Good heavens: there are 800 000 Australian citizens living abroad! That’s five percent of the population. We’re the Australian diaspora! I belong to a community! With a mailing list! And my community actually fought for me to be able to be a dual citizen (if Norway would only go along with it) without my even knowing! I’m so used to being neither this nor that that I’m a bit shocked at this sudden new identity option. But hey, “our collective identity” is being strengthened by “e-mail and internet” which “increasingly link overseas Australians to each other and to Australians at home.”
Yup. Though decreasing phone costs are at least as important. When I was a kid phoning home was so expensive we could only talk to our grandparents at Christmas time, and we hated it, absolutely hated the embarrassment of speaking for two minutes a year to people we loved and remembered and missed but whose voices we had forgotten. When I was back in Perth in 1990 it cost $1.80 (Australian; about one US dollar) a minute to ring Norway, and 18 kroner a minute for my family in Norway to ring me. Now it’s 45 øre a minute, that’s 9 Australian cents or 6 US cents. I can talk for an hour for the cost of a latte, an hour and a half for less than a glass of beer. Talking with a friend in Australia (or the States for that matter) is literally no more expensive than going out for a coffee. I like that.