SBS Australia has replied to the words of BBC commentator Graham Norton, who said Australia should get out of Eurovision, since they are not a part of Europe. On the website of SBS, a firm reaction can be found.
Writer, academic, Aussie and lifelong Eurovision fan Jess Carniel says on the SBS website: “Yes, Graham Norton, we do know that we are on the other side of the world – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t or shouldn’t participate in Eurovision. Norton’s comments seem to exemplify the British exceptionalism that colours UK relations with the rest of continental Europe.”
“For years the UK has been disdainful at best toward Eurovision. With their own strong, continuing cultural presence in global culture, it may be difficult to see the significance of Eurovision for the UK anymore, which in turn, blinds them to the importance of the competition for other nations, as well as the importance of the competition for articulating complex soft and hard international politics.”
“Because of these politics, participating in Eurovision is about more than just geographical belonging. Even so, the geography of Eurovision has been elastic for quite some time. Israel, Turkey, and Azerbaijan are a handful of examples where the boundaries of “Europe” have been blurred. One could even argue that Russia, as geographically Asiatic – and ideologically less aligned with many of the dominant Eurovision states than Australia, is not really a part of it either.”
Prior to the first semi-finals on Tuesday night, Graham Norton spoke to the UK’s Sun newspaper to express his ire at the continued inclusion of Australia in Eurovision. “I know some countries aren’t technically in Europe but, come on — Australia is on the other side of world,” Norton said. “I just do not understand why they are in the Eurovision Song Contest. Get rid of Australia. I’ve got nothing against Australia. I just think it is kind of stupid.”