Peter Christoff reviews 'The Lucky Country? Reinventing Australia' by Ian Lowe

Peter Christoff reviews 'The Lucky Country? Reinventing Australia' by Ian Lowe

The Lucky Country? Reinventing Australia

by Ian Lowe

University of Queensland Press, $29.95 pb, 240 pp, 9780702253676

When The Lucky Country was published in 1964, its cover – Albert Tucker's painting of a hat-wearing, stony-faced, beer-swilling Aussie gambler – captured its essence. Donald Horne's interrogation of Australia was a powerful critique of a nation marked by cultural and political conservatism and economic insularity. His conclusion opened with the much-quoted sentence, 'Australia is a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share in its luck.' It balanced both the sense of Australia's material capacity and wealth of opportunities, and of its accidental good fortune at not having been brought low by its leaders' incompetence. The book aimed to catalyse a national debate to challenge these elements, and it largely succeeded.

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Published in August 2016, no. 383
Peter Christoff

Peter Christoff

Peter Christoff teaches in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. He has published extensively on environmental and climate policy and politics, and his latest books include Globalization and the Environment (2013), with Robyn Eckersley, and Four Degrees of Global Warming: Australia in a hot world (2013). Peter formerly was the Victorian Assistant Commissioner for the Environment, and served on the Victorian Premier's Advisory Group on Climate Change and as a Board member of the Australian Conservation Foundation.

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