happened to Paddy Moriarty.
In 2017 the 70-year-old and his dog disappeared without a trace from the remote town of Larrimah in the Northern Territory. Sinister suspicions and accusations ensued. And now the mystery of Paddy Moriarty has become something of a global industry.
A film-maker from Los Angeles visited Katherine this week for a documentary series on the case, prompting Katherine Times editor Chris McLennan to delve into one of the NT's most macabre intrigues.
"Locals question whether the bones of this outback tale have been picked over enough already," Chris writes.
"Still, like the regular capture of saltwater crocodiles in the dry season, there are some things people can't get enough of - and at the moment that includes Paddy Moriarty."
Welcome to the Voice of Real Australia, your regular round-up of news and views from the bits of this wide brown land that are not Sydney or Melbourne.
Places like Katherine, where Katherine Times editor Chris and journalist Roxanne Fitzgerald tell the stories that help keep their town connected.
At Australian Community Media, our network of 150 local news websites and newspapers stretches into every state and territory.
From the Katherine Times in the NT to The Canberra Times in the ACT, the Wimmera Mail-Times in Victoria, the Beaudesert Times in Queensland and the Port Lincoln Times in South Australia, our dedicated journalists, photographers and editors are reporting daily on the people, places and issues that matter in communities around the nation.
Every day, we're telling great stories about real Australians who are the real deal out in the real Australia.
Like Glenn, the NRMA Road Assist patrolman who has 30 years' worth of stories about motorist mishaps.
And Jaclyn, the BMX queen from Bendigo.
And Austin, Brennan and Bryce, the brothers from Collie, Western Australia, who are now known as glam rock band Sisters Doll, and who have added a hometown gig to their new national tour. Yep, Collie boys rock!
If you joined us in the lead-up to, or immediate aftermath of, the federal election you will notice that we have tweaked the name of our newsletter a smidge - just keeping it real, folks.
But our commitment remains the same: to bring you the best journalism and commentary from regional, rural and suburban Australia. And, yes, that includes updates on politics from Canberra and the latest insights and analysis from our opinion columnists around the country.
On the subject of Canberra, it needs to be said that Your Nation's Capital really does cop the rough end of the pineapple thanks to its role as permanent host city for our Commonwealth's red-or-blue-party-preferred Muppet Show. But, trust us, the real Canberra - the bit of the Bush Capital outside the bubble that's inside Parliament House - prides itself as much as anywhere on not being Sydney or Melbourne! Solidarity, cobber!
On the subject of pineapples, how good is Queensland?
For those of you still trying to work out the correct answer to the PM's other jubilant election night question/exclamation, we here at the Voice have got you covered.
We'll bring you regular updates from the likes of editor Melody Labinsky and her farm-fresh team at Queensland Country Life, Blackall-based senior journalist Sally Cripps of the North Queensland Register, and editors Derek Barry at the North West Star in Mount Isa and Brian Williams at the Redland City Bulletin in the state's south-east.
We'll also deliver you news and views from other trusted mastheads such as the Newcastle Herald, The Land, The Courier in Ballarat and The Examiner in Launceston - introduced and curated by ACM's editors and journalists.
Here's a little of what's been going on around real Australia:
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P.S. - On the subject of how good Queensland is, how good is Sammy J's break-up song Goodbye, Queensland?
"You kicked us in the preferences and now my polls are bruised," howls Buster J & The Franking Credits."It's time to turn one nation into two."
Read more about the comedian and his upcoming live tour here.
- James Joyce is the executive editor of Australian Community Media. He lives in Canberra, but not the bit inside that bubble Scott Morrison keeps talking about.