In Australia, debate about population runs in well-worn grooves. The focus is on size – ‘big Australia’ versus ‘not-so-big Australia’ – and the tool used to regulate numbers is immigration. When politicians link population growth to excessive house prices, traffic congestion, unemployment, or crime, they call for immigration cuts, not for birth control.... (read more)
Never far from one’s mind these days, the events of September 11, 2001, and their direct aftermath in Afghanistan and elsewhere, had to be prominent in this month’s issue of ABR, such is their complex resonance and ubiquitous iconography. To complement Morag Fraser’s essay in this issue on the consequences of ‘September 11’ for civic ...
In his analysis of Australia’s growing urban inequality, Peter Mares recounts a conversation with a homeless man outside a train station while Mares was walking his dog. The dog is well fed and has a warm place to sleep, but Mares can only give the man a few coins. These are implicit priorities we all share. Why, asks Mares, do Australians unhesitatingly spend $750 million annually on ...... (read more)
Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia (Peter Lang), a fascinating compendium of Jewish musicians who found refuge in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s, is now available in Australian Diana K. Weekes’s excellent translation ...... (read more)
Maria O’Sullivan reviews 'Not Quite Australian: How temporary migration is changing the nation' by Peter Mares
Migration is widely regarded as one of the most important policy issues on the global agenda. Not only does it have economic implications for states, it also poses certain challenges for ...... (read more)
This month marks a grim anniversary: four years ago, in August 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard re-introduced a policy of offshore processing for asylum seekers ...... (read more)
Peter Mares reviews 'I'm Not Racist But ... 40 Years of the Racial Discrimination Act' by Tim Soutphommasane
Does a law change the way people behave and think? Can it accelerate a shift in cultural norms? These are some of the questions that emerge from this reflection on Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act (1975).
Tim Soutphommasane is hardly a disinterested commentator, since he owes his current job as Racial Discrimination Commissioner to the very a ...
Peter Mares reviews two memoirs which offer new perspectives on the problems faced by asylum seekers.... (read more)
Usually, significant books are revisited on significant anniversaries. By these lights, Mike Berry’s critical re-evaluation of John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society should have appeared in 2008, to mark the fiftieth anniversary of its original publication. In this instance, we can be grateful that normal publishing practice has not been followed, ...
Australian advocates of a harsh line against asylum seekers arriving by boat often base their arguments on a concern for the protection of human life. Unless we deter boat people, so the reasoning goes, ever greater numbers will set out on the dangerous voyage from Indonesia, and more and more lives will be lost at sea ...... (read more)