Australians Vote For The Country's 'Shit Town Of The Year'
Self-deprecating Australians are casting their votes to determine the nation's 'Shit Town of the Year', angering locals who have labelled it "slander".
Facebook page 'Shit Towns of Australia' has been running polls to crown the nation's shittiest town, with just six towns left in the running: Kalgoorlie, Tennant Creek, Mount Gambier, Dubbo, Mount Isa and Logan.
Founders of the page, Geoff Rissole and Rick Furphy have been friends for over a decade and started the page as "joke between a couple of mates".
The duo post-tongue-in-cheek reviews of towns they've visited and have seen the page grow to over 160,000 followers, spawning a book and an upcoming television show.
The pair use pseudonyms to preserve the 'mystery' of the page but also to protect their identities after being flooded with hate mail from regional Australians.
"We've got a lot of criteria that we use to determine shit towns. Does your town still have a video store? Did your town vote for the Nationals? Is it in Queensland?'," Rissole told 10 daily.
"One of my favourites is 'Does the number of missing backpackers outnumber the number of residents with a university degree?'," he said.
Each week the page features a 'Shit Town Power Ranking' of the worst news headlines from across the nation.
A highly-ranked story for this week was a man being arrested for throwing a brick at his partner after demanding he strip for her in Kalgoorlie.
Another story from Brisbane told the tale of a possum hitch-hiking over 100 kilometres in a Ute's spare tyre.
While some label the page as "borderline genius", the pair's attempt at humour has failed to get a laugh out of some locals.
A woman from Killcare on the New South Wales Central Coast, who requested not to be named, told 10 daily she found the humour "lame, low brow and offensive".
"I feel their comments are deliberately nasty and derogatory to the people who live in these towns," she told 10 daily.
"We live not far from Gosford, one of the towns targeted by the hateful comments. The Central Coast is stunning and has so much to offer with some of the best beaches and waterways in Australia.
"I have visited many of the other country towns they slander and not found them to be the way they portray them," she said.
Lord Mayor of Darwin Kon Vatskalis is concerned the page could drive tourists away from his city.
The politician told 10 daily he came to Australia 26 years ago and "wouldn't still be here if Darwin was a shit town as they've described it."
"I think it's embarrassing because we feel like we've been targeted. They might think it's funny but it's not funny at all, it's actually quite insulting," he said.
"We're not rednecks and yes, we do have problems but tell me a city that doesn't have problems. They're just trying to make a quick buck," he said.
Some regional Australians have defended the page, dubbing it deliberately ironic and all in good fun.
Long-term Kalgoorlie-Boulder resident Sarah Hinton is campaigning for her town to take out the number one spot.
The mother of four has worked on marketing campaigns and told 10 daily that winning the competition could place Kalgoorlie-Boulder on the map.
"I actually thought it would affect us in the positive. I've already seen people say 'let's do a road trip of the top five' and 'that's going on my bucket list'," Hinton told 10 daily.
"So many people have come out in defence of our city, talking about the features that we have here that I'm like 'cool, this is working'," Hinton said.
Hinton said that Australians should embrace the comical side of the contest and not take it too seriously.
"It's Australian humour. It's in our nature to have a laugh, have a joke. I love Kalgoorlie. Every weekend I have to clone myself if I want to get to every community event," Hinton said.
"I think if the winning town takes the crown in the spirit with which it was intended then they can have a bit of fun with it and it's nothing but a big positive," Rissole said.
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