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Peter Mares reviews 'Unravelling Identity: Immigrants, identity and citizenship in Australia' by Trevor Batrouney and John Goldlust, and 'Borderwork in multicultural Australia' by Bob Hodge and John O'Carroll

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September 2006, no. 284

Peter Mares reviews 'Unravelling Identity: Immigrants, identity and citizenship in Australia' by Trevor Batrouney and John Goldlust, and 'Borderwork in multicultural Australia' by Bob Hodge and John O'Carroll

by
September 2006, no. 284

I witnessed Australia’s inglorious exit from the World Cup in a packed Balmain Rugby Leagues club. Many in the crowd were sporting green and gold, and when it came time for the pre-match national anthem, the crowd rose almost as one to join in a well-oiled and full-throated rendition of Advance Australia Fair. I was glad that my reluctance to take part was masked by the fact that I was already standing – at the bar as it happens, trying to order a beer before kick-off.

In the 2006 Colin Simpson Memorial lecture for the Australian Society of Authors, poet Dorothy Porter declared that ‘at this present time’ she loves her cat more than she loves her country. Porter also declared that she loves the poem ‘For My Cat Jeoffrey’, by Christopher Smart (an eighteenth-century poet who spent much of his life in an asylum), astronomically more than the ‘drab strains and drab pompous lyrics’ of our national anthem. Perhaps Dorothy Porter and I are both un-Australian, but then patriotism, surely, is not measured in decibels.

Peter Mares reviews 'Unravelling Identity: Immigrants, identity and citizenship in Australia' by Trevor Batrouney and John Goldlust, and 'Borderwork in multicultural Australia' by Bob Hodge and John O'Carroll

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