Australia's Unique Future: Reconciling Place, History and Culture

Joseph A. Camilleri, ‘Australia's Unique Future: Reconciling Place, History and Culture’, Futures: The Journal of Policy, Planning and Futures Studies (Elsevier), Vol. 39, Issues 2-3 , March-April 2007, pp.155-168.

During recent years, Australia has once again opted for a conception of the world that centres on its European and especially American connections. The harsh treatment of asylum seekers, ‘border protection’, threatened pre-emptive action against terrorists in the region and intervention in Iraq have been proposed by the government—and to a considerable extent accepted by the electorate—as an investment in safety. For the best part of a decade, Australia's profound ambivalence towards Asia has resurfaced with a vengeance. This essay examines the psychological and political underpinnings of this ‘leap into the past’, and makes the case for a more promising policy direction for the future. It brings to both policy analysis and prescription an approach that cuts across disciplinary boundaries and the imaginary dividing line between the domestic and the international.

1.   Historical context

2.   From Whitlam to Keating

3.   The Howard years