100 Years: The Australian Story by Paul Kelly

By Paul Kelly

There have continuously 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 improper facet 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 earlier century throughout the principles that formed Australian politics within the Nineties - an self reliant republic, a multicultural identification, financial egalitarianism, the search for Aboriginal reconciliation and Australia's negotiation of its personal means in Asia and the realm. Kelly's tale is set swap 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 major ministers shed clean gentle on Australia's fresh heritage, in a narrative of country development, the trail to independence, the realm wars, the melancholy, immigration, land rights, financial institution nationalisation, the Japan danger, the remaking of the financial system and engagement with Asia. dependent upon Kelly's tv sequence of an identical identify, the publication 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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The first of the three main Federation Centenary events—the July 2000 London celebrations—exposed the limitations of Australian republicanism. John Howard was depicted as tugging the forelock to Britain, a depiction not just absurd about Howard but a lie about Australia. Howard went to London as an Australia-first nationalist. It is many decades since any Australian leader genuflected to Britain. Yet the historical, outdated idea of our leaders ‘selling out’ to Britain seems to be entrenched within our popular culture.

Mr Whitlam came to power with a very different kind of government. It was a government that in a number of important policy areas changed attitudes. After some initiative by Mr Whitlam there’d been an inquiry into land rights and the legislation derived from that inquiry. I believe it would have been quite wrong to say, no, we’re going to throw all this aside, we’re going to ignore this. The Labor Party years 1972 to 1975 were quite important in changing the attitudes of the Coalition Government after 1975.

As prime minister at the outbreak of World War II Menzies broke the news to the people that ‘Great Britain has declared war upon her [Germany] and that, as a result, Australia is also at war’. The sentiment in parliament was unanimous. Menzies drew strong support from the Opposition leader, John Curtin. Australia entered World War II—which began as a strictly European conflict—as united as it was at World War I, yet unenthusiastic. Once again Australia was fighting for and with Britain. Alan Martin drew another parallel with the first war: ‘The latter-day idea that Australia was fighting ‘‘other peoples’ wars’’ did not occur to anyone.

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