100 Years: The Australian Story by Paul Kelly

By Paul Kelly

There have constantly been competing perspectives of Australia. it's been obvious as a land of depression and of wish, a spot of indifference and of aspiration, an twist of fate during which Europeans have been stranded at the mistaken aspect of earth and a civilisation with the genius to resume itself. Political analyst and writer Paul Kelly makes use of the centenary of Federation to dissect the Australian nation's personality. Kelly strains the previous century throughout the principles that formed Australian politics within the Nineties - an self sufficient republic, a multicultural id, fiscal egalitarianism, the hunt for Aboriginal reconciliation and Australia's negotiation of its personal means in Asia and the area. Kelly's tale is set switch and continuity. It captures the struggles of the nation's key leaders, from Barton, Deakin and Hughes to Menzies, Whitlam and Keating. Extracts from a few remarkably frank interviews with present leaders and previous best ministers shed clean mild on Australia's fresh historical past, in a narrative of state construction, the trail to independence, the realm wars, the melancholy, immigration, land rights, financial institution nationalisation, the Japan possibility, the remaking of the financial system and engagement with Asia. dependent upon Kelly's tv sequence of a similar identify, the ebook is an exploration of Australians are as a kingdom, the place they've got come from and the place they're going.

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We had the boatpeople arriving after the fallout from the situation in Vietnam. For a lot of Australians this was the nightmare scenario, Asian people arriving on their shores by boat. What did you feel when this started to happen? The dominant feeling was that we had to give these people a home, especially people who had been associated with either the Australian Embassy or the Australian Armed Forces in Vietnam. Our presence there had encouraged them to fight. Their association with either American forces or Australian forces during the Vietnam War would have made it very difficult for them in Vietnam in the immediate aftermath of the war.

We’re certainly more tolerant now than we were in the 1950s. If you go back just before the world war there’d be many people who would say that to be a good Australian you’ve got to be white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant and, if you’re not, you’d better damn well pretend to be. Now, those days are well and truly past. Australia is a multicultural society. You can’t turn the clock back. The people who walk in our streets and live in our suburbs and work in our factories and offices—we’re a multicultural society in the fullest sense.

There’s been several years of very poor prices. There have been five to seven years of drought. Because the country was being driven by economic rationalism, services in country areas were being reduced, everything had to pay for itself. There was a large section of regional and rural Australia that felt rejected, neglected. They believed they had very serious problems and that the Labor Party had had a go and done nothing about it, the Coalition parties had had another go and they had not acted adequately.

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