The launch last October of the Gillard government’s White Paper Australia in the Asian Century was quite a show; in Pakistan it would have been called a tamasha – to use the lovely Urdu word for a song and dance. A flock of officials, business figures, commentators, and consultants looked grave and prophetic as they preached the importance of Asia – as if it were a new idea (their own). But as the editors of Australia’s Asia point out in their introductory chapter, ‘we have been here before’. The significance of Asia to modern Australia has been clear ever since the first ship from Bengal arrived in the infant settlement of Sydney in 1791. And it is now increasingly clear that the effects of contact with Asia on Aboriginal Australia were also considerable. While the degree of Asia’s importance may have varied, the fact of that importance is a constant.
Song and dance
Australia’s Asia: From Yellow Peril to Asian Century
edited by David Walker and Agnieszka Sobocinska
UWA Publishing, $39.95 pb, 384 pp, 9781742583495
Read the rest of this article by subscribing to ABR Online for as little as $10 a month. We offer a range of subscription options, including print, which can be found by clicking here. If you are already a subscriber, enter your username and password in the ‘Log In’ section in the top right-hand corner of the screen. If you require assistance, contact us or consult the Frequently Asked Questions page.
By this contributor
Leave a comment
Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.
NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to email@example.com. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.