There have always been competing views of Australia. It has been seen as a land of despair and of hope, a place of indifference and of aspiration, an accident in which Europeans were stranded on the wrong side of earth and a civilisation with the genius to renew itself. Political analyst and author Paul Kelly uses the centenary of Federation to dissect the Australian nation's character. Kelly traces the past century through the ideas that shaped Australian politics in the 1990s - an independent republic, a multicultural identity, economic egalitarianism, the quest for Aboriginal reconciliation and Australia's negotiation of its own way in Asia and the world. Kelly's story is about change and continuity. It captures the struggles of the nation's key leaders, from Barton, Deakin and Hughes to Menzies, Whitlam and Keating. Extracts from some remarkably frank interviews with current leaders and former prime ministers shed fresh light on Australia's recent history, in a story of nation building, the path to independence, the world wars, the Depression, immigration, land rights, bank nationalisation, the Japan threat, the remaking of the economy and engagement with Asia.
Based upon Kelly's television series of the same name, the book is an exploration of Australians are as a nation, where they have come from and where they are going.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin