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Matthew Lamb

Island 135 edited by Matthew Lamb

February 2014, no. 358

Editor Matthew Lamb stands by his decision to end themed issues of Island. ‘General issues,’ he explains in his latest editorial, ‘allow for more serendipitous encounters with new ideas.’ Cohesion in any literary journal can be tricky, and Island 135 offers a mostly complementary mix of new and old ideas.

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In The Australian Moment: How We Were Made for These Times, George Megalogenis tries to explain how, in spite of ourselves, we managed to survive the last three ‘super crashes of the digital age’. He does so by actively avoiding the usual partisan morality tales, complete with intra-party rivalry ...

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In 1936, West Australian MP Leslie Craig stated in parliament that the (then) current figure of Aboriginal ‘half-castes’ in Australia – approximately 4000 – would soon number 40,000 if something were not done to stem the tide of this growing problem. Seventy years later, in 2006, a federal member of parliament has suggested that Australia is in danger of ‘aborting itself out of existence’ and becoming ‘a Muslim nation in fifty years’ time’ – and this only a few months after the Cronulla race riots. It is clear that race-based fears are still prevalent in our predominantly white Australia. Henry Reynolds’s latest book, Nowhere People – like most of his books – is as much an analysis of our contemporary society as it is an historical examination of how international theories of race shaped Australia’s identity over the past 218 years.

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