'Oprah' premiere: Australia poised to spend $2.8 million for trip. Didgeridoo or didgeridon't?

oprah-premiereImage Credit: George Burns/Harpo StudiosHelloooooo, Austraaaliaaaaaaaa! Oprah Winfrey announced on Monday that she and her entire audience would be making a trip Down Under, to the land where toilets flush backwards and Burger Kings are Hungry Jack’s. Now, this all sounds pretty ace, but Oprah’s antipodean adventure carries with it a pretty hefty price tag. According to Reuters, Australia’s tourism minister estimates that bringing The Oprah Winfrey Show to his country will cost the government more than $3 million. That’s $2.8 million in U.S. dollars.

Now, it’s likely that the temporary relocation will have the intended effect of helping to boost tourism, but we couldn’t help wondering what else Australians might have purchased with that kind of money. And seeing as most of what we at PopWatch know about the continent comes from Men at Work songs and Outback Steakhouse commercials, forgive us if our suggestions are more than a tad, er, stereotypical. For the cost of one Oprah-tastic week, Aussies could have gotten:

318,544 jars of Vegemite
5,600 surfboards
83,115 pounds of jumbo shrimp and 4,700 barbecue grills
290,115 knives
38,455 those aren’t knives, these are knives
33 custom-built Mad Max cars

What do you think PopWatchers? Looking at all these other possibilities, is Oprah worth it? More importantly, is my rampant, lazy stereotyping of the good people of Australia a bootable offense?

Read more:
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Comments (59 total) Add your comment
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  • Vandelay

    The “Oprah effect” is well documented. I think it’ll be a pretty effective use of advertising dollars.

  • bringbackrocky

    So who exactly is paying the gift tax on these trips? The audience members? Or Oprah?

    • Jen

      I doubt the audience or Oprah pay anything. This is the cost of Australia tourism to promote themselves.

  • AuntieMM

    And who pays for the passports and vaccinations? And what happens to those that can’t get them in time??

    • babysloth

      Okay, I always crack up when Americans don’t have passports. I’ve had a passport since I was a kid and it’s my gateway to the world and I can’t imagine not having one. Oprah is taking her fans in December. It should only take a couple of weeks to get a passport! Plenty of time between now and then. If you can’t afford the passport fee (which is not that high) then I’m sorry that your finances are that horrible. Good luck!

      • take 2

        babysloth, that’s a pretty obnoxious thing to say. Not everyone can afford to jet around the world at will, when overseas trips usually cost thousands of dollars. So why bother to pay well over $100 for a passport? We have a whole huge country with geographically diverse sights to explore without crossing oceans or borders. Personally, I prefer to keep an updated passport and check out a new country/culture every few years, but that isn’t everyone’s priority, and I think that’s totally reasonable.

      • Jill

        @take2 what and American thing to say.

      • Dave

        @jill: don’t be so pretentious.

      • Marie

        @take2: It’s obnoxious of you to imply that the world revolves around the US, thus there’s no need to leave it. Sure, it’s geographically diverse, but there’s a whole world beyond our US borders and you’re just denying yourself a cultural experience if you choose not to leave.

    • dave

      vaccinations to australia – nice one – just like the idiot pills we need to take prior to heading to the U.S.

      • Reese

        dave is funny.

    • Kitty

      Good point. They’d want to make sure their shots are up to date in case they get mauled by a Drop Bear.

    • MB

      Vaccinations, for Australia. You are joking right? Surely you are joking.

    • Stephanie T.


  • K

    It’s called business. Qantas and Australia both just promoted to the world and will continue to be promoted for about 3 months until they actually go on the trip.

  • Rebecca

    What is with the South Pacific spending tourism money on crap American tv lately? First ANTM (had never seen an ep before they went to NZ, what a waste!!!) and now this?!

    PS. you need a passport and visa to go to Australia, but this isn’t 3rd world. No vaccinations needed.

    • p.j.

      Also, the visa is super-easy to get — you can just go onto a website, fill out the form and they email you the confirmation. Then it’s in their computer system and they just know when you enter the country. Easiest thing ever (I went earlier this year.) As for passports, there are expedited services; this can cost a fair bit of cash, but wayyyyy less than a plane ticket to Australia. Can’t imagine anyone letting that stand in their way.

  • Gayle

    there is no such thing as free lunch!

  • Battsa

    Those stereotypes of australians are at least 25 years old now. Get with the times, really.

    • Sarah

      Haha, if ony that were true. They are still, very much in rotation.

    • Kat

      Get with the joke?

  • pifr

    Wow. This is great! The economy is in the toilet; people are losing their homes, food banks are low on donations, and health care is non existent for many. Yet, Oprah never lets us forget that it’s all about her! Hope she has a wonderful trip, as others in this country continue to suffer. Just couldn’t end 20 + years of a TALK show doing something good for society, could she.

    And before someone posts “Jealous much?”, that’s truly not the issue. It would simply be nice to see her give back to this country that has given her so much – simply for talking and kissing the bums of other talentless people. 2.8 million could have meant so much for a local shelter/food bank.

    (AND yes, I, with much less to give – DO.)

    • Katie

      Yup you are right—it is all about her and I watched two of her shows and that is it—She and Jennifer Lopez are 2 peas in a pod–Divas who who take away from the poor-Instead of making & keeping 12 million $$ for Idol Lopez could have donated 2/3’s of it to the poor and homeless if not all of it—And Oprah is taking away from the poor-AUstralia should be using this money for them

      • Jenny

        Katie, You win! Most stupid post I’ve ever read on EW.
        Self-righteous; check
        Lack of logic; check
        Lack of facts; check
        Sexist; check

    • Mr. FAMU

      That’s .00000885% of the Australian Government’s tax receipts (2009 data). Man what an outrage?

  • Mr. FAMU

    That’s .00000885% of the Australian Government’s tax receipts (2009 data). Man what an outrage.

  • p.j.

    What? A country’s tourism department is spending money to PROMOTE TOURISM? I am shocked beyond all belief.

  • Katie

    Oprah DID NOT paid for the cars she gave away nor anything to do with this trip—She just makes everyone think it is her money and takes all the credit–The automobile maker doanted all the cars and now the poor people of Australia are picking up the tab to make Oprah look good–Pathetic woman—–Australia could of used the money to feed their poor and homeless-Oprah should be ashamed of herself……….Taking from the homeless for her own PR

    • Geoff

      unlike the USA, Australia has quite low homeless and unemployment rates. We have very good social security and a public health system that actually works. The poor and homeless get free primary medical care.

      When the Australian government paid for Tiger Woods to come play in Australia, there was outrage, however research showed that it was one of the best investments ever made. We paid $3 million for Tiger, and he brought $34 million to our economy. Oprah will surely blow that our of the water.

      Would you rather $34million plus spent on homeless and poor or a paulty $3 million?

    • MCS

      As an Australian, I think the relatively small amount of money we spend bringing Oprah and a fans here will be a phenomenal investment. The boost to tourism will be amazing, which as Geoff said, will be even bigger than when we brought out Tiger Woods. Australia has come out of the global financial crisis relatively well, and Oprah’s visit will help push us on the path out. This money can then be used to feed our homeless, but again as Geoff said, we do not experience homelessness on the same level as America.

    • Jen

      Oprah’s not putting a gun to anyone’s head to give stuff away. I’m sure corporations galore are banging down her door to be featured on her show. What is she going to do? Say NO? It’s business y’all!!!

  • Lux

    You guys know we don’t call it “shrimp” in Australia, right? And though i’ve been to a million barbeques, i’ve never, ever seen a prawn on one of them. Battsa is right. Those stereotypes are depressingly outdated.

    • MCS

      Lux! You’re so right. I hadnt even realized it until now, but I have NEVER seen a prawn on a barbeque!

      • Lux

        Just sausages and steaks and onions, please!! And maybe a satay skewer or a marinated roo fillet. :)

  • Australian Food

    Good stuff…looking forward to the Oprah House! Eat some australian food while your here guys!! oprah we luv you here in Sydney!!

  • Harpo Leftovers

    Thanks, Ms. O – once again you make it seem like you’re giving so much of self – but 300+ folks get the tax bill! Oh, and the whole thing is a write-off!

    • jennrae

      And why does Oprah think the home audience is going to care about 300 strangers going to Australia? Call it jealousy if you want, but I have no interest in seeing people who have already gotten a free trip to Chicago get another free trip. Just like the Favorite Things shows. I’ve had Christmases where my family couldn’t afford a tree, let alone presents, and it’s not fun to watch people falling out over a double wide refrigerator. I hate her influence over people–some studio or group pays her to promote their agenda and she comes on tv and lies about how much she believes in them and millions of people buy into it. People think Oprah is a saint and if she likes it, they should like it, too. She threw softballs at her pal Jay Leno at a time when it would only hurt Conan for him to go on her show and give his perspective, and then she tried to change the minds of audience members who were Pro-Conan. A couple of people could think for themselves, but most just nodded at Oprah, like “Thanks, I hadn’t thought about it that way before.” I can’t remember another instance where she forced the issue like that, but ever since then I haven’t been able to trust her intentions. Obviously it’s a business, but people worship her and think she can do no wrong. It seems to me that if she gives to the homeless or opens a school it’s because it helps her first. And that’s fine, but it’s not how she’s perceived.

  • Cate

    As an Aussie taxpayer I have to query why I’m only just now being told that my state of Victoria is paying half a million dollars for 100 odd american’s to come shopping – the list of what that money could have been spent on instead (thinking transport education and hospitals off the top of my head). Yes it will bring in money – but I’m just sitting here praying that I’m not trying to do my christmas shopping when they’re here – and my evil side really hopes that Oprah gets stuck on a bloody broken down tram – tends to happen in summer a bit.

    • connor12

      Dont know where you got your statistic from but we aren’t paying that much. You obviously dont understand how this will pay off in promoting tourism.

    • Geoff

      Wow. You really think half a million dollars (even though the real amount is closer to $3million) is going to fix public transport education or hospitals? One new tram alone is several million dollars. Thats before its furnished, painted, stickered, etc.

      $3million is loose change when it comes to public spending. Money well spent in my opinion. A lot better than the money wasted on “where the bloody hell are ya?”

    • Lux

      Ooohhh… to see Oprah and her mates on a stalled tram in forty-degree heat would be priceless! Bring on the Down Under trip!!!

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