Mark Triffitt reviews 'Australia's Second Chance: What our history tells us about our future' and 'Balancing Act: Australia between recession and renewal (Quarterly Essay 61) by George Megalogenis'

Mark Triffitt reviews 'Australia's Second Chance: What our history tells us about our future' and 'Balancing Act: Australia between recession and renewal (Quarterly Essay 61) by George Megalogenis'

AUSTRALIA’S SECOND CHANCE: WHAT OUR HISTORY TELLS US ABOUT OUR FUTURE

by George Megalogenis

Hamish Hamilton, $34.99 pb, 336 pp, 9781926428574

BALANCING ACT: AUSTRALIA BETWEEN RECESSION AND RENEWAL (QUARTERLY ESSAY 61)

by George Megalogenis

Black Inc., $22.99 pb, 103 pp, 9781863958110

Compared to the epic narratives of America and Europe, our story can seem rather unglamorous. Australia's 'tyranny of distance' from the seismic events of world history induces a vague sense that Australians labour under a certain tyranny of irrelevance. Perhaps we don't look hard enough to appreciate what is unique about our past. Or is is that our innate sense of inferiority tripwires us to sell our legacy short?

Australia's Second Chance: What our history tells us about our future, by George Megalogenis, is a bold and innovative rewriting of our nation's history. It reminds us that our history is noteworthy and of global significance. But it also serves as a cogent warning about the consequences of Australia's current political malaise and policy inaction. In essence, Megalogenis – former political and economic commentator with The Australian – reprocesses the nation's conventional narratives to amplify poorly understood facts and trends. He also downplays the long-term import of what are conventionally regarded as pivotal moments or themes.

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Published in May 2016, no. 381
Mark Triffitt

Mark Triffitt

Mark Triffitt lectures in public policy at the Melbourne School of Government, University of Melbourne, He is a former political journalist and senior political adviser. He is the previous Director of Strategic Communications for the Business Council of Australia and the Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs for Wesfarmers Ltd.

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