This has been mentioned several times elsewhere here, and it’s not just Australian, it’s a British inheritance. Though I think we here have ramped it up to eleven. And it certainly disconcerts visitors. Hell, it’s disconcerted me.
If Australians like you, they will make merciless fun of you.
If they’re being civil to you, that’s when you worry.
This has been brought up here as a partial explanation for Australians’ casual racist sounding banter: that the emphasis is on the banter, and the racism is not malicious. Maybe, maybe not; it’s complicated. But we certainly aren’t a nation to tiptoe about race relations, for better and worse.
But yeah. I did a launch of our department’s Working Papers, which I’d coedited, when I was 25.
I was heckled.
That was apparently a show of affection and respect. Who knew.