Voice of Real Australia is a regular newsletter from Australian Community Media, which has journalists in every state and territory. Sign up here to get it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Today's newsletter is written by Australian Community Media journalist Jacob McArthur from Tamworth.
I spent a lot of time listening to voices of real Australia this week and I came across an interesting train of thought.
Riding on the locomotive through the increasingly crispy New England, I was able to tap into the psyche of our very real corner of Australia.
Ambling along the rails, like no other mode of public transport in my experience, turns inner rambling into outward expression for all to hear.
Perhaps trains are the number one carriage service for real Australia's voices.
Maybe it is just cabin fever.
Getting back on track, one comment I overheard during this voyage stood out to me.
"Mum, can I move?" one child called out.
"He said he's going to hit me if I laugh."
It seems like a cruel, disproportionate punishment, but I suppose Australia's rules of engagement have been a bit perplexing of late.
We do a lot of things well in Australia, sometimes we even play cricket well overseas, but getting laughed at is not our forte.
In 2013, English bowler Stuart Broad was welcomed to Australia with headlines labelling him a "smug Pommie cheat" while it sounded like crowds were describing him as a banker.
Broad was glad his mum wasn't at the ground.
This year, Steve Smith had no shortage of defenders decrying the booing barrage which heralded his return to the crease following a ball-tampering related ban.
Australian coach Justin Langer asked the crowds to be nice before the Ashes and said the players were like his kids.
There's terms and conditions for our admonitions, it seems.
It reminded me of Barnaby Joyce's latest musings on the drought.
He said the coalition government could be turfed if Tamworth runs out of water.
First of all, the priority should be make sure a city the size of Tamworth doesn't run dry, not an MP's tenure in Canberra.
But the combative corollary I heard on the train rings true.
If it gets to the point where trains are carting water into the Tamworth and the city becomes the pitiful centrepiece of a story in a national or metro news bulletin, you could have no doubt the people will be looking for someone to punch in the polling booth.
Journalist, Northern Daily Leader