(Canberra, Australia) The Australian government has just released a three-year study of American attitudes toward the Island Continent which demonstrates definitively that Americans actually know much more about Dorothea McKellar's "sunburnt country" than had originally been believed.
At least 3% of Americans were able correctly to identify Australia as being "larger than Rhode Island", and approximately 15% knew that the primary language of Australians was in fact English.
Discouragingly, however, 52% of Americans identified Australian PM John Howard as "that tall, bald, scary-looking guy who used to front Midnight Oil", and 38% thought that Mark Latham, who may unseat Howard in upcoming elections, was "the skinny geek in the red shirt on 'The Wiggles'". While most Americans knew that Russell Crowe had been born in New Zealand, only 3% knew that New Zealand was not in fact part of Australia.
Against this backdrop, it is all the more amazing that fully 94% of Americans knew that "Qantas never crashed." Aussie scientists are at a loss to explain why this peculiar fact is so well known to Americans, who travel to Australia at best infrequently.
It is also encouraging that only 41% of Americans believe that Australians "routinely wear corked hats", while a mere 22% believe that crocodile, platypus and kangaroo are staples of the Australian diet. However, only 1% of Americans were able correctly to name the Australian capital, and 32% believed that Brisbane, a city with a population of approximately one million which is in fact larger than New York City, was a "tiny rural town with a population under 2,500".
Perhaps even more distressingly, 52% of American respondents indicated that they believed that the principal occupations of Australians were "crocodile-hunting, knife-comparing and rugby."
This is of course wildly incorrect, since the principal occupations of Australian men also include footy and cricket, while that of Aussie women is referring to Nicole Kidman as a "cow with size 12 feet, who's not even really Australian."