9781760879303

The Idea of Australia

Julianne Schultz     Recommended by    

‘Schultz reflects on how we might shake off our fears, our mediocrity and our moral torpor, and rediscover the country we once promised to be.’ – KERRY O’BRIEN

‘A penetrating analysis.’ – MELISSA LUCASHENKO

‘A triumph of art, politics, literature, history, and the deepest scholarship… A towering achievement.’ – JENNY HOCKING

What is the ‘idea of Australia’? What defines the soul of our nation? Are we an egalitarian, generous, outward-looking country? Or is Australia a place that has retreated into silence and denial about the past and become selfish, greedy and insular?

A lifetime of watching Australia as a journalist, editor, academic and writer has given Julianne Schultz a unique platform from which to ask and answer these critical questions. The global pandemic gave her time to study the X-ray of our country and the opportunity for perspective and analysis. Schultz came to realise that the idea of Australia is a contest between those who are imaginative, hopeful, altruistic and ambitious, and those who are defensive and inward-looking. She became convinced we need to acknowledge and better understand our past to make sense of our present and build a positive and inclusive future. She suggests what Australia could be: smart, compassionate, engaged, fair and informed.

This important, searing and compelling book explains us to ourselves and suggests ways Australia can realise her true potential. Urgent, inspiring and optimistic, The Idea of Australia presents the vision we need to fully appreciate our great strengths and crucial challenges.

Professor Emeritus Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the Chair of The Conversation. She was the publisher and founding editor of Griffith Review, and is Professor Emeritus of Media and Culture at Griffith’s Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, and a member of the advisory board of the Gradient Institute. She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate (Cambridge) and Steel City Blues (Penguin), and the librettos to the award-winning operas Black River and Going Into Shadows. In 2009, Julianne became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community, and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year. She has served on the board of directors of the ABC, Grattan Institute and Copyright Agency, and chaired the Australian Film TV and Radio School, Queensland Design Council and National Cultural Policy Reference Group.

‘Timely, bracing, and ultimately hopeful.’ – YASSMIN ABDEL-MAGIED

‘A brilliant successor to Donald Horne’s The Lucky Country.’ – TOM GRIFFITHS

‘A contemporary classic in the making.’ – CHRISTINE WALLACE

‘Utterly compelling, engrossing and extraordinary.’ – ANNE TIERNAN

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