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Shiny New Australia
"And she may cry but her tears will dry
When I hand her the keys to a shiny new Australia!"

Dr. Horrible, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Say the Big Bad is about to Take Over the World, but you have something he needs. What would you ask for in return for your help? And you can think big; after all, he does have the entire world to offer, no need to feel constrained to beg to be spared.

Or maybe you are the Big Bad, and some wannabe villain has some vital piece of Applied Phlebotinum you need to see your evil plan through, but not the means by which to carry it out himself. What could you offer him to get what you want, and even play to his ego so he won't think to stab you in the back and take your hard-earned godhood for himself?

And even if you already have everything you need to carry out your Evil Plan, nothing says you care quite like promising your most faithful minion a good-sized piece of the planet he's about to help you conquer.

Whatever the case might be, there is one thing every would-be world dominator needs to ensure that their plan is foolproof and no untoward betrayals go off in the last five minutes of their doomsday clock:

Australia.

That's right, Australia. Australia isn't a very important country (thanks a lot, mate), but is still an enormous piece of real estate, so the Big Bad can make it look like an impressive gift while keeping his mitts on the more important countries like the US, the UK, Russia, China, etc. Also, it has 25% of the uranium in the world and is the largest exporter of beef by... quite a large margin. Not to mention most of the capital cities are naturally defended by terrain, which is very useful for a supervillain. (Take Melbourne: the only way in by sea, Port Phillip Bay, requires a map or you hit rocks in the shallows; by air you have to travel a few thousand kilometers from anywhere; and by land you have to put up with lots of forests and distant homes.) Plus, they have great beaches.

Add to that the fact that the first British settlements in Australia were penal colonies, and that Australia's greatest national hero was a criminal, and you can see where the Australian people could be inclined to welcome most supervillains with open arms. Funnily enough there are reports stating the Australian army is the second best trained in the world, and there's 75,000 ADF (Australian Defence Force) members to boot. When you factor in that this force reinforces with two additional regiments per turn compared to most other militaries, you begin to see why The Starscream would consider Australia an ideal location to begin pursuing his own agenda.

On the other hand, it's the single most infertile continent save for Antarctica (which, ironically enough, has led to a booming wine industry, since grapevines grow best when made to suffer), precisely because Australia has had little tectonic activity during the past 30 million years, its soils are amongst the oldest in the world, and rainfalls are scarce except in the cyclone-ridden tropical northern parts and in coastal areas, which are subject to heavy floods. Oh, and there are a lot of thunderstorms and lightning (very very frightening),note  in fact the Northern Territory and Western Coast of Australia is one of the most lightning prone areas on Earth. And bushfires. Don't forget the bushfires, especially since they can lead to exploding trees. Eucalyptus trees have very hard wood and highly flammable oil. Add extreme heat to them and they tend to pop like giant popcorn kernels. And spiders so big, they have health bars. In fact, why stop at spiders? A huge percentage of Australian animals are venomous and/or homicidal, and a ridiculously huge percentage of deadly animals are Australian (last count was six of the top ten deadliest of the world). What can I say - it's a land of weird differences - we here enjoy warm Decembers and frigid Augusts.The entire continent can be certifiably considered a deathtrap.

So it's the perfect place to set up a lab if you're a Mad Scientist and need a thunderstorm to zap your Frankenstein's Monster with lightning or to power your flux capacitor. Not so much if your plans include an active volcano Supervillain Lair with Lava Pit. But at least you can get the Shark Pool filled with sharp-toothed predators even on a low budget.

Note that any opinions actual Australians may have on this plan are irrelevant (Oi!) - except in more realistic works that take their military capabilities into account. See also Throw-Away Country.

Not to be confused with shiny new Australium.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  

  • Happened in Mobile Suit Gundam - Australia was (accidentally) the site of the first colony drop in the UC.
  • Also played up in Gall Force: Earth Chapter, wherein Central Australia (near about Alice Springs) lies the main AI node of GORN, the super computer that cornholed mankind.
  • In Code Geass, Mao plans on taking C.C. with him to a nice quiet house in Australia where they can be together; this makes sense, since Mao's Telepathy is always on and wide-open Australia would be one of the few places he wouldn't be constantly barraged by stray thoughts. Too bad his plan involved making her "compact"... but, then again, she does have a perfect Healing Factor. Australia is also somewhat memetic among the fanbase because it is the one place shown to be unaligned with any of the major powers, for no apparent reason; aside from Mao, no one even mentions it.
    • Which is because it was mined for all its resources and left a barren and deserted wasteland by Britannia.

     Board Games  

  • In the Board Game Risk, Australia is the most defensible continent in the game, while offering the smallest bonus for controlling it. Experienced players will leverage the former against the latter — in other words, while everyone else is squabbling over the bigger continents, you just sit there turn after turn, letting that 2 soldier/turn bonus slowly add up into a giant force.
    "'Cause, you know, playing Risk, you could never hold on to Asia. That Asian-European eastern area, you could never hold it, couldja? Seven extra men at the beginning of every go, but you couldn't fucking hold it... Australasia, that was the one, Australasia. All the purples. Get everyone on Papua New Guinea and just build up, and build up..."
    • As noted in the LOST episode "The Shape of Things to Come":
    Hurley: Can't believe you're just giving him Australia. Australia's the key to the whole game.
    "But with Australia, it's two armies every turn, one point of entry! You control Australia, you control the world...even though in real life, those people are drunken beach trash who are always on vacation."
    • The flipside is, of course, that the only way out of Australia is into south-east Asia. And we all know what happens in a land war in Asia.
    • Worth noting that, since everyone knows how 'important' Australia is in Risk, the first several turns of the game tend to devolve into a bloodbath between a few players over who gets it. In three player games this usually means whoever is third gets to clean up the other continents. In larger games, whoever has southern Asia gets to sweep up the pieces.
      • Furthermore, the Australia stratagem only works when you have 5 or six people playing. Otherwise the other people will just rollover you. Eventually.

     Comic Books  

  • In the graphic novel version of Wanted; Mr. Rictus has a chip on his shoulder because he was slighted, given Australia when the Legion of Doom divvied up the globe. To add to the unfairness, another villain was in fact given two entire continents: North and South America.
  • In The DCU's late-80s Invasion! story arc, Australia was the main landing site for an Alien Invasion.
  • Empire's Golgoth conquers Australia first. It's a good starting point, after all.

     Fan Fic  

  • In Mother, May I (Take Over The World) (MS Ting here), a hilariously bad Fan Fic featuring the world's most evil people - among them Saddam Hussein, Hitler, Pikachu, and an increasingly bemused Martin Luther King, Jr. - Fidel Castro is annoyed to be given Australia.
  • In a (sorta) non-villainous example The Open Door, Australia (post-Third Impact) is given to the nBSG Colonials after they get to New Chaos's Earth.
  • In Queen Of All Oni, Jade, after her Face-Heel Turn, jokingly says that the ultimate goal of the Shadow Hand (her recreation of the Dark Hand) is to take over Australia (Jade is Dangerously Genre Savvy enough to realize that world domination never ends well for those who try it) and gets mad at the Enforcers when they take her seriously.

    Film 

  • In Superman II, Lex Luthor wanted it in return for taking General Zod to the Daily Planet (to lure Superman out of hiding). Arguably the Trope Maker, as a couple places have listed the film as being the inspiration for the use of this trope. (See the Wanted example above).
  • Inverted and played with in DEBS, where the lesbian villainess wants to destroy Australia because "I don't like their attitude." Of course, she's just been dumped, and as such wasn't in a very good mood, but this wasn't the first time she had tried it.
  • In Cats & Dogs, Mr. Tinkles secures the support of the world's mouse population by promising them a massive quantity of cheese and the continent of Australia, which he has convinced them is a bastion of the dairy industry.
    "With dogs out of the way, then cats will overthrow the humans and you will be given your much-deserved reward: 16 pounds of Monterrey Jack and the continent of Australia!"
  • In Comic Con Episode IVA Fans Hope, Joss Whedon comments, "When people say the geeks have inherited the Earth, I say (...) how much of the Earth do I get? Can I have Australia?"

    Literature 

  • In Good Omens, Adam plans to give Australia to Dog, since it's got lots of wide-open space for him to run around in.
  • Australia as a Red Shirt: Australia is the first to be blown up in the nuclear war of Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles.
  • Australia IS invaded in John Marsden's The Tomorrow Series. The scary thing is that it is actually feasible. I mean, the enemy attacks on a public holiday and no self respecting Aussie is sober on a public holiday.
    • That was spoofed in the Full Frontal send-up of Independence Day, when no-one in the government is available to organise a defense against the aliens because they're all on holiday. "Come on mate, it's Australia Day!"
  • In Tom Holt's Who's Afraid of Beowulf, the Big Bad offers someone China as a bribe for his assistance.
  • In Colin Mason's nuclear-threat novel The Hostage, "The hostage is the continent of Australia", blatantly advertised on the cover of the first pb edition.
  • In Harry Turtledove's World War series, Earth is invaded by aliens in 1942. The aliens are from a desert-like planet and as far as they're concerned most of Earth is too cold or too humid. But they love the climate of central Australia and make it their main settlement after evicting all the humans.
  • Harry Potter: In a heroic take on the usefulness of the driest continent, Hermione decides it's the perfect place to hide her parents until the war is over.

     Live Action TV  

  • It's not always villains. In the 90s Nickelodeon comedy Radioactive, one character has a fantasy where they become rich enough to buy two planets. "Oh.. and I also bought Australia."
  • In Stargate Continuum Baal plans to divide up Earth amongst the System Lords, giving half of Australia to Camulus and the other half to the Free Jaffa Nation.
  • The whole of Australasia (Australia, New Zealand Papua New Guinea and the surrounding Pacific Islands) are nuked by the Daleks in the Doctor Who episode "The Parting of the Ways."
  • Even Gilligan's Island did this one, with Mr and Mrs Howell discussing buying an island in the Pacific, and deciding on Australia.

    Music 

  • A version of this trope appears in Randy Newman's song, "Political Science": in Randy's plan to nuke every non-American nation off the face of the planet, he decides to spare Australia as the site of a future all-American amusement park. "They got surfing, too."
    • Also, he doesn't want to hurt any kangaroos.

     Video Games  

  • In No One Lives Forever, "the continent of Australia" is listed as one of H.A.R.M.'s ludicrous demands after threatening to unleash near-undetectable human time bombs to heavily populated areas.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, during a game of RISK with the student council president, she offers to let you have Australia - if you promise to join the council.
  • In Mass Effect 3, if Urdnot Wreav is in command of the krogan during the final battle, he agrees to help humanity... so long as he gets Australia in the bargain. He then says he's just kidding. For now.
    • Australia must look downright hospitable when your home is a radioactive Death World filled with gigantic thresher maws.
    • Judging by this board, it seems the natives' response to that request would be, "We welcome our sharktoad cousins. You are welcome to stick around as long as you can survive."
  • Sheeva's arcade ending in Mortal Kombat 9 involves the Shokan taking control of Australia with the permission of world leaders. While this is a possibly reference to Lex Luthor in Superman II, it's also a Take That to the Australian censor board, who banned the game.

     Web Comic  

     Web Original  

  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (the Trope Namer), the titular Mad Scientist character daydreams that he is going to give Penny, the girl of his dreams, Australia to console her after he takes over the world.
  • In the novel version of How to Succeed in Evil, the eternally clueless Dr. Loeb offers his "evil efficiency consultant", Edwin Windsor, the continent of Australia. Edwin is insulted.
  • This trope is discussed during the finale of Spoiler Warning's playthrough of Mass Effect 2 when one of the commentors points out that villains always seem to want to give away Australia as a bribe.

     Western Animation  
  • Mr. Burns didn't get Australia for his birthday, but Smithers arranged for its citizens to spell out his name in candles. He didn't even look.
  • Danger Mouse: In "The Great Bone Idol," Baron Greenback offers to give Australia to Count Duckula in exchange for finding said idol, with which Greenback could control all the dogs in the world.
    Duckula: Bondi Beach...Woolamaloo...Kangaroo stew...yes! Done!

     Real Life  
  • Internal example: Australia was actually going to give Queensland to Japan in World War II, if they every invaded Australia. The division was called the Brisbane Line, and while it was never needed, Queeslanders were (and still are, to a degree) ... less than happy about the idea.

Non Australia Examples:

     Comic Books  

  • In Howard Chaykin's American Flagg series (which is set in Chicago) the government buys off the rebellious Flagg by giving him Illinois to rule.
  • In Secret Invasion, Thunderbolts member Moonstone offers information to the Skrulls in exchange for South America.
  • In one Fantastic Four storyline, Evil Sorceror Nicholas Scratch attempts to summon Eldritch Abomination Shuma-Gorath, who will proceed to conquer the entire universe, in exchange for "my life and Barbados". Surprisingly modest ambition.
  • In Carl Barks story "The Golden Helmet", the eponymous helmet was proof an ancient viking named Olaf the Blue was the true owner of North America, theorically allowing any (alleged) descendant of his to use it to take over the continente. When Donald Duck got the helmet, an attorney offered to help Donald and wanted Canada as his legal fees.
  • In the original Villains United miniseries, Mockingbird offers each of the Secret Six a continent if they work for him. The fact that, by default, he left Australia for himself was a subtle clue that Mockingbird was Lex Luthor

    Film 

  • Subverted in the first Superman movie, where Lex Luthor vetoes his henchman's proposed "Otisburg" on the new west coast.
  • In The Crown of the Russian Empire, or The Elusives Again a pretender to the Russian throne in exile offers Poland to one of the bad guys to make sure he'll help him, not the other pretender.
  • The villain in Wild Wild West proposes dividing the United States and giving the territories back to the previous European owners, setting aside the northwest part of the country for himself.
  • In Flash Gordon, Ming offers Flash a Shiny New Earth if he'll switch sides, or at least an Unshiny Old Earth that's been decimated by disasters. Presumably Ming would keep the rest of the solar system for himself.
    • More like he just wanted Flash as Ming's viceroy on Earth, just like the all the other princes rule the moons of Mongo in Ming's name. Ming would be the overall ruler and Flash Gordon would have to obey Ming. The decimated Earth would be re-populated by Ming and Dale's offspring.
  • In Escape from L.A., Map-To-The-Stars Eddie mentions wanting a small territory of his own (Wisconsin) as his reward for turning Snake over to Cuervo.
  • In The Patriot, Tavington asks General Cornwallis for the state of Ohio in return for winning battles in South Carolina.
  • M. Bison in Street Fighter offers to share the country with Sagat rather than paying him for his services with "mere money". Sagat's Genre Savvy enough to insist on cash payment.
    Bison: As for payment, why settle for mere money? After I defeat the A.N, what if I were to share the country with you?
    Sagat: When the war is over, we'll see how much of the country is left. In the meantime, let's see the color of your money.

    Literature 

  • In the novel Soon I Will Be Invincible Doctor Impossible contemplates offering Egypt to a fellow villain, the Pharaoh.
  • Emperor Mollusk Versus The Sinister Brain: "Don't ask me why I needed Scranton and Sheboygan."
  • In the fourth Artemis Fowl book, Opal's henchmen stick around because she promised them Barbados.
  • In the Novelization of Revenge of the Sith there is an extended We Can Rule Together scene between Palpatine and Anakin. Palpatine essentially says, "Join me and you can have anything you want. Name it." Anakin half-jokingly replies, "Corellia." Without missing a beat, Palpatine asks, "Just the one planet, or all Five Brothers?" (Corellia is the capital planet of a five-planet system.)
  • In the novel The Android's Dream, a character responds to "Are you trying to bribe me?" with, "No, I've been bribing you. Now I'm trying to buy you outright... I could see my way to letting you run some portion of the globe. I hear New Zealand is nice."

     Live Action TV  

  • While trying to convince a Nazi officer he wants to defect in Hogan's Heroes, Colonel Hogan says that he sees how the war is going and all he wants at the end of it is to own Cleveland.
  • In the season finale of BBC drama/comedy Being Human the bad guy (head vampire) says he would have given one of the main characters (the one that's also a vampire) South America if he had joined him.
  • In Lexx, the insipid U.S. President tries to buy off the equally dim (and illiterate) Stanley by anointing him King of Newfoundland ("a beautiful island paradise of wine, women and constant song") via some scribbled lines and a signature on Presidential letterhead. Later, Xev is tempted with "her own beautiful island full of gardens and antiques" (England), by the head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
  • In Supernatural, Dick Roman, leader of the Leviathans, promises Crowley free range for demons in Canada if he helps stop the Winchesters.

     Video Games  

  • In Deus Ex, the main villain is more generous: he offers you Europe if you'll just stop bothering him.

     Web Comics  

  • In Narbonic's arc Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit, Madblood offers Helen her choice of world continents as consolation prize for breaking a date.
    Madblood: PEOPLE OF EARTH, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! I choose to address you as a 300-mile holographic projection against the ionosphere solely to secure the attention of Helen Narbon, whom I regret I am unable to join for dinner this evening. I apologize profusely and assure Miss Narbon that when Earth is brought under my heel, she, the planet's loveliest blossom, may have the continent of her choice.
    Madblood: Except Europe. Mother dibsied it.
  • In the webcomic Real Life Comics, Tony offers Greg Zimbabwe when he eventually takes over the world. Greg accepts because he likes the sound of the name.
  • In Angel Moxie, the Sealed Evil in a Can offers Tristan France if she just helps free her. Tristan Accepts. Evil betrays Tristan. Tristan is not pleased.

     Western Animation  
  • In one episode of Kim Possible, Drakken attempts to get Shego to help him in his latest schemes by offering her Greenland. It doesn't work when she points out that Greenland isn't green and demands Iceland instead. Drakken is quite upset by having to give up the green one to her.
    • Another example, when Drakken is trying to bribe Ron for their last morsel of food:
      Drakken: Name your price, Stoppable... power, glory! When I take over the world, you can have a continent... Any continent! [pauses] Not Europe.
  • Invader Zim has promised the moon to his insane Robot Buddy GIR after he has devastated the world, according to the episode "Tak the Hideous New Girl".
  • In Spiderman The Animated Series The Kingpin once again assembles the Insidious Six as part of a scheme for World Domination, and while fighting Spidey Rhino claims he's going to be the new "King of New Jersey", causing Spidey to snark that if the Kingpin is getting the world and he is only giving him New Jersey, Rhino needs a better agent.
  • In Xiaolin Showdown after Wuya takes over the world during Raymondo's Face-Heel Turn, she tells him he can promise him anything: "Toys, money, Canada".
  • Cronus from Class of the Titans, when he thinks his victory is guaranteed, takes Agnon aside and has this to say:
    Cronus: You know, you've always been my favorite, Agnon. How about a country to rule? Hm? How would you like to rule New Zealand?

     Real Life  

  • Early American politician Aaron Burr fled to the Louisiana Territory in disgrace after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel. He offered to help start a revolt from Mexico (possibly detaching some American territory as well) in order to create a new country which he would presumably rule. Note that Burr was brought to trial and found not guilty, so the scheme may have existed chiefly in the minds of his opponents. More precisely, while there was evidence of a LOT of shady shenanigans, whether Burr was trying to start an actual revolt was undetermined.
  • The infamous Zimmerman Telegraph from World War I promised the nation of Mexico Texas (notable to Mexico at the time for its oil and Revolution) and whatever other parts of the Western US it lost from the Mexican-American War if Mexico comes in on the side of the Germans. Note that the US was still neutral at this point until they found out about it.
    • Officially neutral. Woodrow Wilson was chomping at the bit for a casus belli. He also declared that Germany's resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare at the same time was an act of war.
    • Subverted Trope: Fortunately for everyone, Mexico wasn't even NEARLY stupid enough to take the offer seriously. Unfortunately for Germany, America wasn't about to just let them off the hook.
  • A new updated version of Monopoly is called "Monopoly: Here and Now, the World Edition." Alongside being updated for inflation and advances in technology, the Atlantic City streets are scrapped and major world cities are used. This leads to conversations such as, "I'll trade you London for Barcelona." "How much do you want for Tokyo?" "Would anybody like to buy Rome?"

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