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The Idea of Australia

A searing analysis of the idea of Australia and the truth of the nation, its greatest strengths and most important challenges, and how Australia as a country can achieve its potential and become a smart, compassionate, engaged, fair and informed nation.

What is the ‘idea of Australia’? What defines the soul of the nation? Is it 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 her 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 Australians need to acknowledge and better understand their past to make sense of their 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 Australians to themselves and to others, and suggests ways Australia can realise her true potential. Urgent, inspiring and optimistic, The Idea of Australia presents for its people to fully appreciate their great strengths and crucial challenges.