The best part about Australia's small and provincial media sector is that when one of them make a joke, all of them make exactly the same joke within an hour. 

Which is why today, when the story that Australia had slipped backwards in global education rankings to the point that we are now behind Kazakhstan, literally every report somehow mentioned Borat. A nation with a rich history and a solid post-Soviet education infrastructure... and most of the reporting was about LOL BORAT.

Like the Daily Tele:


Aaaand Fairfax:


Even the noble ABC described Kazakhstan as "a Central Asian country well-known for the satirical film Borat and with a population smaller than ours".

But hey – it's not just the media, who were probably obviously going to pick a funny angle on a country that doesn't have a great deal of recognition around here. And they were never going to pick one of the other countries we've slipped behind in science and maths, like Bulgaria.

It was also the guy literally responsible for our education system at a federal level – Education Minister Simon Birmingham also had a crack:

I don't want to denigrate Kazakhstan, or indeed their artistic skills with movies like Borat. I think though Australia should be seeking to be amongst the best in the world and declines like this are unacceptable and that we need to be working hard to turn it around.

"Artistic skills with movies like Borat." Is Birmo aware that Borat is, shockingly, not actually a Kazakhstani film? Or that Kazakhstan's education system and national literacy rates are by any measure quite advanced? Or that Borat is... fictional?

Eh, I give up. Very nice. My wife.

Photo: Dani Abramowicz.